My friend just had a baby! It was an empowering experience for her and she got exactly what she wanted. Why? Because she said ‘no’. She said ‘no’ to the epidural and being induced and ‘yes’ to researching, reading, preparing her body and mind and taking the power back. What an inspiration! And I’m not trying to say that everyone can or should do the same as her, just that it’s good to know we have a choice.
Today I am saying ‘no’ to being stressed and a perfectionist and ‘yes’ to doing it the easy way. So I split my blog post yesterday into two parts and I hope it is more readable for you too.
Now, about saying ‘no’…
There are many ways we could betray ourselves :
When we eat something out of politeness or guilt.
When we drink or gossip to go along with the group.
When we blindly adhere to what society or our people want us to be or have.
When we accept an opportunity that doesn’t light us up.
When we accept an invitation out of guilt.
When we let our social life get in the way of our health or our dreams.
When we allow negative people to drain us but keep them around because we’ve been friends for ages, they’re family or just because we are too nice to drop them.
When we allow social media or answering emails to distract us for doing our real work.
When someone wants to pop round for coffee or calls for a chat while we were deep and inspired in our work and we don’t tell them it’s not a good time.
Know what I mean?
Perhaps people who are ‘successful’ are just better at discerning their YESes from their NOs. Like somebody who has a body they love – aren’t they just better at saying ‘no’ to the pushers? They say no to food they don’t want to eat and no to the guilt and loathing that comes through advertising and magazines. Perhaps they say ‘yes’ to healthy habits and ‘no’ to mindless junky crap. They say ‘no’ to empty promises of pleasure and yes to what truly is pleasurable to their unique self. They say ‘yes’ to different forms of fun and ‘no’ to getting out of balance by placing all the emphasis on food.
So why don’t we all say ‘no’ more often?
We may fear that we will miss an opportunity or hurt a friend. But saying ‘no’ does not have to mean ‘no, never’. You can say ‘no, later’ instead. It’s about priorities. It’s about putting yourself first, like the clichéd metaphor of the parent putting the oxygen mask on themselves before their child.
We may also worry that by refusing much there will be nothing left. But by de-cluttering our life we make space for the new to rush in. We make space for discovering what it is we really desire. This goes for the physical too. Clean out your cupboard and see what else comes in.
Luckily ‘no’ is a muscle that can be trained with practice.
I have to tell you that I am a different person today than seven years ago when I started placing my writing work as the most important thing. For several years I said ‘no’ to working full-time and ‘yes’ to writing for at least two hours on four mornings each week (I also said ‘no’ to good posture and ‘yes’ to back ache). At this time, I do not want to have a conversation. I will only grunt back in response. I do not answer the phone or keep any social media tabs open. I do not accept breakfast invitations. I limit alcohol consumption and go to bed before midnight. I don’t even brush my teeth, shower or get dressed before the work is done. I place the work above flossing and hygiene. I do everything in my power to keep motivated and disciplined because it is so easy to not do the work.
This two hours of morning writing time was sacred. I knew that this work was an integral part of filling me and keeping my energy brimming. Why should we care so much about showing up ready for ‘the real job’ as if that is all that matters? We can say ‘yes’ to what matters to us.
So that’s it. Say ‘no’ to guilt and obligation, to living someone else’s dream, to politeness over honesty – and discover a new way of being. Take a stand for your Higher-Self. Because there is nothing worse than not living your purpose. There is nothing as sad as your own betrayal. There is nothing that will make you feel as stuck as not fulfilling your heart’s desires.
Love yourself first.
And tell me, what do you think of saying ‘no’? Is it selfish or loving, a luxury or necessity?