Before you say yes…
Before you say yes to life you will instinctively want to say no (unless you’ve trained your brain to say yes, which, let’s face it most of us haven’t learned to do yet). Fear will cozy up under your arm claiming to be your best friend while whispering into your ear all the reasons why yes is a bad idea:
You’re going to look stupid.
Everyone will laugh.
You will not live this down.
You will most certainly fail.
Who exactly do you think you are to pull this off?
Who told you you were capable of such remarkable things?
(Some friend, huh?)
And you know what? Fear isn’t entirely wrong. You may fail. You may look stupid. You may not live this down. Or not.
When you say yes fear can’t stay
See, fear can’t be your friend if you say yes. When you say yes it gets left behind. And no one wants to get left behind. So it begs. And grovels. And
convinces tries to convince. Because actually, even if you do look stupid, even if everyone laughs, even if you fail, you absolutely can and will live this down. So don’t be fooled. Just say yes, with fear whispering in your ear and doubt sitting in your lap.
Because here’s what happens when you say yes. Fear can’t stay. Fear must go, and take doubt with it. Make no mistake. You do not suddenly become brave. You do not suddenly become an indomitable warrior. Because fear will still be close (maybe not in your ear or under your arm, but close enough to still matter, close enough that when it shouts from a safe distance you will still hear it). When you say yes you will still have to work on silencing that voice and zoning it out.
When you say yes there will be loss
When you say yes you will lose people. You will also lose sleep. And things. Lots of things. You will lose your crazy misconceptions and preconceived notions of what your life should be. You will lose things that you never really valued but other people valued them so you kept them around to validate your place in the world. Though, to be fair, if they never really mattered, are you truly losing them? I’m not entirely sure but I vote no (in case there’s someone tallying votes). Nevertheless, it’s ok to light a bonfire and say a little prayer for all these things you have now lost to yes. I promise, what’s on the other side will be greater.
When you say yes they will call you crazy
When you say yes people will think you’re crazy. Did I say that already? I feel like I did. Anywho, if I did that’s because it bears repeating. If I didn’t, oh well. This is a very lightly edited piece so it’s too far gone to delete. As I was saying, people will think you’re crazy. Do you know why people will think you’re crazy? Because for some strange reason – I don’t think scientists have figured it out yet (if they have, can someone drop me a line?) – anything we humans don’t understand we call it crazy or stupid. What’s worse, we fear it and demonize it. And you know what us humans don’t understand? People who don’t think or act like us. True story. There’s actual data to back this up.
When you have the audacity to ask for a raise in an office of satisfied employees (sometimes they’re not even satisfied but they’re too coward to ask for what they deserve), quit your high paying corporate job to become a freelancing creative or entrepreneur, stay single despite having multiple ‘well to do’ suitors because you can’t find someone who speaks your language and shares your values, enjoy something taboo as a pass time, publish a book without a letter behind your name or the backing of a publishing house where no one else would, that my friend makes you certifiably insane. I didn’t say it. People did. They call that kind of thing crazy.
But if you ask me, crazy is good. At least, it’s ok. As long as you don’t take them too seriously when they call you crazy, as long as you don’t lose sleep over it, you’ll be fine.
When you say yes you will be free
Want to know what else happens when you say yes? You feel lighter. And heavier. There’s this strange mix of fluttering and tremors – you feel brave and crazy and stupid and fearless all at once. But don’t despair. Ride it out. Remember why you needed to say yes, and hold on to that. That’s what will take you through.
And here is the absolute best thing about saying yes. Freedom. I know you think you’re free now, what with stuff like access to food, security, healthcare, the right to vote, freedom from oppression yada yada yada… Don’t get me wrong. Those freedoms absolutely matter, mainly because without them there is no saying yes to anything. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about getting to do whatever your wild heart can conjure up. That kind of freedom. Freedom from censorship in your crazy outlandish thoughts. I’m talking about the freedom to choose to live the life of your dreams, the life that sets your soul on fire when you picture it.
Saying yes gives you that. It also gives you peace. Peace of mind for having chosen to be true to you.
Contentment. The kind people who haven’t said yes will never understand. The kind that causes you to fall asleep grinning because the day you’ve had despite its challenges feels like you were exactly where you were supposed to be doing exactly what you were born to do. And that’s epic stuff. Don’t believe me? Say yes and see.
So what are you waiting for? What marvelous, outlandish, crazy, scary thing have you been dreaming of saying yes to? Why haven’t you? Gather your thoughts and join me by the comments section. I want to hear all about it.
**In case you were wondering (and even if you weren’t I’m still going to tell you) this post was inspired by my reading (or should I say listening) of Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes.
If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and give it a read.