When yes battles with no | MattFoxCoaching.com

When yes battles with no

Thursday 4am.

I sit bolt upright in bed.

Thoughts of the day’s tasks coming up thick and fast.

My stomach clenches.

My mouth is dry.

There is a gnawing anxiety already present.

My head feels tight.  

I lie back down, tossing back and forth but knowing the night is over.

I try to stay breathing in calm; bringing my attention to my breath as I’d learned in meditation.

But it’s not working.

I give in.

I slowly start to shuffle out of bed, determined not to wake my partner, pulling back the duvet as gently as possible.

My feet feel cold on the floor and darkness and cool air, jolt me further into awakeness.

With a sigh, I grab a jumper and stumble into the living room, pulling out my laptop from the bag in the hallway as I go.

I get the proposal out I’d stalled on the previous evening, and with gritted teeth and a heavy heart, start typing away.

This wasn’t the first time or last that this happened.

It’s nearly 20 years now since I was in the cycle of never saying no.

No to my colleagues.

No to my clients.

No to myself.

I kept pushing on through the pain and stress of my never ending to do list.

Until I realised I’d crossed a line. This life was starting to make me miserable.

I didn’t mind hard work.

But this kind of routine: late nights, sleeplessness, early waking.

Hours in front of the screen.

I was too scared to press the off switch on myself.

As if doing so, would reveal to all, my deepest fear: I wasn’t as good as the others in the team.

I wasn’t as valuable.

I had to work doubly hard to make my way.

I hated the feeling of disappointing others more than anything.

It led to very unhealthy behaviours.

Luckily, I had the help of a really great therapist at the time who started to help me see the power of healthy boundaries.

I was always saying yes, because I feared rejection.

My identity was so deeply wrapped in saying yes, I lost sight of what really served me, and also served others.

These days, one of the first things I do with clients is to review boundaries.

We explore this very simple distinction: For every yes you offer, you’re saying no to something else.

Where are you saying yes because you feel you should rather than you really want to?

Where are you afraid of saying no because you fear exposure, rejection?

When is your ‘yes' automatic?

What do you imagine would happen if you said no?

With whom is it most difficult to say no?

What does saying yes so readily give you?

And what do you miss out on when you say yes?

These questions are the foundations of choosing a different way of being.

One planted in healthy boundary, healthy power, autonomy.

Digging below the surface of this Yes / No tension, we also consider self-forgiveness.

It’s one of the most powerful vehicles for moving ourselves out of stuck energy (often related to early life experiences) and into a compassionate relationship with our current experience.

I have a 10 minute video on self-forgiveness which talks about the practice in more details.

Email me if you’d like to receive it.

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash