It’s very important to know your Yes’s and your No’s. Your Yes’s and No’s are an extension of your inner voice. Your inner voice is that part of you that is instinctual. It’s the voice of your higher self and is always right. These authentic Yes’s and No’s extend from a thought or fleeting feeling, to a full body reaction.
The way I would describe an authentic Yes is the following: Imagine yourself alone in a room. This room is calm and quiet. You look around and the walls are painted in your favorite color. It’s inviting and feels comfortable and safe. A smile comes to your face as you immediately feel at home. As you imagine yourself in this scenario, check your body and notice how your body is feeling. Are you feeling light? Restful? Excited? What physical sensations are you feeling?
Now let’s do the same thing with an authentic No: Imagine yourself walking into a room. There is nobody else there except one other person. This person is someone you can’t stand. They are rude and obnoxious and you would do anything to not have to converse with them. You immediately wish you hadn’t walked into the room. Now check your body. What is your body feeling this time? Is it tense? Flush? Is your heart beating faster? Are you anxious? What are you feeling?
The better you understand what your Yes’s and No’s feel like, the better you will recognize when certain situations are a Yes or a No for you, and the better you’ll be able to choose an appropriate, authentic action. The actions that follow Yes’s seem to be easier for us to partake. It’s the No’s that give us problems.
It’s important to understand that No is a complete sentence. As people pleasers, sometimes it’s difficult to say no. We get caught up in what the reaction will be for everyone else and we lose sight that it’s more important to be authentic and to honor our true selves. For ultimately, we have no control over anyone else’s reaction to our No’s. We can only control the situation from our end.
No is a complete sentence. Don’t feel obligated to explain why. You are more than welcome to go in depth if you’d rather, but you don’t really owe anyone an explanation. When you go into explanations, it’s like admitting that your No is offensive. That it’s not Ok, unless you have some elaborate reason. Start with No thank you. Be polite. honest. If you have those pushy people who probe for more, never lie. Be honest. You can still choose how in-depth you want to go. It’s still your prerogative. You can say “It’s just not for me.” Or “It’s just a personal choice.” Or “I’m just really not in the mood.” Or whatever the case may be.
If you’d like the person to know such personal details as to the full extent to why you are saying no, you are more than welcome to share, just don’t feel obligated. Choose wisely who you let into your inner world. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Stand firm that you are honoring what is right for you.
Sometimes however, it might be a little less black and white. You might be saying No, but there is a constant dialogue in your head that’s acting more like a debate. Should I? Shouldn’t I? It get’s muddy. You’d like to for some reasons, but there are other reasons that you’d rather not. In these cases it’s important to take a moment and really figure out what the Yes part is and what the No part is. If the Yes part comes on top and in reality it’s something you DO want to do but the No part is more fear based and holding you back, you need to figure that out.
I was invited to go to a Sweat Lodge Retreat a while back. I had gone before and really enjoyed the experience so I was excited to agree to this one. Plus I’d get to see some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. But as the weekend got closer, I started to remember how much work it was preparing for the Sweat itself. It was three hours of lighting a fire, and setting up the lodge, and it was all outside, with the elements and bugs, and I just got this overwhelming sensation that I really did NOT want to do this again. So after much debate, I called the person who invited me and told her I would love to come to the retreat and see everyone, but I was going to pass on the Sweat. She did ask why, but I stuck to “It’s just my personal preference.” Although I could tell she was confused, she accepted this answer.
So on the way to the retreat I was preparing myself for the certain “Why aren’t you doing the Sweat?” I was sure to get from various sources. I felt empowered by the knowledge that No is a complete sentence and that I was honoring myself.
The night before the sweat we all got together to have a pre-ceremony intention circle for the Sweat. It was during this, that I realized that I really DID want to experience the Sweat Lodge! It was an amazing experience the first time. I started to get sad that I would be missing out. So I started to examine why I was saying No. What I was actually saying No to was the Prepping part. The three hours of Pre-Sweat Lodge stuff. So at that moment I had to decide which was stronger. My wanting to participate in the Sweat, or my not wanting to do all that hard physical stuff before-hand. As it turned out, I wanted to participate way more than I didn’t want to do all that work. So what I thought was a No, was actually only a partial No.
So I had to figure out how to make that pre-ceremony part bearable. So I shifted my focus from it being a pain, to it being my respectful sacrifice in order to experience this amazing gift that would come about inside that Lodge. Once I shifted the focus, it made the activity much easier to handle. It was like there was a reward at the end and it was for a purpose. The spiritual experience I had during that Sweat Lodge Retreat was one I will never forget….and to think, I almost missed out on it!
So it’s important to know your Yes’s and your No’s. Take each decision one at a time. If it gets fuzzy, sort it out. Always be true to what you are feeling. Honor that part of yourself. If you don’t, no one else will either.
Remember, If it’s a true No, No is a complete sentence. Honor your No’s. Be authentic.
If it’s really a Yes, come to terms with what’s holding you back. Otherwise you will be missing out on life.
Photographer: Joe Altieri