When it comes to living out my dreams, “no” is no longer an option. When it comes to asking for what I desire, “no” to myself is no longer an option. When it comes to giving myself permission to fail, “no” is no longer an option. When it comes believing in myself, “no” is no longer an option.
For a long time, saying “no” was the default. It was my answer to everything. To having fun. To playing. To being imperfect. To failing. To trying new things. To being uncomfortable. To doing what I wanted. To asking for what I needed. To being myself. To saying what I needed to say.
Then someone pointed it out to me, point blank in the face: “you say no before you say yes“. It was poignant – and it hit me straight in the gut. I was guilty as hell.
I started to become aware of my self-talk, painfully aware. I started noticing all the places where I said “no” to myself – and it was everywhere. I observed myself wanting to say something in a conversation and shutting myself up with “I cannot say that“. I noticed how thoughts and ideas come up in my mind, and I smother them with all the reasons why they will fail. Little things, such as a new project at work or doing something with a friend. I noticed how quickly and easily I say “no” before I say “yes” – to myself.
I have always been my toughest judge and critic, and I held myself against the highest standards – perfection. I wanted needed to be perfect and to do perfect. In the eyes of society. In the eyes of my parents. In the eyes of my peers and lovers. Perfection required discipline: denying my true desires and acting in a way that would get me approval. It required curating my every word to make sure I came off smart, polished, polite and perfect. I ran everything I did and said through a filter. And it sapped me of all my energy.
“The longer you stay in a place that’s not totally in line with your desire, the more expensive it becomes.”
~ wise words from a friend
In effect, in denying ourselves and our true desires, we affirm our own death. The death of who we genuinely are and the gifts of what we bring to the world. In self-denial, we discard who we are for the sake of who we should be.
And I found the cost too high to bear. I had lived my life in total self-denial. Denial of who I am and all the things that make me unique – my thoughts, ideas, quirks and imperfections. By worrying so much about how I came across to others, I had run dry. Dry on energy to do what I love. Dry on relating with others and true intimacy. Dry on wanting to live.
So I am running an experiment on my life – a completely different way of living than I know how. A life-affirming way that celebrates who I am.
I am choosing to live from a place of “yes”. I am choosing to live from desire and approval of who I am and what I have to contribute. I am choosing to live in acceptance of whatever comes up for me – a thought, desire or intention – without curation or filtering. I am choosing to experiment with how life would be different if I let myself be who I am, raw and unfiltered.
I am choosing to affirm my life. So how will it be for me to live from a place of “yes”? How will the world respond if I show up fully as myself?If you’d like to experiment with me, start by noticing when you say “no” to yourself. Notice when you don’t give yourself permission to desire or want or ask for what you need. And ask yourself, what is the cost?