What everyone needs to know about the value of "NO!"
Have there been times in your life when you’re doing too many things out of a sense of duty only to find yourself over-burdened by the complexity of the juggling act you are performing? Or perhaps someone else you know springs to mind?
Rather than be able to take these responsibilities in your stride and gain some fulfilment from them, there's a point where it all becomes too much. Big chunks of life are consumed in this way if you’re not careful. Don't I just know it!
Tangled up in blue
I went through a period like this once that lasted for five years. I became very adept at putting my significant other's needs ahead of my own in order to maintain the status quo while my owns lay languishing. Why? Because I was afraid of the uproar that would ensue if I didn’t - and the consequences of it. It’s a weak reason I know but I didn’t know any better at the time and I was enslaved to the situation. I kept myself busy so I didn’t have to face up to the fact I was being emotionally bullied and manipulated, trapped in a classically co-dependent relationship. This realisation had not escaped my body however.
I suffered from insomnia. I got run down and regularly picked up colds, verrucae, fungal toe infection – all signs that my immune system was depleted. As I became increasingly dis-empowered by the situation, my confidence sank to an all-time low and my self-esteem plummeted; I no longer had a sense of who I was or where my real strengths lay.
Why illness is the consequence not the cause
Medical studies have shown that when we suppress a “no” in favour of a “yes”, we go against ourselves and this is a form of self-attack.
One of my teachers, Anna Halprin, an experimental dance-movement pioneer, discovered this while working with HIV/AIDS patients.
With their immune system compromised by HIV, their body was not able to defend itself sufficiently from infection and she found how difficult it was for them to say “no” in other areas of their life.
She worked with patients using therapeutic dance-movement to strengthen their boundaries and help them express a clear “NO” and a convincing “YES”, with every fibre of their being.
This helped them to manage and sometimes reduce the number of infections they caught.
Stepping of the merry-go-round
That’s why I enjoy so much to help people find their genuine “YES” – their real passions, desires and motivations.
When I was caught up in the web of co-dependence, the biggest obstacle was my logical left-brain. It controlled my thinking and provided me with all the rationalisation and justification I needed for sticking with the status quo.
I needed to find a way to by-pass this voice and create space in my body-mind so that a deeper, more wholesome wisdom could get through. This proved difficult when my constant immersion in the detrimental situation prevented me from having access to an alternative viewpoint - so I kept going around in circles. Now I'm able to recommend people find a moment to step off this merry-go-round by attending one of my workshops or retreats, which would have helped me greatly had I been able to do so.
When you take time for yourself along with a suitable guide what it is you need for your sanity and vitality comes sharply into focus. I use reflective, creative enquiry to help you identify the people, places, and activities for you to welcome in with a resounding “YES”. With this awareness it will become even clearer when you need to say “NO” as well.
You won’t find this clarity while you continue to drill away at the coalface. You’re much more likely to keep on drilling as I did and end up dead on your feet - and we don't want that.
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