The only word that opens space for healthy living...
It was toward the end of a client call last week when we began talking about the importance of opening up space to thrive instead of survive.
High performers, the highly sensitive, the empathetic and compassionate, we are all very good at filling our lives with obligations instead of choices. We are good at sacrificing ourselves, or wearing our endurance as a badge of honor, or problem-solving our way into feeling accepted.
I'm encouraged when I hear clients tell me that they are starting to get angry about living this way. To me, anger is a step in the right direction because it's the first signal we get that this is actually unacceptable. That we are being pushed to take a stand for ourselves.
In my work, lifestyle change is the lens that brings clearly into focus all the ways that we are compromising ourselves. Because choosing food that sustains rather than depletes us, moving our bodies in a way that brings us joy, hell, even beginning to experience joy on a regular basis, feels extraordinary. And once we taste that, we don't want to give it up. We want to choose more of it.
But it requires saying a word that most associate with selfishness, discomfort, and try to avoid saying at all costs.
No is the new magic word. No opens up space and possibilities. It starts quite simply. Saying no to the pizza. Saying no to another night of working late and missing sleep. No to giving up your workout for the late meeting. Then it builds into bigger and bigger NO's.
NO to the guy at work that always dumps his responsibilities on you at the last minute.
NO to the client that pays late and drains you.
NO to the vacation you really don't want to take.
It can be quite dangerous really, if you are trying to hold on to a comfortable state. It can spark arguments and create disruption as the people around you adjust to relating to you in a new way. And it can feel terrifying. In fact, you may find that you say things more harshly than necessary simply because you are so unaccustomed to turning anyone or anything down. It's ok. Apologize if needed, but don't change your stance.
There is no evolution without no. And there is no faster way to elevate your experience, work, business, relationships, lifestyle, compassion, happiness, than to live in greater alignment with what you desire and what truly serves your best self.