I come from a world where “No” is said so often that I’ve come to expect it as my answer to any question. It put the fear of asking in me. I didn't want to ask because hearing that “no” hurt.  It made me feel like I'm not good enough or worth it enough. I’ve experienced “no” so many times, that I began to live my life in “No”. That looks like:

  • You’ve reached your potential.  Have a great rest of your mediocre life and unfulfilled dreams.
  • You do not belong here.
  • Meaningful relationshipps? Not for you.
  • Peace? Fuggedaboudit.
  • Happiness? Also a no.
  • Accomplishing goals?  Living dreams? Creating something that matters? No. No. And NO.

Living in this world of “no” is toxic and limiting but so very familiar. It is hard to leave. Putting limits on potential means less failing.  If you never try, you never fall, right?

But even in the world of “no” there is occasionally a “yes”.

When someone or something or the Universe itself says yes, I immediately look for the catch. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It has to be a “yes, but” right? That reality might be even more painful than living in the world of “no”.  I remember living in that.  The colors were less vibrant. Sounds were dull. Touch felt cold.  How sad that all of the beauty that I was living in wasn't experienced?

So how did I transform to living in “no” to saying yes?

With a SHIT TON of falling.
Like any transformation, it was uncomfortable to start telling myself that I was worth it, that what I had to offer was needed and necessary. What we’re really talking about here is a heart healing. I took tiny risks because if the way I was living was making me feel dull an broken, then I had to start choosing in other ways of living. The first few times I said yes to fully experiencing my life, I messed up BIG TIME.  The freedom I was finding was intoxicating.  I had an asshole relapse and hurt a few people along the way. I said yes, and then I got scared. And then I said no. That's how they got hurt. It takes a great deal of courage to say yes and follow through. When you at in a way you never have before, you don know the outcome.

Tiny decisions at time I started to reclaim my agency. I decided that I was worth the risk and moved to New York City. I decided that what I was worth investing in and so I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours honing my skills as an actor and a teacher. I decided that my potential was limitless and left a job that was suffocating my creativity and ability to show up as my most vibrant self.  I decided that I deserved more than partly cloudy in my relationship and left what was slowly becoming a toxic situation. I decided that I am capable of spreading joy, love, and, compassion, and made the choice take care of myself so that I could take care of others.

I remember the first time I said “yes” to a weekend away with my then-boyfriend.  If you, like me, are an entrepreneur and a straight up hustler, you know how hard it is to pause for a day, let alone two in a row, and trust that the world would still turn. It was one small choice a few years ago that started to soften me.  I said yes to more. Instead of going through the motions of my life like a zombie, I decided to travel to places I had never been before.  I talked to people when it scared the SHIT out of me. I led yoga retreats even though I felt like I could never know enough to lead people. For the people that matter the most to me, I showed up authenitcally, vulnerably. I chose to believe that the people who were entering my life wanted to be there because they cared.  I let friendships blossom and I let some go. 

And guess what happened?

The more still I got, the more I started to pause daily, taking myself off autopilot, the more I actively participated in the decisions of my life, the more full it got.  Say YES. Follow through.

If you want to build a life that you are excited about living, then you have to start saying yes to you.  Trust me, this is still a work in process.  I have to take time every day to pause.  In that pause, I remind myself that I matter, that my presence, my energy, my vibration serve a purpose.  I once thought that the best way to confront these uncomfortable ideas about taking up space was to run away or take up as little space as possible (enter ED). But, the world will keep turning.  Time will keep passing.  You can decided to shrink or you can decide to LIVE.