I am a person who finds it extremely difficult to say no.
My name is Donna MacLellan and I am addicted to saying yes—there, I admit it.
The word no—the short, authoritative, quick and everyday word gets stuck in my throat like a huge boulder, which inevitably leaves me feeling heavy and gasping for breath.
When someone asks me can you come along to this or can you help me with that? I have an immediate internal panic and my mind transcends into chaos. My audible voice is silenced and my default people-pleaser programme kick-starts–-of course I will’, sure I can, it will be my absolute pleasure.
Why do I do this? Well, I want to help others, I don’t want to let people down, I want to be a good person and—to be shamefully truthful—it’s too much hassle to gather the courageous energy to say no.
My reasons—or more aptly my excuses—for my love affair with the word yes don’t stop there.
When I really think about why I do this, when I hold my breath and pull apart my entangled thoughts and emotions, I realize that it is because I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity, any opportunity at all.
If I decline that invitation for a night out, something really fun might happen.
If I ignore that call for a new friendship, I could be missing out on a wonderful connection with another human being—I must reply to that text as it could manifest into something spectacular.
I have to work overtime, so I can save the world, discover my true self and uncover the very meaning of life! I am sure you get the picture.
If everything happens for a reason—like we are often told—then there must be a reason for these happenings. I must follow the flow of life and go with it.
This way of thinking has given me a great life as magnificent energy exchanges have created light and beauty.
But in recent years my overuse of the yes word has caused ugliness to manifest. Binging on yes, has resulted in sickness and exhaustion.
After a recent visit to the dark-side of a social butterfly’s lifestyle, I asked myself what am I doing this for?
It wasn’t for the enjoyment—it was no longer fun. My social life was a chore for me and most likely for those around me too. It was time for change.
To make that change I had to do something which was incredibly painful for me. I cancelled a long weekend of plans that had been created by my yes obsession. I let people down, I missed out on milestone occasions and it sucked big time.
After I stopped mentally punishing myself I found the space I needed to breath.
Time became time.
I was able to just be as there was nowhere else where I had to be.
The silence felt alive, like tingles on my skin. The moments were intimate and magical—I could feel the sparkle of life’s creative energy.
I listened to my essence and followed its guidance. I picked up a paint brush and started experimenting with colours—it was enchanting.
I found my journal of inspirational work and started writing again. It was therapeutic. I walked in the park and felt nature tell me that it was okay to take this time for myself.
It was validating.
These moments—that arose from the beginnings of despair—held mystical grandeur, stillness and love.
In reflection, I learned yet another life lesson that weekend—I came to realize that by saying yes to everything I was missing out on all the possibilities which emanate from the treasures of stillness.
I realized that by making an effort to say no and reducing my levels of busy, I was allowing my heart to feel settled which gave me the time and energy to be creative and thankful.
It also gave me the head-space I needed to connect with the spirits of those around me and celebrate their moments with sincerity—something which I had forgotten could exist.
So, the next time someone says no to you, cancels on you or gives you an excuse for their absence, try not to be disappointed.
Maybe, just maybe, they are trying to return to their balance. Trying to reconnect and spend time with their soul.
Perhaps they have given so much to the universe that they are ready to take something back and create a better version of themselves.
No one should be denied that beautiful privilege.
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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock