The third commandment of my Happiness Project is "Be Present - Say Yes." I referred to this idea in a previous blog post. However, let me reiterate what "saying yes" means to me.
You see, I tend to say no. A. Lot. Usually, I direct my nos at my husband.
This man is incredible—and spontaneous. He is entirely for "stealing time" whenever and however we can. For example, if an unexpected errand comes up—such as picking up spare parts for a vehicle (romantic huh?)—he will often exclaim: "Wanna come with? We can grab a bite to eat first."
We live twenty-two miles from the outmost edge of town. A trip into town means a minimum of one hour in the car. Alone. Time to catch up, talk, and just enjoy being together.
In the not too far distant past, I would most often say no.
Why Say No?
Well, I said no because:
The problems with the—terrible—philosophy of saying no are many. The obstacle which stands out most to me is this: we do not get a redo in life.
Time—like sands in an hourglass—goes away. Except, unlike an hourglass, we don't get to flip life over for more time. Once passed, time is gone for good.
In my defense, I used to be spontaneous and quite fun; then I became a mom. That's no excuse I get it. However, that's my story. In the course of taking care of little people, I neglected to take care of myself. I forgot how to break loose and seize the moment. I became too analytical and apparently, humdrum.
The thing is "mundane" did not make me happy, nor did it feed my soul. While embarking on my Happiness Project, I resolved I no longer wanted to make excuses and say no to everything.
Instead, I determined it was high time I lived!
Therefore, my commandment became to say yes!
The Power of Yes
How has saying yes worked out for me so far?
It has been wonderful!
Saying yes makes me feel alive. I am having fun, living fully in the present.
I smile more.
I laugh more.
I make beautiful memories.
I have rediscovered my "joie de vivre" (fancy French vocabulary meaning enjoyment of life).
Saying yes is intoxicating and powerful and amazing. In a strange and unexpected paradox, yes has also made saying no more powerful.
I know, this last statement will need additional explaining.
In addition to saying no to my husband, I would also say yes when I wanted to say no. Most often, this was done out of obligation or guilt (two crummy reasons).
I didn't like this aspect of myself. Nevertheless, I was often too cowardly to say no when no was exactly what I wanted to say. Later, I would kick myself for doing so and on occasion, even grumble about it.
The funny thing is now I am committed to saying yes, I don't always do so. There are certain times when no needs to be said.
The difference between "then and now" is, I genuinely ponder my answer before responding. I take the time to listen to myself. Allow me to expound.
If someone asks a question, whatever the inquiry may be, I have multiple choices.
Finding My Voice
Living and abiding by my commandment has made me more conscious of myself as well others. Being wholehearted—as well as present—has helped me to fulfill my first commandment of "be Florence."
I am finding my voice.
I am learning to live the authentic life I have so desired.
There is beauty in both yes and no when either answer is birthed from awareness rather than fear, guilt (or worse shame), auto-pilot, the mundane, or lack of attention.
I never expected to learn this empowering lesson from a three letter word, and yet, I did.
So far this Happiness Journey has been such a marvelous blessing.
I am looking forward to more unexpected lessons.