Just Say Yes (But Sometimes You Should Really Say No)

"Just Say Yes" — that's the title of a Snow Patrol song I love and have on several running mixes. I also find myself listening to it on the way to the yoga studio. The concept is so simple and lovely: Just say yes. Stop sabotaging the outcome of a situation with doubt and negativity. Stop listing all of the reasons why something would not work or you shouldn't do it. Stop letting your fear hold you back from happiness. Just say yes.

My favorite lyrics are: "Just say yes. Just say there's nothing holding you back. Not a test. Not a trick of the mind, only love."

The song pumps me up and reminds me to keep my heart open. Say YES to happiness. Say YES to following your dreams. Say YES to being healthy. Say YES to love. Say YES to possibility.

As a yogi, I practice asana for a variety of reasons. A huge part of why I practice is because it opens my heart to possibility. It reminds me to just say yes. We often need to be reminded to say yes, to be open to new things and to connect with new people. We need to give things a chance.

However, as much as it's important to know when we should say yes, it's just as important to know when to say no. To realize, "No, I can't commit to that, as I've already stretched myself too thin." To think, "No, this would only jeopardize my career." To honor that "no" is acceptable if "yes" is going to bring you down. That “no” is often the right answer and reminds us to respect ourselves, our values, and our intuition.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when deciding if “yes” or “no” is appropriate:

1. Am I listening to my instincts?

Your initial gut reaction is probably correct. Anything that gives you an automatic ick feeling is probably a "no" and likewise anything that has an immediate reaction of excitement is probably a "yes."

2. Does the thought of it make you smile?

Will you still be smiling once it's over? If so, this is probably a "yes" and it doesn't really matter how anyone else views it, because it makes you happy. You never need to justify your reason for “yes” if it’s right for you.

3. Are you saying "no" because you truly shouldn't do something, or is it out of fear?

If it's out of fear, you may want to consider trying it out and changing your "no" to a "yes." What's the worst that can happen?

By fear, I mean the fear of something new, not an actual fear for your safety or wellbeing. In that case, definitely go with the "no."

4. Are you making the best decision for the situation you're in right NOW?

No matter “yes” or “no,” you need to make the decision that makes the most sense to you in this circumstance, however big or small.

So you're exhausted and decide to go take a nap instead of hitting the gym. That's fine. It’s what you need most in this situation. You decide not to take a job offer because it isn't the right time in your life to move across the country right now. Totally acceptable. Realize that it's the best answer for you at this time and remember that fact down the road if you look back and question yourself.

Sometimes we hate to say no because we don’t want to disappoint others. We think saying yes will make us better friends, colleagues, sisters, brothers, teachers, parents, citizens, etc. This isn’t always the case. It's important to remember saying "no" to others is often saying "yes" to yourself, and it’s always good to just say yes to YOU.

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