Recently I heard someone say,”When you say yes to something, you say no to something else.”
It struck me how true this is, and at the same time, how much we pretend that it isn’t.
Instead, we do one of two things.
We say yes, and yes, and yes, and yes until we are overwhelmed, fed up, irritated, and stressed. We become so busy we forget our personal purpose for doing anything at all.
All those yeses become an obligation.
Or, we say no, and no, and no, and no until our world has shrunk down to just getting the basics done. We say no to opportunities, new ideas, technology, and staying busy doing the same old thing day after day.
We stop growing. We shut doors. We say things like, “I am too old to learn that.”
As I write this, I am away from home at a writing retreat. To say yes to coming here, I had to say no to being at home, even though I knew I would miss it.
But, last year I decided my world had gotten smaller rather than larger.
My ideas and my worldview, my perspective on things needed to grow so I said yes to expansion. This writer’s retreat is just one example of that yes decision.
Knowing that saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else demands we understand our why behind what we do.
I used to say yes to every organization that came along. I love to run and plan things — I hear laughing — so it was always tempting to be in the middle of everything helping it grow.
But, that meant I didn’t have time to write, think about new ideas, be with my family, read, take time out because I was busy, busy, busy.
Just because I like to be part of something doesn’t mean I should. I had to step back and ask myself what is my why for doing each thing. I started saying no, so I could say yes to something else.
Sometimes those decisions were big pivot decisions, moving from one life-style to another. I can remember each one of them, and although difficult, I am happy I made them.
In these times of wanting to do two things equally, and knowing that one is all we can do requires listening to the internal voice that always guides us correctly.
Others are smaller decisions. Like buying things. It’s important to take the time to pause and ask why we want it.
For Del and me, when we buy something we have agreed to remove something else. This helps make the decision harder, but in the end, easier. Should I buy a new coat just cause it’s so cute when I know I have to remove one I already have?
Contrary to some popular opinions more is not better.
When we say yes, we say no to something else. The good news is when we say no to something we have the space and time to say yes to something more important.
It’s not deprivation. It’s awareness and gratitude for the endless possibilities open to us.
If it helps, remember when you say no to something, it leaves it open and ready for another person to say yes.
All those things I stopped running; someone else stepped in and said yes. It was theirs to do, and not mine. All those items I didn’t buy keeps our house free of clutter and me, not a slave to owning things.
Now, I am saying yes to expansion, with a clear awareness of the choices I am making to do so. The benefit far outweighs the discomfort. I know the outcome is good for everyone.
And that is part of my why.
Say yes, say no. Both are good! I am here, cheering you on.
Did you like this blog? Maybe you would like one of my books too! How about this one The Daily Shift: It’s Not What You Think. It’s Better Than That