Did you ever see that movie with Jim Carrey, ‘Yes Man’? Carrey’s character, Carl Allen, had a perpetually negative attitude so his life became stagnant, limited and seemingly joyless. After going to a self-help seminar he learns to say Yes to life and all the offerings it brings his way. Living in this affirmative way transforms Carl’s gloomy world, finding him-amongst many humorous and thrilling experiences- new romance and a job promotion.
I love what Carrey says about the movie in this review …
“I’ve been that guy. I know a lot of people who are in that situation where they just avoid life. I live in the United States of Avoidance. To me, this is a movie about choosing to join life, and that’s what drew me to it. Sometimes saying no is saying yes to something else, to something greater that will come your way. And sometimes saying no to an invitation is saying yes to a couch and some potato chips. Just do what’s right for you. But it’s usually not the things we say yes to that we regret; it’s when we say no that we look back and think, ‘Ah, I could have lived a little bit more.”
I’m finding as I age, I’m more of a selective Yes Lady. I used to be game for anything, which sometimes led to self-inflicted suffering. Yet every impulsive Yes I’ve said has eventually preceded inner growth and clarity about who I am and what I can offer. I’ve led such a rich life, even at the tender of age of 34, because I’ve said Yes to new experiences, Yes to fear, Yes to the unknown. And, as Carrey says, I don’t regret the things I’ve done. But I would have regretted opportunities not taken.
Having gone through 3 major moves in the last 2 years- from Germany to England, from there to Fort Lauderdale and from Fort Lauderdale to central Florida- I’ve been required to say Yes a lot. Yes to pushing past my comfort zone, to starting new activities, to accepting coffee dates when I’m emotionally tired. Yes to nigh daily exposure to the new. After being the Yes new girl for 2 years I’ve momentarily halted all the yes’s to expand my community sphere anymore. This summer I’m going back home to the UK to reset and then I’m sure I’ll be back in August, full of renewed rigor, gusto and an intention to further my horizons with the reemployment of Yes again.
So therefore at present I feel as though I’m treading water, which is no bad thing temporarily. I meet the same faces most days, visit the same places and have, in large, the same sort of experiences. Do you, similarly, find yourself on a metaphoric hamster wheel?
Living in this state for too long, I’m beginning to see, can severely disable your life: Funk it up, you could say:-) How is Life meant to gift you with new blessings if you’re not available to receive them? It reminds me of what spiritual teacher, Mike Dooley, teaches. To paraphrase, he says there are many people who sit at home and diligently create a vision board, affirm what they want from life and visualize it, which is great. Yet you can’t just stare at a bunch of pictures of what you want and expect a knock at the door to find your white-horsed Prince waiting for you on the doorstep. No, you have to help Life help you.
By accepting life’s frequent invitations to get out and play you dramatically increase Life’s ability to leverage good things to you. Holed up in your house may appease your sense of comfort but it gives Life no room to maneuver the people and circumstances into your life that you say it is you desire.
Mike Dooley encourages us to do something, even if we’re not sure it’s our destiny, or aligned with what we think we want from life. Maybe we sense we should accept that invitation for a reason.
Being an outgoing yet highly sensitive person I covet some quiet, introspective time, as well as social. Yet as author of ‘The Highly Sensitive Person,’ Elaine Aron, PhD says, its often when we coerce our reluctant selves to go to that party or accept an invitation that we wind up meeting a lifelong friend, business partner or romantic interest. Think of the special people in your life today. Where did you meet?
In the past I’ve felt an inner nudge to go to that dinner or attend a seminar and occasionally I’ve not really enjoyed it BUT I’ve ‘just happened’ to meet someone there who I knew would become an integral and beloved part of my life. And indeed they have.
Beware of when you catch yourself saying things like, ‘that’s just the way I’ve always been’ or refusing a food type because of some long-ago shadowy childhood memory. Every refusal is limiting, and could be stripping you of potential new, vibrant relations with joy.
Trust yourself to invite new experiences into your life, especially those that you feel an inner nudge to say Yes to. You could start small by perhaps:-
1) Trying something unusual on at the clothes store, perhaps a brand new style or color.
2) If you read only non-fiction, try a fiction book, or vice versa.
3) Listening to a new music genre
4) Picking up a new fruit or vegetable to tantalize your taste buds.
5) Doing a creative craft you’ve not thought about doing before. Check in with your local art shop for classes. Or perhaps encourage a friend to try that exhilarating sounding class with you, maybe belly-dancing, tai chi or zumba.
Remember not only does this make you available for a lot of fun, it reminds you how adept you are to embrace entirely new things. Furthermore you’ve created this gorgeous amount of space for Life to work with; now it can start to pour in the people that you need to meet, the conversations that you need to have and the experiences that will make you richer and stronger.
My initials, pre-marriage, were YES. Yvette Eleanor Scott. I love what author Jarod Kintz says about this, “If my initials were Y.E.S., I’d probably go around smiling all the time.” Yea, I would do well to remember the meaning of my birthed, intended name. Perhaps its a clue for how I should live my life.
Yes says I’m here, Life! Include me! Too many No’s pulls down the shutters on life outside and turns off the lights. How can life penetrate this self-inflicted prison?
Saying Yes can be scary. It often accompanies tummy butterflies, jittery thoughts and clammy palms. But life has oftentimes reminded me that the good stuff is on the other side of fear. Rarely is anything worth having easily gained.
How has saying Yes in the past impacted your life? How could this powerful acceptance change your future? As always I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.
Here’s to a Yes Day!
Namaste, Bright Siders.