There is a lot of talk lately about learning to say no. The idea of making more space and more time to do the things we love or want or feel like doing rather than feeling pressured into saying ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ to everyone.

When did saying yes become such a negative thing?

I think there has been a missing link here. I’ve been seeing tons of memes and other blogs about how to say no and learning that there’s some power in saying no. However, I challenge that with something simple.

Let’s look at the emotions around why we say yes in the first place. There is a deeper meaning here other than just yes or no. What comes up for you when you’re wanting to say no but the word yes comes out instead?

Something else?

There is a lack of conversation around emotions and feelings, especially those that pertain to saying yes. I’ve worked with several clients in the last several years and one client had said this to me as she was justifying and explaining why she was coming to see me. “I’m a people pleaser. I want others to like me and if I say no then I could lose friendships or that relationship. How can I keep these relationships and still say no? I am terrified to say no.”

I walked her through some steps, and we came up with the surrounding emotions and feelings she had behind saying no. We discussed the connections she was afraid to lose and what that would mean for her really. After a few weeks she came to me and told me how she enjoyed saying no and that not only did she not lose connections she was terrified to lose but she felt that she had gained respect.

We then worked on how to start saying yes again. We gave saying yes a whole new meaning. She was able to identify what brought her joy, excitement, peace, pleasure and everything in between by changing the way she thought about saying yes versus no. Let me add that she did lose some connections to some people because she recognized that once she was not saying yes to them for everything they suddenly didn’t “need” her any longer and in turn she found she really didn’t enjoy being with them. What she found instead were new connections brought on by saying yes.

Before you jump on the bandwagon of learning about the power of saying no, also understand the power of saying yes. With all things in the universe there is an opposite to it. For every happy feeling there is a sad feeling. For every birth there is a death. For every no there is a yes.

Where can you start saying yes more often?

Yes, to unscheduled time.
Yes, to more family time.
Yes, to more baby snuggles.
Yes, to more dog kisses.
Yes, to more sex.
Yes, to more affection.
Yes, to coffee with your best friend.
Yes, to a new collaboration.
Yes, to buying fresh flowers.
Yes, to that new job.
Yes, to more yoga.
Yes, to going sledding.
Yes, to a vacation.
Yes, to saving money.
Yes, to planning a budget.
Yes, to peace and quiet.
Yes, to more white space on your calendar.
Yes, to only the things that fit with your core desires.

There’s oh so much more yes to be had. Bring back your power of saying yes and change the emotions and feelings behind both yes and no. Understand them and know that the only power they hold is the power you allow them to have.