Wow, check us oot on Week 4 ‘n’ that! How did you get on with our Week 1 knowledge challenge? If you want to find out my thoughts on it, then head back to the Week 1 blog post, which I’ve updated. But for now, on to this week’s challenge: Just. Say. Yes.
Now I don’t know about you, but I for one can be pig-headed in relation to my tastes, boundaries, limits – and most important and sacred of all to me – how I go about spending my time and with whom. Any of my friends will tell you that I can be the very definition of a stubborn mule when it comes to committing to doing things. It’s a weird dichotomy as I am very much a people-pleaser as well, but when I dig my heels in and refuse to do something, just accept that the lady ain’t for turning! Which is why, for the next 21 days, I plan to do just the opposite of that.
Will life take a turn for the better if I cast aside my (fragile) ego and say aye? What sorts of things might manifest if we start experimenting with saying, “YES”?
Come friends, let us indulge in some good old Yessing! I’ll see you back here in 3 weeks time.
It is now 3 weeks later, my Yes challenge has come to a close … and my entire being has exhaled a sigh of relief. In fact, the whole experience has posed a vital, philosophical question – why do we hate to say no? I don’t know about you, but I was raised to say “Yes, of course!” to all favours and taught that doing this makes you a good person. Saying no = bad person, selfish arsehole or mean-spirited in some way. But does it?
I’ve spent the last 21 days agreeing to things, accepting food and drink offers when I didn’t want or need them (and now feeling and looking pretty bloated for it!), nodding enthusiastically and going with the flow when all I really wanted was to express the real Gill and to simply say, “No, I’d rather do this” or “No, thank you. Not for me.” Saying yes has proved to be somewhat exhausting and I’ve allowed some requests to devour my time in a way that I wouldn’t normally allow.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been some lovely yes moments along the way, for example, agreeing to walk the dog in torrential rain which turns out, was fun! Agreeing to look after my dear pal’s small baby whilst she’s busy trying to pack up her flat for a huge move was a no-brainer. He is the most adorable, wee pumpkin and my pal – who is easily, one of life’s most loyal, sweet and reliable people – means the world to me. Doing unto others as you would want done unto you is entirely pleasurable and rewarding. These sorts of Yeses are a direct route to happiness. Truth.
I’ve recently been reading Gretchen Rubin’s excellent book, The Four Tendencies and have identified as a Rebel with Obliger tendencies on the side. Given this experiment, this makes sense in that saying yes to myself has been arguably, the most rewarding part of it all! To go with your instincts and listen to your gut is apparently, very Rebel-like behaviour. However, I know that there’s a part of me that is a people-pleaser and if I feel I’ve let someone down, it will bother me for hours. If you’re like me and find yourself saying yes at times because you don’t want to upset someone, remember it’s not your responsibility to keep everyone happy! If I were to go through the rest of life saying yes to everything ever asked of me, it would leave me overwhelmed, crabbit, frazzled and skint. Not to mention, desperately unhappy.
At the end of the day, I like having agency and the ability to make my own choices. I like being able to say no. Having too many obligations and dates in my diary leaves me feeling overwhelmed and how I choose to spend time is precious to me. Allocating this time wisely and filling it with rewarding experiences and spending it with friends and family who 100% matter to me is what’s most important.
And so, on that note, my commitment to saying ‘Yes’ will continue where possible, but alongside a healthy dose of ‘No’s’ to protect my time and energy.
Here’s to saying YES to that!