There is profound power in learning how to say “no” to things that do not serve us. When we learn how to say “no” to things in the moment the invitation arises, we cut out the wasting of time and energy that it takes to let something go. Releasing ideas that hold us back, letting go of people and relationships that are not curious and interested in who we are, and removing roles we play that cause us emotional dysregulation are heart-wrenching and laborious. Yes, we must learn from our mistakes, but if done with present-focused-attention, mistakes do not have to be repeated. Letting go can cause us to waste precious resources of hours and stamina. Saying “no” beforehand, when our gut tells us to not go down the rabbit-hole of a negative experience, is self-regulating, time-saving and efficient — and when you say “no” you must be clear about what you are saying “yes” to instead.
In order to practice feeling confident and to give ourselves permission to say “no” to things in the present moment, we need to understand who we are and which thoughts, ideas, people and experiences we choose to say “yes” to. If we do not have the clarity of what to say “yes” to, we end up loosing out on precious time and energy. Time and energy is a limited resource. It takes a very long time to bounce back after a break up, and on a minuscule scale, it also takes time and energy to cancel dinner plans we previously said “yes” to, even though intuitively we knew at the time that the person we agreed to have dinner with is a negative and an unedifying conversationalist.
The University of California in San Francisco completed research, which highlights that when we wrestle and cringe while saying “no,” (a.k.a. when we don’t assertively and confidently say “no” with conviction) we experience increased emotional distress, overwhelmedness and despondency writes Travis Bradberry, Ph. D.
Instead of feeling guilty and begrudgingly accepting every social invite or feeling obligated to help all your co-workers requests, we can instead develop the skill to politely turn down opportunities that end up wasting our time in the long run. We have to put our own oxygen masks on first. We owe it to ourselves to be clear about what we want to say “yes” to in every here-and-now. We all know what it feels like to over-commit ourselves, and thus, be too drained to focus on our own priorities and values. Selfishness is a positive word that we need to reclaim as an essential component to self-care. The more self-compassion one has, the easier it becomes to not waste time and energy on saying “no,” because we understand intuitively that what we should be saying “yes” to is the enhancement and maintenance of the constantly progressing self we want to be.
When you say “yes” to one thing, by default, you are saying “no” to every single thing that exists in the world! That is why saying “no” is not easy. We want the limitlessness possibilities. We do not want to decrease our options of choice. We have to let go of the idea that we need everything and must have everyone like us in order to feel whole.
We should be saying “yes” to more mindfulness moments. We should say “yes” to healthy thoughts and positive experiences. We should practice saying “no” with cheerful conviction because we have the responsibility to ourselves to be the best possible version of who we want to become. We are in a constant state of becoming, which means we choose who we are in the present moment by which things we decide to collaborate with. Saying “no” to things that are not our present proactive placeholder of attention brings a feeling of empowerment.
Do not hesitate for a second to say “no” with a radiant smile that means you are proud of the person you are committed to creating. Say “yes” to the direction that feels the most zestful. You are amazing and you deserve to feel good in every moment. When disquietude or downheartedness show up, allow them to be present. Do not waste time and energy pushing them away or engaging in a conversation with them, instead, joyfully return to your placeholder by saying “yes” to what in your present moment is illuminatingly vivacious for you.