Updated: Mar 18, 2018
How many times have you automatically said no without even thinking about it first? Whether your child has a request, a friend, or your partner, you quickly give a resounding NO. As soon as no comes out your mouth, your mind gives you a laundry list of ways to support the answer. A lot of the times I would say no and then after taking a breath and giving myself a minute not to mention seeing what my no had caused, maybe a toddler melting down or disappointing a friend. I would quickly realize that I could have said yes and often I would change my mind and go back to the no. This made feel silly and also made me realize I was setting myself up for my children not trusting what I said. It would also give me a headache when the answer was no, and the kids would keep pressing because the follow through in the past just wasn’t there from seeing me flip flop so much. I began to think about why I was such a no person. Now don’t get me wrong, it is entirely healthy to say no to things that don’t feel right to you, or you’re simply not feeling inspired to do. I’m certainly not suggesting anyone taking on more they can handle or not honoring their feelings. I’m talking about the quick and sharp no’s because we are bad mood, the no’s that are really because we can’t be bothered. What I’m suggesting is, if the mind can give you a list to support the no, then perhaps it can give you a list that supports the yes. When you say yes, possibilities will magically appear because our minds are now open. It’s important to check in to what is the reason behind saying no, maybe you're just in a grouchy mood, or you're preoccupied, or you quickly create a fear-based story about what would happen if you said yes
Here’s an example, yesterday we were at the beach, and the children were having a great time. I was too, but it was creeping up on lunchtime, and our snacks and water supply were running out. The kids begged to stay, of course, my first thought was no way. I refrained and said, “let me think about it.” Luckily, my mom has a beach house, and it occurred so I could run in refill our waters and poke around in her kitchen for a quick lunch to give us another hour or two. The thing is, my kids, beg every Tuesday to stay later and I always say no without even thinking about it. The option to have lunch at my mother’s house had always been there; nothing was different. But on this particular day, I tried something different, I paused, which opened the space to have solutions and possibilities that previously didn’t occur to me. We had a great picnic lunch, rehydrated, applied more sunscreen and back we went for another two hours of fun.
As adults, we have all things figured out, or so we think. We are set in our ways, we have abandoned our childlike sense of wonder and belief that all things are possible. Unconsciously, we are teaching our kids these same limiting beliefs.
Try working this concept of saying yes like a muscle. Start small, if you can’t say yes immediately, at the very least say “let me think about” or “I’ll get back to you.” See what happens and how options and possibilities present themselves when we allow the pause.
One of my favorite quotes is “leap, and the net will appear” I know I want my children to grow up with their wonder and excitement for life intact. I also want them to have the ability to have creative solutions to problem-solving. What better way for them to learn then to see us being open and willing in everyday life.
Yes just feels better, it feels expansive and open. No feels contracted and shut off. Like I said, saying no to protect your energy and honoring your inner guidance is always best but just make sure that no isn’t a knee-jerk reaction.