“Life cannot be lived through no. And those who try to live life through no simply go on missing life.” Zorba the Buddha
We can be so quick to say no. And there are a million ways to say no without actually uttering the word itself. We say no to ourselves when we’re convinced we can’t run a half marathon or try any new physical activity. We say no every time we think we’re too busy to accommodate a change to our schedule like preparing food or meditating. We say no every time we choose not to connect with new people because we feel secure in our social circle. We say no every time we list all the obstacles in any given situation before we even consider the possibilities of success.
Sometimes, we’re genuinely disinterested in something. “Hey, do you want to take some real estate classes with me?” No, as a matter of fact, I have no desire to do that.
Sometimes, it’s a safety precaution. “Hey, do you want to go to a yoga class tomorrow?” No, I think I injured my wrist a few days ago and I need to stay off of it for a while.
But many times, it’s just a bunch of excuses. “Cultivating a morning meditation practice could really ease your stress.” I’m not a morning person and can’t wake up any earlier than I already do. “Try bringing a homemade lunch to work one day a week.” I don’t have any extra time to prepare food. “Let’s take Spanish classes together!” I’m not good at learning languages. “Please consider this job offer that pays twice as much as you make now.” I don’t have enough experience for that job, and it’s a 10 minute longer commute anyway. Aaaaaand on and on and on.
It’s easy to isolate all the situations or instances in which we say no and justify each one individually. But the truth is, we all inevitably get stuck in our habits and our patterns, we get very comfortable with our fears so that saying yes becomes exceedingly difficult. Trying new things and expanding our repertoire of experiences requires more effort. So if we look at it from a big picture perspective and start to really be honest about the tendencies in our approach to life as a whole, we begin to understand our patterns, how they affect us, why we’re holding on to them, and how we can begin to change them.
The quote from above continues to read “Just to say [yes] is so relaxing. Let it become your very lifestyle.” The very act of saying yes allows your brain to process the possibilities, whether you’re going to venture into those possibilities or not. Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” When you say no, you shut down your brain from even being able to imagine it. So it will never materialize. If I were to ask you, “Do you want to climb Mt. Everest?” What if you said yes, right now, in your mind? Can you picture it? Imagine it? Just for a few moments experience it in your mind? You have just created the possibility.
The more you bring yourself to say yes, the easier and easier it becomes, and I can stand by that statement 100% from my own experiences. It becomes a lifestyle shift.
We all say no sometimes and saying no serves a purpose. No is a reflection of our boundaries which we all have and need. But learning how to say yes allows us to truly explore the limits of those boundaries. Being a yes person isn’t easy. We face challenges, we willingly place ourselves in uncomfortable situations, and we spend a lot of time in the unknown. But then . . . we grow.