The Gift of “No”
I’m from New York, New York. The southern tip they call Alphabet city. We played stick-ball in cement fields and jumped turnstiles. My clan of street urchins stole penny candy, cigarettes and stickers, but prided ourselves on being self-reliant. We were latchkey kids while our divorced or Vietnam widowed mothers were at work quoting Gloria Steinem. My girl gang relished the word no; it was filled with empowerment. “No way, No how, No sir, No bets, No bull. ”
My cultural and childhood experiences were a soapbox where everyone spoke their mind. I never thought twice about exercising my will and hollering the truth but what I didn’t understand; it was a gift. Living a conscious lifestyle has brought this to my attention in both positive and negative ways. My directness causes people discomfort. I have been called a bull in a china shop more times than I can count. But the positive is you always know where I stand. I do not thrive on ego and enjoy input, critiques, and even edits-but you’ll never find me following the pack in the interest of keeping the boat steady. I was seven years old when Hues Corporation came out with “Rock the Boat” and my mom said it was my song. More often however, I see friends, and partners swing in other direction of people pleasing for peace. In this effort for harmony, we sacrifice too much. Pleasing others is a wonderful thing but it has limits. It warms our hearts, and creates good will, but when we please others by sacrificing our own needs we loose.
Our society wants a reward for everything. As Health Coach and disciplined Yogi I have learned that limitation is one of my greatest teachers. I’ve learned that a soul can thrive on honesty, boundaries, and margins and yet emanate kindness. The problem with being too nice, too correct, or too accommodating is it leads to miscommunication and misinterpretation. the courage to say “No” means confidence, self-respect, moral standards and refusal to accept undesirable terms. And when others have the courage to say “No” to you, you receive a gift of certainty, knowing, and the benefit of moving on should you choose. The Dahli Lama has remarked, “Not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
Doors that close (even in our face) are important to help us grow. “No” is a great teacher. Have you ever noticed when you over commit to “Yes” the after effect is a tidal wave of resentment, bitterness, energy spread too thin, and your own vortex of health and happiness is at risk
In yoga we discuss taking time on the mat to reflect, meditate and set intentions. Often we gave up something to be present on the mat. A class filled with bodies made a choice to create a breath of enlightenment. What did we say “no” to in our day in order to carve out time for our practice? “No” is a wonderful word that embraces courage, redirects the pressure to be coerced, and stops the pattern of self-sabotage. Stop burning out from being so good and just say no![/vc_column_text]
Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect. ~Gloria Steinem