Say Yes When You Want To Say No


I sat shivering in the hot sun. Although the day was warm, the sky was blue and the water shimmered in the sunlight, I couldn’t stop shaking.  I was sitting on the back of a paddle board, my daughter standing in front of me, her paddle slicing smoothly through the water, drawing us further and further out into deeper water. Her dog, Linus, sat in front of her, shivering just like me.

What had I gotten myself into? My mind screamed, Turn around and head back to shore! Back to safety! The further we moved from shore out into deeper water, the more nervous I became. This was a new adventure for me, and I didn’t like it, not one bit. Gripping the sides of the board as tightly as I could, I prayed that this would be over quickly and soon I would be back on dry land!

Relief washed over me when it was time to head back to shore. My shivering had stopped, and my racing pulse calmed, and I began to breathe easier. The wind was behind us, gently nudging us toward shore – safety, comfort zone. As I felt my shoulders and jaw begin to soften, I started to wonder why I was so afraid. Why did I feel so nervous about things like this. I default to saying no to anything outside my comfort zone, especially when it comes to doing physical things, like paddle boarding. I began to wonder what difference it would make in my life if I were to start saying yes, when I want to say no. Just then, the dolphins appeared.

Suddenly, only a few feet ahead of us, two dolphins arched gracefully out of the water! They appeared once more, to our delight, and then they were gone. What an incredible sight! I would have missed out on that beautiful sight had I said no to this experience. If I had given into the fear and the resistance I felt to going out on the board, I wouldn’t have seen the dolphins! How often do you get to see dolphins just appear right in front of you?

My experience on the paddleboard made me realize that there are at least three huge reasons for saying yes to things that scare you a little - or a lot! 

3 Things Saying Yes Can Create in Your Life:

1. It can blow the lid off your self-perception box – your box of limiting beliefs! You see that you are greater than you thought you were, you are stronger and more capable than you thought you were, you see the MORE that is in you, instead of the LESS! Most people feel resistance when doing new things that they are afraid of doing. But when you lean into the resistance, you often discover things you didn’t know were inside you! And you may even find that the very thing that scares you, also excites you! You may discover that hidden underneath the fear is a new passion, something you may truly enjoy. (Saying No keeps you in your current self-perception, stay in your box of how you see yourself.)

I didn’t think I could write a book. I didn’t know I had it in me. I said no for at least a decade! I was afraid people wouldn’t like it. I was afraid to be vulnerable. I worried that it would be too personal. When I finally said yes, and wrote that book, I experienced the amazing sensation of sending my own creation into the world! Suddenly, it didn’t matter who liked it and who didn’t. I had produced something that no one else could. Since then, I’ve heard that many people have read it and have experienced healing, peace, and inspiration from that little book. THAT was inside me! My YES allowed me to see that I am greater than I think I am. I have more in me than I thought I did.

2.  It opens doors of opportunities and possibilities! Things are now possible that you didn’t know were there, you meet new people, learn new things, things that were once closed off are now opening up to you – new horizons, new experiences. (Saying No closes doors and shuts off possibilities, keeps you stuck and entrenched, staleness, stagnation.)

I almost said no to attending a women’s conference recently. I signed up because some women in a local network group I recently joined were going and I thought it would be a great way to get to know them. As the weekend drew closer, I was so tempted to cancel! I thought about how much easier it would be to just not go. I wouldn’t have to drive or pack or be away from home. I wouldn’t have to figure out how to stay on my eating plan or pay for a hotel room. I could just stay home and relax.

But I said yes instead. I did get a chance to get to know some of the women in this networking group, but I got so much more. I am now connected to two of the speakers at the event who have agreed to be a guest on my podcast. New doors have opened, new relationships, new collaborations, new opportunities. My YES opened up my life to MORE.

3. It expands your enjoyment of life! Life is meant to be lived, you come alive, experience joy in a deeper way, connect to yourself and others, invites in new sensations, creates memories and shared experiences. (Saying No contracts your enjoyment of life, you miss out on the fun and joy of being alive.)

I said no to contra dancing for probably 10 years. Two friends asked me to go with them several times, but I kept saying no. It sounded weird. I didn’t know if I would be able to do it. Would the people be strange? Would I look stupid? Would I enjoy it? Finally, I said yes. I fell in love with it, absolutely in love!

I have been contra dancing now for 7 years – every chance I get. When I dance, all my stress melts away! I am transported to a place of movement and rhythm connected to a roomful of joyful dancers, all moving in time together! I feel pretty, feminine, and graceful. I am connected to my inner child who comes out to play and twirl and laugh and sing! It is pure bliss! 

I’ve learned that saying YES adds so much to my life and saying no, while it may feel more comfortable and “safe,” limits my life. When I say yes, I may feel anxious and shaky. I may want to quit, turn around and head for shore. I may feel exposed and vulnerable. I may feel awkward and inept. I may feel embarrassed. These are uncomfortable emotions.

Being comfortable with being uncomfortable becomes a doorway to joy, bliss, connection, growth, opportunity, and seeing the greatness inside you.  

So, I have a question for you. What are you saying no to in your life?

Quickly write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Now look at your list, and answer this question for each item on your list:

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  1. What could be possible for you if you were to start saying yes to that instead?
  2. What limiting beliefs about who you are and what you are capable of would be blown to bits if you said yes and stepped out of your box?
  3. What doors could open for you, what new opportunities might appear, what could be possible for you if you changed that no to a yes and took a chance?
  4. And what joy and pure delight could you invite into your life if you allowed your inner child to say yes and just come out and play?

I challenge you today: Just Say Yes! Say YES to ONE new thing this week! Then watch what appears before you. You just might see dolphins!