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The Integrity of Your Yes and No

Yes and No.  They are two of the first words we learn and they are simple and complete.  Wow, do we complicate them, though.

When do you…

Say Yes and do Yes. This is what most people think you mean when you say Yes.  They think that you will actually do what you say, when you say it and how you say that you’ll do it.  Yes means Yes.  When we say Yes and do yes people trust us and we trust ourselves.  We act in integrity.

Say Yes and do No. Sometimes we say Yes but do No.  We don’t do what we say.  There are so many things that this could mean.  It could mean that we meant to do what we said, but something got in the way and we have a really good excuse for not doing what we said we’d do.  It could be that we said Yes only because we thought that was the “right” thing to say and that we tried to talk ourselves into doing yes but just couldn’t.  We might resent the other person for asking – this is a big clue that we are saying yes when we mean no.  We might feel guilty – which is  a clue that we actually wanted to do yes but didn’t.  Normally, we are betraying ourselves or others in this situation.  The result is that people stop trusting you and/or you stop trusting yourself to do what you say you will do.

Say No and do No. Gosh this seems like a simple idea, right?  It is truly liberating to say No, mean No and do No.  Some of us have a hard time with this one.  Try it on.  No is a complete sentence.  You do not need a reason or an excuse to say No.  You do not need to justify your No.  If you feel like it lands too hard to just say No, try adding Thank you. No, thank you. Simple.  Complete.  People actually trust you and you begin to trust yourself when you say No and do No – when your No has integrity.

Say No and do Yes. This one is messed up and all too common.  We say No and then we give in and do Yes. Generally, we feel guilty or we get talked into something or we are afraid that people won’t like us/love us if we stick to our No.  The problem is that when we do this, we train other people not to respect our No.  We lose other’s respect and our self respect.  If you’re going to do Yes, say Yes.  If you’re going to do No, say No – and practice exercising your boundaries.

Exercises:

  1. Say No when you mean No at least 3 times a day all week and stick to it.
  2. Pause before you say Yes and make sure you mean it.
  3. Notice when you say No, but do Yes and get curious about what is going on.
  4. Notice when you say Yes, but do No and get curious about what is going on.
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Carrie Kish

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  • Yes/No
    Taking on saying NO has become a new practice for me recently and i have mostly given up the looking good/bad thought about it, although once in a while i act yes – and it is always about feeling bad that i said no or wanting to “help” – who am i helping?
    great questions

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