(copied with Natalie's blessing: http://www.nataliedee.com/archives/2009/Jun/)
I was raised, as probably most of you were, to say NO, far more than to say - YES. Was yes far too positive in a world full of "no-no's" maybe? Other than saying No to unwanted solicitations, I don't think that there is much more use for NO. And sometimes we didn't even use NO for that - and ended up only saying NO to ourselves by saying YES to the unwanted. I think we might have said YES to ourselves far too little, or maybe its just me.
So how about turning that over-used NO on its head and framing everything in YES ? This is certainly what I needed to do. I did do it in bits, saying YES to myself for starters, but now I think I understand it better, I see how Yes and NO permeate everything and have a framing effect.
So saying YES....kind of like Jim Carey in Yes Man, but with a bit of discrimination - you aren't going to say yes to running away with Jonny Dep, that would be really foolish if you have things on the go like a family and a loving spouse... and I don't mean saying yes to that little voice that wants yet another coffee and its noon and you haven't eaten anything but caffeine. NO. I would advise no here. oh, but wait.
Here is your chance to say it.
Instead of saying a resounding, negative, firm NO to yourself about some bad habit that keeps you from doing other things - despite the current idea that saying no is so very adult-like, so very "taking charge of my life" like - how about just saying yes to something better. Saying YES to eating breakfast and all the good things about breakfast...yumm, home made waffles with maple syrup and bluberries...antioxidants, energy - happy me! Be open to all the good things about it - and make it far more desirable than that old habitual lug - because, in reality, it IS more desireable.
When you "Just say No" to things, it feels like you are depriving yourself, it ushers in negative energy, you are locked into an endless struggle with it - always having to deal with it and squeeze out a reluctant, pained NO every time. You are "trying to be good" when the "Bad" is still framed in your mind as "good". (They call it "guilty pleasure" - How does guilty find its way into our pleasure anyway? It doesn't belong there.) So when you try to do something else - healthier, better-for-you, something that will make you a better person instead, you are still in NO mode, negative mode - I HAVE to do this, sigh....its still framed in with the NO.
We give our bad habits so much power. So heres the opposite tack. Don't suppress it, but observe the no-good habitual desire, with detachment: oh There you are. Aren't you cute showing up everyday. Off you go. I'm too busy saying YES to this new, shiny, good-for-me habit to come out and play. Or you could cooly observe it and lend no judgement to it, don't address it, just acknowledge what it is and let it pass - turning towards something better. more desirable. This renders the thing powerless, you don't have to turn away from it and say no, you can look it in the eye and say YES to something else, or yes to it in your own modified version - where you are in control.
The key is to replace that old stinky habit with a shiny good-for-you one. Saying NO, then wandering around wanting to say yes, stuffing down the desire every time it comes up doesn't really solve anything - it keeps it close, as if we don't want to let it go. Believe me, I've been there too many times, holding onto things that did me no good at all. I found that when we say yes to something more desirable , and hold onto that instead - consciously - we then can make this new habit even more desireable by practicing it, doing it and feeling great from it. The old habitual desire falls away like the dry empty crust that it is.
Its worked for me, this YES practice. Coffee is my friend, my 3 cups a day buddy - I say yes to coffee, it doesn't force yes on me. I don't have a "7 cups" desire left to suppress. Instead, I do have a great desire for a yummy breakfast with coffee, a soothing tea ritual, going for a meander...getting more work done. I want to say YES to all these things...they are not just things I have to do - duties to myself , "being good". They are things I say yes to - the possibilities I open myself up to. The positive energy, the opening that saying YES creates... has made all the difference.
How's your YES reflex?
Yes-huh part II to come...stay tuned my friends.
(This post was inspired by an AHA moment I had on Beth's Blog: Hope's Breath, via her post called "Say Yes" - go over and read it - she turns saying NO on its head...)