Do you ever say “yes” or “okay” when you really want to say “no”? Do you default to “politeness” rather than speaking your truth, taking up space, defending yourself, and/or standing your ground regarding what you actually want? Are you able to check in with yourself and say and do what needs to be said and done to meet your own needs in any/every situation? Does “no” come easily when that is what your truth is? Do you ever endure discomfort (physical, energetic, or emotional), rather than speaking up, figuring “it’s not that bad” or “it will only last a little while”? Can you ask for what you want, need, and/or desire in each moment – even if that means saying “no” to someone else’s wants, needs, and/or desires?
If you’re anything like me, “no” often doesn’t come as easily as you would like it to come. In fact, while I’m quite tough and outspoken in the pretend conversations frequently happening in my own mind, my reality in the outside world is that I often don’t speak up for myself or speak my truth/s in the ways that so easily flow in the privacy of my mind or when I’m speaking for other people. I’m great at standing up for others, defending others, offering others support and encouragement to take up space and stand in their own truths. I want to be great at standing up for myself and my own needs and desires as well.
Just recently, a friend had a talk with me about how she witnessed me saying “yes” to a request with my words, while everything in my whole body and energy field was saying a strong “no.” That incongruency isn’t going to work in my life! I’m so adamant about ideas such as that a person can change their mind at any time in any sort of sexual encounter – and has the absolute right for the encounter to stop, no matter what is happening – even in the middle of intercourse. When “yes” becomes “no” – that’s it!
This isn’t just true in sexual encounters. This is true in every aspect of life. It’s so important to be able to speak our truth/s about what we want and don’t want! Being able to say “no” is an essential skill! Now, I realize that sometimes if we want to keep our jobs (for example), we may be required to do things we don’t particularly want to do. We have a choice, though. We can look for a different job. We can look for other solutions. We can quit. I’m not saying that it’s easy or that it’s always clear-cut. I’m simply saying that we often have more choices than we realize – and also that perhaps if we used our “no” wherever that is our truth and it is possible to say no, then that could move us toward feeling more empowerment in our lives. I want that, for sure! Do you?
How do you know if you’re a “yes” or a “no”? Feel into your body. What is your body saying to you? Do you feel tightness or restriction? Where? Do you feel lightness or opening? Where? Does it feel like a possibility or request opens you or closes you? Paying attention to these signals in your body and pausing a moment to breathe into them and allow awareness can give you the space to make decisions that are in alignment with what you really want. My friends in the tantric world, with whom I just assisted at an Energy Sex Facilitator Training, suggest that anything other than a “Hell YES!” or a “Fuck YEAH!” are a “no.” “Maybe” is a “no.” Just practice saying “no.” You can change your mind later and say “yes” if you want. The opportunity may have passed, but there also may be some room for negotiation.
Communication is so important! Being willing to be open and communicate your truth is a gift, not only to yourself, but to everyone with whom you interact. Owning your “no” is truly the first step into worlds of “yes!” and creating the life you want!
In my goal of living my life as authentically as possible, I realize how important my “no” is. Especially when interacting with other people – in order for people to be willing to have more intimate relationships with me, they have to be able to trust that when I say “yes” that I mean it – and I’m not just defaulting to politeness or people-pleasing, but that I’m actually a “Hell YES!” Being able to say “no” is an important step in building trust and authentic relationships, which is absolutely what I want. Hell YES! to that! Also, it’s okay to be awkward! I don’t have to do this perfectly! This is a new skill for me! I mean, yes, I’d mastered it when I was two years old, but that mastery was lost in further socialization to please others – even at the cost of sacrificing Self. I’m unlearning so much! It’s okay! I’ve got this! You’ve got this! Perfection not required!
It’s a daily practice and I choose to have fun doing it. Yes, it’s out of my comfort zone. Yes, it requires me to pay more attention and to check in with myself when anything comes up. It’s not that hard! I just need to get out of the habit of trying to respond to everything immediately as if other people don’t have the capacity to wait a moment (or however long it takes) for me to check in with myself. The PAUSE is important! I give myself permission to pause regularly and check in with me! I choose to be willing to disappoint other people if it means taking care of me and being true to myself! I choose to live in my Hell YES! and stop pushing my meh’s and maybe’s toward reluctant or obligatory yeses. I don’t owe anyone my time, attention, or life energy! I want to be as clear as possible in my energy going forward, this barometer of feeling guiding my way.
I just received an open invitation to spend some time with someone. I’ve just finished a 16 day workshop where I was surrounded by about 30 people most of the time. All I want right now is time alone. I saw myself trying to talk myself into making plans with this person. “She’s only here a few days. It would be a good opportunity to talk – blah, blah, blah.” You know what? NO! No, I’m not going to talk myself into something that is most definitely not a Hell Yeah! Yes, it could be a good experience. But no, it’s not what I really want right now. So, “no” gets to be my answer. I don’t need to be afraid of missing out or of letting someone else down. I need to trust my Inner Guidance and Knowing – and allow myself to hear my inner “yes” and “no” – and act accordingly.
This post has been dealing with the ability to say “no.” Next time, I’ll talk about the ability to accept “no” from others with grace and ease, and without becoming discouraged or defeated. Receiving “no” can have its own challenges! A lot of the time, we avoid that by not even asking for what we want. Let’s look at that! I’d love to hear your stories of your relationship with “no”! Feel free to share below! Also, if you’d like some support around your choices, self-love, body image, and/or sacred sexuality, please check out what I have to offer!