There are an infinite number of reasons to say no. Instead, try to focus on one good reason to say yes.
If you were able to observe your inner critic , you would have noticed the many “no’s” she says. “No, you don’t have a clue about raising children”, “Yes, but you cannot cook well”. “I don’t agree with what he’s saying”, ah the endless list.
You may have observed that this habitual oppositional stance can take the form of thoughts, body language (tensing shoulders, arms crossed), or speech(“that’s a stupid thing to do”) and action (shaking the head, rolling the eyes, ignoring our kids requests, or when someone else is talking).
Many of us feel that it is hard to be compassionate with that inner critic. We get so keyed by her narrative. Many times we become driven by her to succeed, to conquer and to overcome too. At other times, we color our perception with her words and pick fights with those we love.
It is stunning to find that we say so many no’s to ourselves in our daily life.
Several of the judgemental dialogues playing in our minds are often so unimportant and only serve to increase our distress and suffering of those around us.
So here is the most challenging and gratifying exercise. It is a two day practice, because it is SO important and POWERFUL.
Just for today (and tomorrow) say yes to everyone and everything that happens. When you notice the impulse to say “no” consider whether it is really necessary.
Could you instead just nod? Or perhaps just be quiet or silent?
Whenever it is not dangerous to others and yourself agree with others and with what is happening in your life.
Just observe your reactions to saying Yes.
What does your inner critic say? Take your journal out at some point in the day and quickly jot down your observations when you say YES.
Just say YES. Observe when you cannot.
To help you in the practice, place reminders all around you to help you remember to say yes. It could be that you write “YES” on sticky notes and place them everywhere around your home/work or you could just place an ! or a dot on your hand, your fridge, on sticky notes to remind you to come back to saying YES.