How to truly say ‘yes’ to yourself by owning the power of your ‘no’.
2018 has been the year where I’ve given my relationship with ‘no’ room to thrive. Now, In the midst of my secret ‘no’ garden, my ‘yes’ truly has space to blossom.
I didn’t always love my ‘no’. I used to feel that by using it I might disappoint others, or I feared that if somebody didn’t respect my boundary, they would leave. Of course I didn’t want to be abandoned. Then I realised a re-frame was necessary to keep my relationship strong with the people who truly valued me. My love affair with ‘no’ began.
I stopped compromising my value for other people. I held onto my worth. No longer did I do jobs that weren’t worth my time. I reserved more energy for heart-centred work. My power was regained with the energy my ‘no’ provided.
Knowing your ‘no’
It may take a while to find out where your ‘yes’ ends and your ‘no’ begins, and that’s OK. Start with the place you feel the most (or if you’re like me, the least!) comfortable.
- Take a couple of breaths and tune into your body.
- Relax every muscle (you can scan the whole body from head to toe if that helps).
- Now ask yourself, without worrying what others may think, how do you feel about what’s being offered?
- Notice any tension forming in the body, emotions that may come up, or perhaps a subtle ‘off’ feeling.
This is how you begin to meet and know your ‘no’, and how to reserve energy by distancing yourself if someone doesn’t hear or understand your ‘no’. Embrace your ‘no’ as you say it, with love for yourself. You are creating new neural pathways, which discern where you choose to direct your energy and therefore conserve it for more full-body ‘yes’ moments in future.
The ‘yes’ trap
‘Yes!’ Such a juicy, yummy word! It’s no wonder people say it so much! Used wisely, it’s a currency for positive energy exchange and it can feel so good to say ‘yes’ when we really want to. But overused, a positive can easily become a negative. When we say ‘yes’ too many times without meaning it, we end up feeling spent. In ‘yes’ debt, we don’t have energy for our own selves, let alone others. While it may seem selfish to say ‘no’, it’s actually quite the opposite.
‘No’ helps us reserve energy and discern where we want to keep our energy and value. We don’t hold our value by giving everything; it’s simply not sustainable.
Of course, a ‘no’ isn’t usually the most attractive thing on the menu to serve up. Rejection is so deeply feared in a society conditioned to people-please, and ‘no’ can elicit such a negative response, causing us to second guess why we used it in the first place. But as long as we are respectful in our delivery, we have every right to use it. If someone cannot respect our ‘no’, the underlying issue is theirs.
When it’s extremely hard to turn an opportunity down, or I experience judgement for expressing my ‘no’, I practise giving myself compassion for using my ‘no’ that time. Like any skill, it takes time to master.
Boundaries = power
Every time we say or even practise our ‘no’, the certainty in the expression and embodiment gets a little bit stronger. This is your power growing! You get to keep this superpower, too. It benefits you in all situations.
Not everyone is always going to love our ‘no’ and it can feel awkward when we first start to establish our boundaries, especially if we’ve become accustomed to people-pleasing over a long period of time. But it does plant a seed for ourselves and other people about what we do not want to happen with our precious time, life energy, and of course, our bodies.
I love to remind myself: “I trust me to state my ‘no’. Whole-heartedly, I trust me. I trust my ‘no’. I love my ‘no’.”’. My priestess archetype slays with her ‘no’, gently and with love. She is a divine force, who protects me in expressing my voice and boundaries.
Danielle LaPorte perfectly summarises, “Open gentle heart – big f***ing fence.”
We can have firm boundaries AND a big, giving heart, which is abundantly full. Here’s to leaning into our fence and being proud to rest firmly in our boundaries.
Love and respect your ‘no’. Say ‘yes’ to yourself!
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