We learn early in life the meaning associated with YES and NO. Much of it had to do with our emotional connection to reward or denial. Those two little words still trigger us today. (Notice what emotions or body sensations come up for you as you read the words YES or NO.)
Reflect back to childhood. The reply NO was usually upsetting, even a grave disappointment. It left us defeated and powerless.
“Mommy, can I have cookie?”
“NO, it is too close to dinner and you’ll spoil your appetite.”
“Dad, can I go with my friends over to the rec center to play basketball.”
“NO, you need to do your chores.”
In both of these examples there is cause. The Mom wants the child to have a good appetite and get the proper nutrition. The Dad is mindful of responsibility and commitments. The kid doesn’t get any of this. Instead it might be experienced as a form of rejection, or at the very least negative and unpleasant. The brain interprets meaning and then stores in subconscious and keeps referring to.
As adults we have a hard time seeing a NO as an opportunity, especially when outside our control. The job we didn’t get or a soured relationship inquiry leaves us with the interpretation that we didn’t get what we wanted or there is something wrong with us.
Every experience and event in our life connects to the ones that follow. All of them inform, teach, and give us the tools to move consciously through the next one. What a gift! Sometimes it takes years to get that. One day we will look back and with great clarity understand how that particular job was never really a good fit and the “No” brought us down the path to a better one.
Those examples refer to getting a NO. How about generating one? NO, as your choice, is a great opportunity, yet are shy from using. It makes total sense in adulthood why we have such a hard time saying NO:
– Don’t want to be rude or offending.
– Afraid we won’t be offered the opportunity at hand again.
– Fear of missing out on the opportunity at hand.
– Feelings of guilt we will disappoint the other.
– It may ruffle theirs or someone else’s feathers
– What will they think of me if I say no?
– You want to be the hero and solve the problem.
– You believe you are obligated or “should”.
If you want your create a life that is expansive you’ll need to start answering in a way that reflects truly how you feel. First thing is to get out of your head. Arrive at the answer by asking your whole body intelligence the question. If you get a resonating YES, then hallelujah, by all means say YES. If it is anything else, employ one of your superpowers, the ENLIGHTENED NO.
If someone asked you “You want to grab a drink after work?” and you really want to go for a walk instead, use your ENLIGHTENED NO. Create a YES for your walk, health, piece of mind, etc.
It is all very simple. Make choices that are congruent with what you want and aligns with your needs. Rewrite what a NO means. Start using your inner ENLIGHTENED NO and see what happens. I imagine you’ll be smiling a whole lot more!