“A ‘No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” ~Gandhi
I was having dinner with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago when I asked her about a group she was considering joining. I wanted to know how it was going and what she decided.
“You know,” she said, “I realized after the first group that I'm not that passionate about it. So, I'm not going to do it. I'd rather make my time available for something that matters more to me.”
Aside from this being a healthy choice, it was also a very conscious and deliberate choice. She chose in the direction of her passion.
How many of us take what is handed to us, follow what is put in front of us, or say yes to things that don't really align with who we are or what we want in our lives?
I'm a huge fan of the word yes.But I also realize that sometimes we say yes to things that don't matter to us. We pass the time with the word yes and don't really utilize our choice in the matter.
I had a teacher who used to tell me, “Your yes means nothing until you learn how to say no.”
My assignment for a month was to say no to everything. Or at the very least to tell people, “I'll think about it and get back to you.”
This was very difficult for me because I wanted to be all things to all people. To not say yes on the spot was to risk disapproval.
But after the initial discomfort I found it quite liberating.
No, I can't do that. No, I don't have time. No, I'm not interested. No, it's not a match. No, maybe another time. No, I need more. No, but how about this?
If you say yes to everything, never discerning the right yes for you, what difference does it make what you’re saying yes to? Your yes loses its authority.
Learning the power of the word no is about learning the power of discernment and becoming deliberate in your choices. You have to get rid of the old before you can take on the new. You have to say no to the things that don't serve you to make room for the yes in your life that does.
Why is this so difficult for some of us?
Because it forces us to be deciders.
It forces us to choose. In forcing us to choose, it makes us very conscious of what we're choosing. In being very conscious of what we're choosing, we become vulnerable or fearful that what we want might not be available to us.
Easier to say yes to what's coming your way than to actively choose to say no and risk realizing you can’t have what you want. Right?
Even if that’s the case, what would be so wrong with learning how to make deliberate choices in the direction of our desires, anyway?
What would be so wrong with just pausing on an automatic yes to consider, “Is this what I really want? Is this something I'm passionate about?” And then thinking it through before making a final decision?
Because, the thing is, sometimes we say yes to things because we are afraid it’s as good as it gets.
So, then the question becomes one of faith: Do we believe we can have what we want? Do we have the ability to receive our good?
Or have we so cluttered our lives with small yeses that we miss out on the one yes that truly matters?
Take some time to consider what you are saying yes to. Ask yourself, “Is my heart in this? Or can I let this go to make room for something that matters more?”
Then realize that it's not the “something” that matters more. It's that you matter more, and it's time to simply decide.