Photo credit: Aristocrats-hat

How many of us are guilty of saying yes when we should say no, and saying no when we really want to say yes?

“Need a volunteer?”
“Yes”, even though you already have a million things on our to-do list.

“Try this cigarette?”
“Yes”, even though you don’t really want to.

“Want to come to a party?”
“No”, even though you actually really want to go but fear new social situations.

“Can I get your phone number?”
“No”, even though the person asking looks really cute.

Societal mores and peer pressure can lead our best intentions down the garden path when it comes to saying yes and no to requests from others.  The more we say yes or no to things we shouldn’t, the further away from our true selves we become.  Saying yes to things that don’t bring you joy gives you less time for things you do enjoy.  Saying no to things that may scare you means you may miss out on living your life to the fullest.

So how do we know what we should be saying yes and no to?  There are three important concepts to embrace.

The first is boundaries.  Physical, emotional and mental boundaries.  Take some time to review your thoughts, opinions, beliefs and biases.  Determine what you can and cannot accept in terms of your physical space.  Set your emotional limitations to block negativity and guilt.  This creates the focus for your world view.  When you are asked to do something that goes against your world view, say no.  If it doesn’t, say yes!

The second is to recognise fear.  Ask yourself if you are saying yes or no to something based on fear. Maybe you are afraid of something bad happening, or afraid of looking stupid, or simply afraid of the unknown.  Or maybe you are afraid of rejection.  Now remove fear from the equation.  Just let it go.  Replace fear with what you could gain or achieve in the given situation. 

The third is to banish the guilt.  If you think about it, no one can make you feel guilty except yourself.  More often than not, guilt comes from a place where actions don’t match your intentions.  If saying yes or no to someone causes you to feel guilty, ask yourself if you have acted in a manner that is in contradiction to your world view. 

Stay true to yourself and “yes” or “no” will come with more ease in the future. 

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