Saying No Might Be Trendy, But Saying Yes Can Be Life Changing!
Have you heard about the power of saying no? This trend of turning down the new and unfamiliar has been circulating on social media in the past few years, but is saying no really an act of self care, or should setting boundaries take on a more positive tone?
Leaning into saying no has become the 2019 war cry of women who are choosing themselves over their long list of self-imposed obligations. It has become a topic of conversation amongst people pleasers everywhere, especially women who are trying to do it all on their own, and at the cost of their sanity.
Personally, I’ve never had a hard time saying no. The truth of the matter is that saying yes has always been far more challenging for me. Don’t get me wrong, I always encourage others to say yes to all of life’s splendorous opportunities, and I enjoy sitting front row center cheering them on. I have always admired the yes’ers and their ability to do all of the scary stuff in life. I’m just not naturally one of them, or at least I wasn’t…
At this period in my life, I’m finally leaning into saying yes, and I’ve become a big fan of it! Let me back up for a moment and reflect on my past as a no person. Saying no has always been my go to move. It was a learned response, inherited from my parents. It was never born out of malicious intent, but instead a reaction to having survived traumatic life experiences that left them guarded and afraid. Having been raised in that legacy of fear, the result was a natural and primal instinct to choose safety to and avoid the unknown.
Even as a teen, I tested some boundaries, but I didn’t really play with fire. Now, as a parent it’s easy to want to stay in control and minimize risk. The downside is that without risk, any potential reward is unachievable.
As a 44 year old woman, I’m experiencing the passage of time with ferocious intensity. And I fear that all of those life experiences that have been backburnered and set aside are being pushed further out of my grasp. I wish I had said yes a little more often.
In an effort to change my path and choose to be daring, I said yes twice recently and uncharacteristically. It paid off more than I would have ever expected!
My first yes came during the summer. As a longtime scaredy cat, saying yes and making a commitment are equally frightening. I was asked to be an online guest expert in a business bootcamp (that people actually paid to be in!). In my role, I shared my business and WordPress website design advice, experience, and expertise to a group of entrepreneurs. Did I mention it was a live stream???
The host of the bootcamp, my friend + client, Corinne Morahan, of Grid + Glam was gracious, kind and patient…especially with my nervousness and funny faces. I have a tendency to make the most hideous reaction faces, but they were all forgiven. The bootcamp was an incredible experience that cemented my knowledge and fervent belief that the modern entrepreneur needs the services and support of other like minded entrepreneurs. By saying yes I was helping to support others, while expanding my own network!
My second yes came as the result of a deep desire to experience travel. My BFF of 33 years and I have never been away together. Despite maintaining a close friendship throughout our teens, twenties, thirties and now into the middle of our forties, we could never say yes to an adventure together. Now we have found ourselves at the precipice of a new act in life where we are no longer need to direct every move made in our family lives. It’s the perfect time if there ever was one!
This realization opened the door for us to choose to have an experience travelling and seeing some of the world so close by, yet so far away. We’ve planned a trip to Boston, visiting Portland Maine, and Salem Mass, booked our tickets, and an AirBnb. You can’t imagine the nervous and excited energy I am feeling as I watch the calendar days flip and we move closer to embarking on our adventure!
This trip is so uncharacteristically out of my comfort zone. I’m not typically brave and adventurous, but I just feel so comfortable and at peace with this opportunity, and I cannot wait to share the experience with you when we return. I have a feeling this yes will be paying off in the form of memories I’ll hold dear forever.
These yeses and all of the other mindful choices I make (sometimes saying yes, and sometimes saying hell no) are born of the growth, empowerment, and evolving understanding I am gaining as I traverse this thing called life.
Although I encourage you to stand steadfast in your strength and intuition, choosing to say no and invoking your power of choice in all aspects of your life, I also hasten to remind you to say yes. There is no right answer to every question, and both a yes or a no answer can have conditions. Maybe is also an option! No matter what, there is no value in closing our minds to opportunities in the name of self care. Playing it safe and caring for ourselves is NOT the same thing!