A very wise boss of mine once said back in the day in the midst of my mad corporate lifestyle in London: “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 do to allow someone else to do their thing…the list goes on. People pleasing – it’s a succession of yeses.
So. Here’s the thing.
Just thinking about this can allow you to start saying no to more stuff, which reduces overwhelm. And it starts to correct balance. Hurrah to all of that.
However, I think we can take it further. Let’s look not just at the quantity of stuff we stay yes to, and reducing that for reasons of balance and sanity. To really make effective change in our lives we need to look not just at the quantity of our yeses and no’s but at the quality too.
What’s the quality of my Yes?
What’s the quality of my No?
What do I mean by that? The quality?
By quality, I mean the intention, emotion and energy behind it.
Here are a few examples that might ring some bells for you:
When we say Yes!….but are secretly seething and resent whatever it is we have just committed ourselves to – well that’s a Low-Quality Yes right there.
When we say No!….but feel wracked 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 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 No’s. Raise the quality. We want a really, consciously positive intention, emotion and energy behind them.
When we say Yes! And we’re 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 go do the other thing without guilt, because we stand behind our right to have consciously made that choice. Saying no, guilt-free 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.
Each day is literally teeming with instances for us to practice the quality of our yeses and no’s. Go and 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 – 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.