High-quality yes, high-quality no
A very wise boss of mine once said, “If you say yes to everything Louise, what is your yes worth?”
It’s a very good question. I am still a recovering people-pleaser. Hell, we all want to be liked, right? It can be so easy to say “yes” to taking on that thing/helping out with that other thing/staying late for that thing/missing the thing you really want to allow someone else to do their thing...the list goes on. People pleasing — it’s a succession of yeses.
It’s a mighty fine question to ask oneself: “If I say yes to almost everything, what is my yes really worth?” Just thinking about this can allow you to start saying no to more stuff, which reduces overwhelmed, and starts to correct the balance. Hurrah to all of that.
However, I think we can take it further. To really make effective change in our life we need to look not just at the quantity of our yeses and noes but at the quality too. What’s the quality of my yes? What’s the quality of my no? What do I mean by the quality? By quality I mean the intention, emotion and energy behind it.
Here’s a few examples that might ring some bells for you:
- When we say yes!...but are secretly seething and resenting whatever it is we have just committed ourselves to — well, that’s a low-quality yes right there.
- When we say no!...but feel racked with guilt for having said it and don’t really enjoy the thing we have chosen instead because we are feeling so guilty — that’s a low quality no.
- When we say yes or no but we have a bad-feeling emotion behind it — that’s low-quality. You know what that feels like. We all do. We know it. We can FEEL it when we deliver a low quality yes or no.
What we want to do is really OWN our yeses and noes — raise the quality. We want a really consciously positive intention, emotion and energy behind them. So, when we say yes! — and we are fully energised and into that thing we have committed to, that’s a high quality yes.When we say no, cheerfully and with strength, and do the other thing without guilt, because we stand behind our right to have consciously made that choice, guilt-free no-ing is a high-quality no.
When we say yes! and it’s not something we are madly excited about but we are consciously choosing to do it to help someone out or whatever — so we choose to show up not with resentment but with a good heart and with good grace, and not wishing we were somewhere else —that’s a high-quality yes.
When we say HELL NO! And walk away from a situation or person who is harming us or dragging us down, when we enforce our boundaries and stay strong in that no, even when it’s hard or socially tricky, because it’s the right thing to do, that right there is a high-quality no.
Life is FULL of opportunities for raising the quality of our yeses and noes. Each day is literally teeming with instances for us to practise the quality of our yeses and noes. Go make it happen, and feel how much it transforms the energy and happiness you experience each day — you will be shining such clear intention and energy that everything in life will flow with so much more ease.
Yes and no are two of the most powerful words in the English language — make them count.