Let’s start with NO. Saying NO to something you don’t want can be a way of saying YES to yourself, and what you DO want. For example, saying No to going out for dinner because you’d rather stay at home and read a book means you are free to do just that, stay at home and read your book. You said No to what you didn’t want, which in this case equaled getting what you did want.
But it doesn’t always strictly work like that. Sometimes saying NO might NOT equal saying YES to yourself and what you want. For example, if you want a love relationship, but you say NO to almost every offer of a date, you could be hugely limiting your chances of meeting a partner, because sometimes we need to get a little closer to someone to be able to really see them.
Now I’m not saying it’s a good idea to force yourself to say YES when you really want to say NO. What I AM saying is that it’s a good idea to check in with yourself before you say NO on autopilot. Perhaps ask yourself:
– What would I be saying YES to?
If you’re clear within yourself (and with your potential date) that you are saying YES to just a date – and not to a marriage proposal, or to sex, or even a kiss – you may find yourself actually wanting to meet up with them. And maybe you’d want to meet with lots of interesting people, because it could be a lot of fun (and could even lead to a relationship!)
– Can I rely on myself to say NO?
Okay so this might at first seem like a bit of a paradox, but hear me out. Knowing that you can say NO at any time to something that someone offers you, or asks of you, is going to give you a lot more confidence to be open to connecting with someone in the first place. For example, if you know that you can confidently say NO to someone asking you to have sex with them (when you don’t want to), then it’ll feel much safer to say YES to a date. You know you won’t end up doing anything you don’t want to. But if you find it difficult to say NO, there is a much greater risk, because they might ask to have sex with you, which could mean you would feel obligated to, which could mean having sex when you don’t want to. And that could really hurt you.
If you do find it difficult to say NO when you need to, learning how could really transform your life. You could seek the support of others, read about healthy personal boundaries and assertiveness, find a good coach or therapist, and/or attend workshops that will support you to say NO. Learning to Say NO whenever you want to will give you a great deal of confidence and freedom, and will enable you to say YES to what you want in life, including a healthy love relationship if you desire one.
– Am I willing to step outside of my comfort zone?
An unwillingness to step outside of your comfort zone and into the unknown can result in creating a “Wall of NO”. Imagine that each time you say NO to avoid the unknown, or to avoid any discomfort, or the risk of getting hurt, you add another brick to the wall. You may feel safe behind the wall, but you may also feel very isolated and lonely. A healthy willingness to step a little outside of your comfort zone will help you to stretch it over time, so that what felt very scary before can become reasonably (or even very!) comfortable. This stretch will allow you to open more and more to connecting with potential partners…which could lead to a love relationship!
Being fully alive and going for what we really want in life sometimes means taking risks, stretching our comfort zones and doing things differently than the way we’ve been doing them. If you’ve wanted to be in a relationship for a while but haven’t met someone and you recognize that you have a Wall of NO (as I have had myself in the past), you could take a brick out of the wall by saying YES to a date with someone. Just a date. You could say YES to getting to know someone one step at a time, checking in with yourself at every step you take toward them. You could say YES to yourself, to being fully open to life, and to the potential of experiencing the love relationship you truly desire.