How Often Do We Say Yes Because We Think We Don’t Deserve To Say No?
Yesterday, a girl came up to me before my class at Equinox and told me that my sister Rachel’s blog is her saving grace; that she feels she's on the same journey as my sister. That she is, in fact, a little obsessed with it. So am I, I thought. So am I.

I felt proud of my sister, happier than if she'd complimented my own blog (which, due to my hearing loss, I thought she had done at first!)

Serendipitous too, as I had just started a guest post for my sister’s blog. It was a gentle nudge from the Universe to get writing.

The past few days I have been in my bed, with the blanket over my ice-pack covered head.

I haven’t suffered from one of my migraines since last May. Then BAM! Without warning I got one on Tuesday night.

I felt the panic set in.

It makes it hard to talk. To see. To focus.

I slur a bit.

I cancelled my private yoga sessions on Wednesday and Thursday due to how bad I was feeling.

I called Frank Gjata, who has become my life coach and dear friend, and before I knew it, I was lying in the dark, my throbbing head screaming Get off the Effing Phone, while the rest of me was off having a profound life-changing moment. (That’s Frank for you.)

He asked me: "Why now? Why do you think your migraine is coming back now?"

I wanted to yell, "I don’t know and I don’t care. I just want the pain to go away."

He asked me to describe what I was feeling.

"Throbbing," I said. It was all I could get out. 

He suggested how perfect that was because it was actually how I was living my life.

On, off. On, off.

Stop, go. Stop, go.

Why did he have to be so spot on?

I told him I was feeling guilty that I gave up so much work the last few days. I said, "Who am I to give up $200-an-hour jobs? I didn’t even make $200 a day when I was waitressing?”

"Exactly," he said. "Who are you?"

There it is. That question. (Just for the record, I hate when things get turned on me.)

I got it. Here we are back to my favorite, the “I am ____” exercise.

I realized that I keep myself so busy and run down because there is this mantra running through my head. You know how I love a mantra.

The mantra is: Who am I to ever say no to something? Who am I to ever allow myself to say No to something?

What a question!

How many times a day do we say yes to things because we don’t feel we deserve to say no? Or, because there might not be another time to say “yes”? Or because the only way we know how to live is to keep ourselves busy all the time? Or because we feel guilty?

The list is endless.

I decided to fill in my “I am ___.”

I am: a successful writer. I am: a loved yoga teacher. I am: financially abundant.

I am: powerful. I am: A connector. I am: healthy. I am: well.

Last week Frank helped me realize how I was speeding through life, and that has helped me stay not present.

In fact, I got a speeding ticket on my way to his house. 

It wasn’t fun, to be honest. I cried.

He also helped me get clear on how my hearing loss, “my not being able to hear” was related to my “not being able to be here.”

I hope this doesn’t sound too airy-fairy, too woo-woo.

But the reality is: I don’t care if it does.

I am: someone who is independent of the good opinion of other people. (Thanks Wayne Dyer for that gem!)

Is my migraine gone? Mostly. I wouldn’t be able to write if it was fully with me. There is enough of a remnant, though, for me to remember who I am.

Enough of a subtle pulsing and slight nausea to have me stop and take a breath. To have me pause and ask myself: 

“Do I want to say yes to this next thing?”

Because the truth is: I get to choose.

Somewhere along the line I forgot that I get to choose.

I thought I was someone who'd always be broke and who'd always have to say yes to any job that came my way.

I forgot that I am worth it, and I get to take care of myself, especially when I am not feeling well. Especially when I am laying in a dark cell with ice over my face. 

Keep going, don’t stop, keep pushing, it’s never enough.

These mantras are broken and no longer serve me, so I am throwing them away with my migraine if you don’t mind.

I would love to hear what your mantra is. Just who do you think you are? Post below.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Jen Pastiloff is a writer living on an airplane. She travels the world with her signature Manifestation Yoga: On Being Human workshop/retreat. Featured in New York Magazine, Oprah.com & Good Morning America and published on Salon, Jezebel, The Rumpus, xojane, among others. Next retreat with availability: Labor Day in Ojai, Calif. Attend a workshop in your city by visiting jenniferpastiloff.com. Upcoming: Seattle, Los Angeles & London & Dallas.

Visit Jen's blog The Manifest-Station. On Facebook, Twitter & Instagram both at @jenpastiloff .

She & author Emily Rapp's Vermont writing retreat Oct 2014.

Jen is The Inspiration & Wellness expert for the new magazine Reimagine. Next up is Seattle in May.

All workshops listed here. The Manifestation Yoga® Workshop is an experience about life: unpredictable, sometimes messy, beautiful, human. Jen is currently finishing her first book, a memoir.

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