This is one of those seemingly simple statements that worked itself into my thoughts and has been niggling there for a while. The premise is that you can never say yes to something without saying no at the same time. This person was specifically talking about time commitments – you know, when you say “yes” to a project that requires your time and energy – you are also saying “no” to spending that time with family. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that it applies to so much of our life – and you can flip the statement as well. Every time you say “no” to something, you are also saying “yes” to another something.
Time: As I mentioned, in the original conversation – we were reminded that saying yes to commitments means saying no to several things. Spending time with those important to you, spending time for yourself, possibly even spending time on reasons you feel are more valuable/meaningful.
People: Who (and why) are you saying yes to having in your life? Are those relationships building you up? Or are they exhausting you? Are your relationships equally yoked? I find myself looking at friendships and other relationships with different eyes. Every relationship is going to have a fluid state of give and take – but when it is all give (or take) – is it time to evaluate? Are you able to give when it is needed? Are you able to let yourself receive when you need the support? If you say “no” to letting someone help you, are you saying “yes” to isolating yourself and hurting the relationship? Maybe this is something that comes with age, but I am looking for more substance from friendships/relationships. Quantity isn’t as important as quality – trite but true.
Forgiveness: When we say no to forgiving or asking for forgiveness (someone or ourselves) – we are saying yes to keeping so much alive – bitterness, anger, resentment – just to name a few. Saying yes to forgiveness allows joy back into life. A wise person told me that forgiving means that I am realizing that I can’t rewrite history. Forgiving means saying yes to the future, and no to living in the past. It offers a new sense of freedom.
Me(You): Saying yes to being me, being real and saying no to trying to be someone to please others. Probably AKA being comfortable in your own skin. If I don’t like who I am, how can I expect anyone else to like me?
Causes: This is related to time in some aspects. Yet, it involves so much more. You are going to invest time and energy, and say no because of this. Is your cause worth it? Do you really believe in it – or by saying “yes” to the cause – are you saying “no” to something/someone else as a method of avoidance?
Stuff: This is a problem area for me that has been under attack with our new living situation! Look at your “stuff” – the things you have said “yes” to. Why? Why did you say yes and continue to say yes to it? I am amazed at how important I let “stuff” become, and how freeing it can be to say “no” to it.
Two other areas come to mind – attitude and food. Maybe a third – exercise. I think the “yes”/”no” concept is pretty obvious with these.
My challenge (and I extend this to you) – spend time and think about all the things you are continually saying yes and no to. Which are the good “yeses” and “noes” – and which need to be reconsidered?