Learning How To Say Yes

Did you read the title of this post and do a double-take? Did you wrinkle up your nose and make that pfffft! noise while thinking to yourself, “That’s not me, I need to learn how to say no!” Trust me, this post is for you too. I’m talking here about learning to say Yes for yourself.

A few years ago I was sitting on my couch on a Friday night lonely and bored. I got a call around 10pm from a friend who asked if I wanted to go out. Ugh…that meant getting off the couch, getting dressed, making myself presentable and driving to the other side of town when it was already late. I said no. I then spent the rest of the night wondering what I had missed out on; at the very least I missed the opportunity to spend time with a friend I didn’t see very often. Why did I do that?

I began to examine my motives as these situations came up during the next few months. I realized that I said no quite a lot. The reasons why usually came down to two things: one, that I was just lazy, and two, that I was afraid. Afraid of what? Well, mostly it was just fear of an unfamiliar situation. It makes me uncomfortable to be placed in a situation where I might appear foolish or become embarrassed. This is a terrible excuse! It has prevented me from having a lifetime full of interesting memories and adventure. I have taken the safe path my entire life and it always made me sad to be unable to participate in telling those unique stories all my friends had.

January came around and I decided that my resolution would be to say yes more often. When that friend called again late on a weekend, absolutely I want to go, I’ll be there in 20 minutes! Do I want to run a 5k where you get dirty and messy? Sure thing, I’ll start training right away! Any situation where my immediate reaction would be to say No, I would pause and think about the reason. Will I benefit from sitting on my ass? No, definitely not. Will I be in imminent danger? No, unlikely. Might I have an awesome time and learn something new? Yes, probably!

I am just learning to seize all the opportunities life has to offer and you know what? I’ve packed more memories into the past couple years than I had in the entire previous decade! I have also found that the more you conquer these small trials, the more confident you become and the easier it is to say yes.

What will you say yes to today?

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