Embracing Yes - Lessons from My Son
The other day my three-year-old asked if we could go to the beach in the morning
"I think that would be lots'o'fun" he said.
"I'm sure it would be, but you have preschool tomorrow," I replied.
And he looked at me, like, you do realise you can do more than one thing a day, don’t you. “That would be fun,” he said again.
And in a brief moment, even though I had around twenty reasons why it probably wasn't the best idea, I saw it like him. It would be fun.
That would be a fun thing to do.
Full stop. The end. Enough of a reason.
Even though we would get back late, even though we’d only be able to be there for less than an hour before it got dark. Even though I was tired. It would be fun. Surely that trumped any other reasons I could provide.
Small children don’t have responsibilities, they don’t need to worry about dinner, about bedtimes and driving on the highway in the dark. Through that freedom, they are drawn effortlessly towards experiences of joy.
While I’m definitely not advocating the complete abandonment of reason and consequences or letting a toddler run the house, it can be liberating to embrace an unrestrained “YES” attitude to life regularly. To be spontaneous and do things for the sake of it.
The road of ease vs the road to adventure
There’s always going to be reasons not to do something. We as people naturally follow the path of least resistance. When we’re tired, burnt out or just feeling blah then we darn right cling to it.
But the path of least resistance is not the path of most fun. It's not leading us to joy or presence or experiences that become cherished memories.
We are busy, and so many things need doing and thinking about. There’s a never-ending list of tasks, and things to get finished. The trouble is we end up spending most of our time in the future, thinking about what we need to do, rather than paying attention to right now.
When we operate from the automatic ‘no, I’m too busy for that’’ then we miss out on so many things.
How to embrace yes
Where do you even begin to bring in more yes? How could you possibly do even more things? I get it. When you’re run off your feet then even fun things can seem a lot like more work.
But have you noticed how most of the things we say no to are the fun things? We say yes all the time to crappy things we don’t want to do. Things we think we have to do. Then no to things like spending time with friends, self-care, being spontaneous.
If I had of said no then I would have missed out on an amazing afternoon. The weather was incredible, the sunset was beautiful and I saw a stingray! (then quickly ran out of the water).
Ridiculously I almost missed out a second time when my toddler asked to go to the waves (a couple of mintues walk away). I initially said we had to go back to the car because the sun was setting. He suggested we run very fast! and that ended up being my favourite part of the day, running towards the waves, holding his hand in the pink/purple sunset light.
For the next few days pay attention. Watch for that automatic no that comes out. Even if you still stick to it pay attention. Could you have said yes? Was the reason you said no that it just sounded like too much effort?
I want to clarify it’s fine to say no for no reason other than you don't want to. It’s fine if the reason is you’re tired or have too much going on. None of this is trying to increase guilt or pressure you into doing things you're uncomfortable with.
Just watch out for the no’s that are automatic and come from habit.
Do you feel like you say no to much because it's easier or just habit? Or are you the opposite and feel like you're too spontaneous and impulsive? Let me know in the comments. And if you want, sign up for the newsletter and join our club.