Every time you say 'yes' it's a 'no' somewhere else

It’s almost second nature to respond to most offers with a resounding, "Yes". We’re meant to seize the day and make the most of our time on earth, and we live in a social media culture that can cause even the most stoic to have a fear of missing out.


The way we ask questions encourages us to say yes now and not later – "While stocks last", "This is almost sold-out", "What are you waiting for?" This plays on the brain’s relationship with scarcity – we’re hard-wired to go after things which might become scarce in the future.

We frame our inquiries, seeking that affirmative response: "Would you fancy another cup of coffee?", "Do you want to join me for dinner?", "Can you lend a hand with my move next week?", "Would it be alright if I asked you something personal?" , "Is your affection for me genuine?" This societal pressure to default to "Yes," often leaves us feeling somewhat stuck, weighed down by guilt, or frustrated.

Yet, amidst of all the "Yes's," "No" emerges as a powerful word when we find the courage to use it.

While it's still crucial to know what we genuinely want to say "Yes" to, it's equally, if not more important, to recognise when to assert a firm "No." The key is understanding what truly matters to us. 'Yes' and 'No' both have their place and significance, but they can lead to vastly different outcomes.

Responding with a "Yes" when we mean "No" can lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, confusion, and dissatisfaction. So, how do we navigate this intricate web of responses?

How to figure out the right answer 

The initial step in figuring out the right answer is engaging in some introspection and determining what truly matters to us. This can be as simple as taking a moment to slow down, paying attention to our physical sensations, and allowing them to unfold without interference. As we relax and tune into our inner wisdom, we can pose questions about different aspects of our lives and observe our body's response. Does it fill us with energy and enthusiasm, or does it leave us feeling depleted and drained? One of these reactions corresponds to "Yes," and the other aligns with "No" in response to the question. Generally, the response that ignites the most vitality within us is the one that resonates most with our core values. It's just a matter of recognising this response and, in turn, the answer.

Putting it into practice

Armed with our list of "Yes" and "No" choices, the next challenge is how to put this newfound knowledge into practice. It may sound easier in theory than in practice, but it boils down to a simple principle: honesty. Are we willing to be honest, first with ourselves and then with others? This initial step can be the most challenging, yet it's also the most liberating.

Start by experimenting with the "No" response in less significant situations. Perhaps it could be as straightforward as responding to a question like, "Would you like more coffee?" Observe the contentment and fulfilment that comes with expressing an honest response or simply saying the word "No." Find those moments where you can confidently apply this response, empowering yourself in the process. Notice how your body and spirit come to life as you experiment with new questions and opportunities.

Once you're comfortable with the basics, the more challenging part comes into play: how to retract a previously given "Yes." Though it might be uncomfortable, the technique remains the same – honesty. When you communicate honestly, remember to convey your message with patience, compassion, and understanding. Understand that you are essentially amending a prior communication. Avoid allowing guilt or shame to colour your message. Clearly express your decision and the realisation leading to the change in response.

With openness and candour, we can all communicate from the depths of our hearts, revealing what is genuinely a "Yes" and what is unequivocally a "No." Over time, this process becomes more natural, and the need for self-correction diminishes.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW1V & NW1
Written by Rebecca Cockayne, BA. (Oxon), MSc, GDL | Delphi Coaching
London SW1V & NW1

Bex is a coach who loves journeys. She's done a lot and has been on many internal and external ones. She loves to help people long their path too.


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