It’s my Achilles heel, my weakest link and the root of my daily struggles. It took me many years to actually see it and now that I can, I grapple with it – moment to moment. Take my eye off it and BOOM it can slam me to the mat breathless and have me panting “What the hell just happened!”
It’s my biggest nemesis.
It’s saying no.
As a willing-to-please and capable woman who loves taking the reins and hates missing out – no is one of the hardest words for me to utter – let alone deliver with strength, conviction, love and truth.
It takes some practice to stop the auto response of “yes” before you’ve even sat with the question to consider how you really feel about it – and what answer best reflects this feeling.
When a question, invitation, opportunity or favour is offered or asked of you – it’s a tough call to honour yourself first. But, if you continue to instinctively honour others first, no one really gets to experience you, the real you – including you!
(WARNING: TRAP FOR YOUNG PLAYERS): The one fundamental belief you need to change is that saying no is selfish.
Each ‘yes’ when you genuinely mean ‘no’ pushes your true self deeper inside. How do you feel when your whole day is overtaken by caring for others? How about your whole life? Odds are you’re burnt out, resentful, irritated and angry. In this constant state stress builds up, you lose your temper easily and you’re often ill.
Your friendships, relationships and the quality of care is greatly affected by your inner tension. Many people are so used to being this way they couldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams it could be different – and what others would say if they were seen to take some time out or put themselves first!
Honouring yourself first IS the most selfless act you can offer. When you take time to be quiet, connect with who you are and indulge your wants and needs, you feel contented, release stress and lower your blood pressure all of which help lengthen your life. You also create a more harmonious environment with ease and peace that only benefits everyone around you. Then, the time you choose to spend with others is coming from that peaceful space – not the frazzled, compromised and resentful one.
Saying no to others means you are saying yes to yourself, which is ultimately of even greater benefit to the ones you were saying no to
His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of the most revered yoga masters of our time. said, “Never compromise your peace, whether it be to your children, parents, husband, wife or friends.” Unless you are at peace, what you give to others is your stress or anxiety.
Saying no is my personal path to freedom and my gateway to doing more of the things I need and want to do to experience my life.
So, every moment I try to stay alert and awake to everything that is being asked of me – and I listen really carefully… not to the question, invitation, opportunity or favour – but to myself and what I need to say no to in order to create that peaceful place that makes me happy to say HELL YEAH.