This past summer, while at Kripalu, I saw the sentence above written on a white board outside a children’s yoga teacher training. And in that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head.
The idea of reframing a “no” towards someone or something else as a “yes” to ourselves is incredibly empowering. When I share this concept with yoga students I often see their faces light up and several nods of understanding and recognition.
As someone who is a perpetual people-pleaser, wants everyone to be happy, and will give as much as possible, this is a life saving mantra that helps me when I have to bow out of something or say no. Because most of the time I want to say yes to everything and everyone, usually because there are great things going on and I’d love to be a part of it all. But sometimes, in order to keep a little energy for yourself, you have to say no. Because if you didn’t you’d be empty.
Sometimes this happens like the gas tank in my car. I’m not the best at paying attention to it, and suddenly, towards the end of the week, the dummy light comes on that I’m all out of gas. Then it becomes a scramble to find the nearest gas station and refill. I’ve done that too – said yes to everyone BUT myself, and after a few months found myself exhausted, sick, tearful at everything, and curled up in my bed snuggling with the dog and watching bad TV for three days. Your body and The Universe will shut you off if you run on E for too long.
Notice the people who you say “yes” and “no” to as well. Often it’s easier for me to say no to my husband because I need to do a yoga thing for work, when perhaps I should be saying no to the work related thing and yes to him and our relationship. Yes to our relationship is still a yes to me. Yoga stuff is often a yes to me as well, but what really needs the attention in that moment? Some moments are harder to say “no” to than others.
The energy of yes is open, bright, welcoming and warm. Think to yourself, “yes, yes, yes…” and notice your posture and facial expression. If you want you can think “no, no, no…” and check out the difference. But be sure at the end to come back to “yes.”
I’m not saying “no” to you, I’m saying “yes” to me. It’s a tool I’ll be using for the rest of my life. It’s an act of self-love, self-care, and self-preservation. Say yes.