It was the first word out of my mouth as a baby. Not mama, not dadda, but “no”, and according to my mom, it was an assertive, aggressive style of no. When I said it – which apparently was quite often – I meant it. For the next 20+ years, this word continued to be one of my favorites, and I eagerly barked it off to all sorts of things.
I said no to things that a person should, such as drugs, and most other shenanigans that typically only lead to problems, however I also said no to potentially good stuff, like healthy new experiences and opportunities. This was absolutely maddening to a few important people in my life who, over many years, frequently complained that I never wanted to try anything new. They were right. I didn’t. I was in a comfy little rut with my routines. Work. Gym. Home. Work. Gym. Home. Workgymhomeworkgymhome. Eventually it all started to blur together, and it began to bother me: I was boring myself.
The shift began last year after I began attending a fabulous, inspirational little yoga class. My instructor, Tina, spoke often about the importance of a growth mindset. This message really resonated with me, and I started to realize just how often I was holding myself back from things, because of fear. Stupid, silly, irrational fear! Fear of being bad at something, fear of looking stupid, or fear of simply the unknown.
My epiphany smacked me across the face in fall of 2013: I need to embrace yes. That is what is missing from my life. Yes! So much more yes!
If you have seen me lately, you may have noticed that I am positively oozing yes these days, ranging from the minutiae:
“Yes, I’d love to go for a walk around the lake” even though it’s 10:00pm on a Tuesday, and that is not at all something I’d typically do,
“Of course I’ll marry you on the beach in Maui and not tell anyone until after the fact!”
to things that I truly never imagined myself doing:
“Yes, I’d love to take Pole Dancing classes two days a week for a couple of months!”
And that is just the beginning.
I am addicted to yes. I can’t stop. It’s almost become a personal challenge to me to see what things I can say yes to that I wouldn’t have a couple of years ago.
Don’t misunderstand me; this is not about saying yes until my schedule is packed full and I’m exhausted and miserable. No, no, no. This is about busting out of the boundaries of the confined, boring, suffocating little box I had inadvertently stuffed myself into over the years. It’s about saying yes to things that will give me the opportunity for new experiences, or getting to know different people.
Saying Yes Makes Me Feel Alive. I am a firm believer that new experiences nourish our soul. Monotony is killing us softly, and draining us both energetically and creatively. Many people I know do the exact same thing, day in, and day out, and it reads all over their faces: boredom.
How many times have you enthusiastically asked somebody, “So, what’s new?” and their response is, “Oh, you know, same old crap.” accompanied by an eyeball roll that screams ‘my life is a snore’.
Who wants a vanilla existence? Good grief, not I. Some routine is great. It’s comforting, familiar, and feels safe. I have a few daily regimens that I find deliciously cozy, and I’m not about to give them up. My morning coffee ritual, for example. Every morning I stumble out of bed, fetch my coffee, and make a beeline for the couch to snuggle under a blanket while I stare mindlessly at pretty pictures on Instagram as I sip. It is what I do, and I enjoy it thoroughly.
Where we get into trouble is when our life starts to look like a rendition of the movie “Groundhog Day”, mindlessly plodding through our existence in auto-pilot, all while barely living. We desperately need new stimulation. Dazzling our senses with different things brings about different responses. New friends, sights, tastes, music, and movements elicit unique thoughts and feelings – things we may not have ever had the chance to think or feel before.
My amazing husband Neil always asks me, “What is the worst that could happen?
Most often the underlying theme regarding why we say no to things we really want to do seems to be, “But, what will people think?” My friends, let me assure you that there will always be some ‘expert’ out there that will think you are a moron. Always.
However. Who seriously cares?
That person’s opinion of you and your choices mean diddly-squat in the grand scheme of your life. Zip. Zilch. Nadda. I will promise you that there are people that think I’m a total weirdo for some of the activities I choose to partake in (the outfits I wear, the food I eat, the way I laugh, etc etc), however that doesn’t stop me from doing what I love, and enjoying myself to the fullest. We can not let somebody’s insignificant opinion steal our happiness.
There are also people that see me make a gigantic ass out of myself on the daily. I am always trying (and initially, failing at) new things in the gym.
If somebody thinks you look like an idiot, what is the very, very, very worst thing that could happen?
I’ll tell you: it’s that they’ll think you look like an idiot.
That is the absolute worst case scenario. Nothing else will come of it! Can we live with somebody thinking we look a little silly? Uh, yes. Yes, we can.
Saying no is easy. It’s simple to pass up opportunities and hide from it all, but that’s a cop-out. The experiences that have awarded me with the most growth just so happen to be the things that have made me a bit uncomfortable at first.
Interestingly enough, some of the things I’ve had the most trepidation about have turned into the most fun things for me – seadooing, and handstands, for instance. Saying yes has shown me that my body is capable of all kinds of cool things, and I’ve met some amazing people, and made new friends! Triple whammy!
The Size of Your Yes
Not all yeses have to be huge. The opportunity to say yes presents itself in many ways throughout the course of our day. Test the water with a little yes to something you’d normally say no to. “Hey, do you want to…” Yes. Yes, I do. YES to rock concerts on work nights, dance classes, impromptu road trips, and new recipes!
Yes to trampoline parties, a new workout, taking up pole dancing, and wearing the most killer lingerie! Yes to trying new things, having new experiences, and meeting new people! What can you say yes to that would stretch you a bit? I know there is something you’ve been dying to do, but have been holding yourself back from it.
Since we are on the topic of doing things a bit unorthodox, try out these amazing French Toast Cups!
Bread bath – 2 egg whites, 2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk, 1 stevia packet,
2 slices of bread – cut in half.
Filling: 3 tbsp. ground oats, 2 tbsp. coconut flour, 1/2 scoop O.N whey, 1 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce, 2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk, 1 stevia packet, 1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375F set out 4 silicone muffin molds or spray a muffin tin.
2. Soak your bread in the bread bath for 2 minutes on each side then contort the bread into the muffin mold. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until egg mixture is cooked through.
3. Combine all filling ingredients and spoon into the cups. Top with sugar free syrup, sprinkles and a generous amount of cinnamon. Enjoy!
With love from the Trench Kitchen,