Wisdom//

My Year of No

How saying and hearing no improves our lives

After reading Shonda Rimes’s book “Year of Yes,” I was tempted to have a year of yes because it had done such wonders for her. But as I thought about it, I realized if I said yes to ONE MORE PERSON … I just might not make it!

I figured that what I needed was a year of no! It’s been a beautiful experience. Here’s how it went.

I had found myself in a place where I was always saying yes to someone and hating myself for it, sometimes hating THEM for it. In fact, with some, I TOLD them that I would definitely NOT be doing whatever they had asked, but fast forward a day or two, and I would be doing EXACTLY what I said I wouldn’t do … and hating it. So it wasn’t difficult for me to realize that what I needed was to build my no muscle, to where I could use it without guilt, fear, anxiety, concerns about the world coming to a crushing halt.

The flip side of this ability to SAY no, was my ability to HEAR no. I hated hearing it. I avoided it with everything in me. If there was a possibility that whatever I wanted could end up in the “no zone,” it was immediately taken off the table. This meant that I never really went after the things I wanted because of that potential no.

In my year of no; of hearing and saying no, I had two clear goals.

1. If it didn’t align with my spirit, soul and body, the answer was no. Not a mean no, not destroying my relationships – with coworkers, family, patients … just a simple … no. That’s all it was.

2. I needed to be able to HEAR the no (taking my own medicine). So I asked people for things I wanted and when they said no, then it was my “no for the day” and I hi-fived myself and asked someone else or moved on. I did find myself having to frequently repeat “it’s ok if they say no.”

So where has this gotten me?

I found that I had all along been saying no to MYSELF and yes to everyone else. I have found the beauty of saying yes to what I want because it’s what it is, and being ok with not feeling obligated to say yes to everything that comes my way. I have found liberation.

And yes, I have found that I’m not the only one, it’s not just me …

It’s ok, it’s necessary … to embrace the power of your no!

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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