How to Say “Yes”

Just say No! That’s what we’re taught. We need boundaries, constraints, limits, etc. And the all important, say “no” to bad things like drugs and anything illegal.

We’re not really taught how to say yes because social decorum sometimes dictates that we should say “No” when we mean “Yes” or that a “Maybe” is a “No”. It gets confusing and I want to clear up one big distinction about Yes and No.

When somebody says No to me, I take their No at a face value, no matter what society has taught me. I take the “No” as a “No”

It’s important to make the distinction between how we interpret someone’s Yes and No and how we communicate our Yes and No. Our responsibility does not include extracting any other sort of meaning from someone else’s Yes, No or Maybe. A “no” is a “no” and a “yes” is a “yes”.

Someone else’s No is a No; a Yes, a Yes; and a Maybe, a Maybe. Our only responsibility then becomes to clarify the Yes and No in ourselves.

So how we clarify it when we’re not taught this? Well, let’s talk about how we say No. A lot of the times we are taught to say No to something. Like No to sugar or social media.

Saying “no” becomes outside of us. The sugar, social media all things we need to control and manage and all those exist outside of us. This can be misleading because what we’re saying “no” to is false and conflates the “yes” as well.

When we say No to social media what we need to remember is that social media is the external No and the internal Yes is what we need to make more clear. For me, social media serves as a distraction and even when I say No to it, I find other ways to distract myself from the task in front of me.

And then, what I’m saying Yes to is actually the distraction, whether that’s in the form of social media or something else. The No then becomes the task in front of me that needs to get done.

Whenever we don’t clarify the internal Yes in our decisions the No then becomes muddled in an attempt to control and manage external things in our lives. And trying to control things like sugar or social media can make what we’re trying to achieve frustrating.

Next time you want to say No to something see what the Yes is in that No and from there you can figure out your next course of action to what you say No and Yes to in our life.

I talk more about my battle with social media and saying No to it in podcast episode 15 How to Say “Yes”.