The Most Misused Words In Our Language Today

The words yes and no are two extremely powerful words that are capable of evoking strong feelings, emotions and can even be life changing when used at the right time.

These two powerful words are also two of the most misused words in our language today. Do you have a case of yes and no confusion? Here’s how you can you if you do.

Let’s start with the word “Yes.”

Consider all of all the times you’ve said yes to an extra task, project, activity, commitment or responsibility when you were already overextended. Maybe you said yes when you were asked to stay late at work, help a friend complete a project or take on a task you could have delegated to someone else. Although your intentions were honorable, consider why you added to your overwhelm and said yes…yet again.

We say yes to additional commitments for many reasons. Maybe we want to feel part of the group, like a “team player,” we want to feel like we’re contributing, helping and giving. Sometimes we say yes because it makes us feel needed, valuable or we feel “it’s the right thing to do.” Sometimes we say yes because we feel it’s the only solution to getting the job done quickly and effectively. Sometimes we say yes because we think that saying yes means we’re being…nice.

Now, here’s something to think about…

When we’re already overscheduled and overwhelmed, there’s a good chance we’ve neglected our own self-care. With these extra responsibilities, there’s even less time a workout, a pre-planned healthy meal, that overdue haircut, or an extra hour of needed sleep. Taking on another project almost ensures that taking care of ourselves gets pushed even further down on our list of priorities.

We may resent the new responsibilities we’ve just taken on (or person who asked us to do them), as we wish we had a few minutes to knock a few items off our “to do lists,” reconnect with our partners, snuggle with our children or even find 15 minutes to catch our breath. Instead of taking the time to recover from our day, rejuvenate and replenish ourselves, we deplete ourselves even further as we convince ourselves that a healthy, balanced lifestyle is out of our reach.

When we take a look at what’s truly important to us, what it is that we value, often we find that spending time friends, family and taking better care of ourselves makes up a good part of that list. Yet, when we say yes to things that pull us further away from these values, we pull ourselves away from creating a lifestyle that could make us feel satisfied, healthy, happy and complete.

Yes… it is difficult to say no when you’re expected to take on a task. The minute the person asking is waiting for your reply may feel like an eternity when they realize their usual “go to person” has just turned down their request. At this time, remember two things. One, you turned down their request, not them. Two, while that minute may be painful, the freedom you’ve secured to stay true to your priorities lasts much longer.

Learning to stop saying an easy yes allows us to stay true to what makes life meaningful. It gives us an opportunity to stop the whirlwind of activity long enough to consider what’s driving our need to continuously say yes.

Could it be an issue of self-esteem, self-love, self-worth or fear? Could it be the result of habit, conditioning or a simple automatic response? It can be all of these. The key is to discover what’s motivating you to do what you do and if it’s no longer in line with the lifestyle you’d like to create, stop “yesing” and start discovering what you need to create a life filled with joy, passion and purpose.

Now… let’s look at the word “No.”

Think of how often you may have said no to a new adventure, opportunity, possibility or situation. Think of a time when you could have been a part of an exciting experience, a rewarding relationship or a new direction.

Maybe it was an opportunity to learn and grow where you were asked to leave your comfort zone to pursue a dream or goal. Maybe it was a trip to a fabulous place or something that piqued your interest for a fleeting moment in time. Maybe it was an unexpected opportunity that required you to make a spontaneous decision.

It could have been a fleeting moment where you wanted to say yes or it may still be an idea sitting on the back burner of your mind desperately trying to get your attention. You thought about it, may still be thinking about it but what do you often do? You say no!

You may tell yourself that you’re… too busy, too old, too heavy, not smart enough, not pretty enough, short on the right resources or skills. This is a case of yes and no confusion!

Opportunities present themselves for a reason and they never would “show up” if you didn’t have the means and capability to fulfill them. Unfortunately, when we’re so overextended with other commitments or so overwhelmed with what’s currently on our plates we fail to see these opportunities or can’t imagine having the time to pursue them. And even when we do see them, we’re often quick to talk ourselves out of it because of a mindset and belief system wired to keep us “safe”… and small.

Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to jump off the diving board for the first time? You may have thought about it for a while, you may have even stepped on to…and off of the diving board a few times until you felt ready. You wanted to do it and you knew how fun it would be if you could just get over whatever was holding you back.

At some point, you made the decision and decided to jump. Remember what happened after that? Whoever was with you couldn’t drag you away from the pool because you wanted to do it again and again and again. Why? Because right past your fear was bliss! It existed right past your comfort zone.

Well, that was you back then and it’s still you now … although the grownup version of you may have gathered a few extra layers of fear, doubt and insecurity. These layers can cause you to say no to things that make life spectacular.

It’s time to get the right words out at the right time. It’s time to say no to things that take us further away from giving our best to ourselves and those we love, while learning to say yes to things that encourage us to look, feel and live our best.

Saying no to what you don’t want and even to something good … leaves more room for you to say yes to something great!

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Leave A Reply (3 comments So Far)

  • Debi-

    JUST today I said no to an “opportunity” that would have added more work to my schedule and extra promotion to my subscribers. It might have been good and I would benefited from it, but I decided to turn it down to wait for something FABULOUS!

    Thanks for the validation & reminder.

    Felicia Slattery

  • Woo hoo Felicia! Thanks for the kind words and I’m SURE it will happen!

  • Debi, Thanks for your great suggestions to stop saying an easy yes…and to use the word “no” to make room for saying a BIGGER yes. 

    Appreciate your invitation to stop and think about the ways in which we’re overextended and overwhelmed — and what changes are necessary to make more space to pursue the type of opportunities that lead us to our greatest work.