I recently saw an article on the Spirituality and Health website that was titled “Just Say Yes" by Jamie Stringfellow.
My first thought was, “Are you kidding me?? What I need to do is learn how to say no more often! Saying yes all the time has gotten me into this mess!”
“This mess” is the state I’ve been in the last year – exhausted, anxious, over-committed, and dealing with stress-related health issues.
But then I read the article. And in reading the article, I realized what they meant by saying “yes.” “Yes” is an attitude that is open to possibility. “Yes” is an attitude of creativity. An attitude of “yes” is also about turning your attention to the things that are most important to you. It is about responding from a place of positivity and love, rather than a place of negativity and fear.
Often, when I say “yes” to another commitment, to another activity, to another event, I am acting out of fear. I’m not really open to possibility. I’m thinking, “They’ll be mad if I don’t do this” or “I really need this on my resume because I need to prove myself” or even “No one else can do this the right way.” I’m afraid of failing, of doing something imperfect, of letting someone down.
What I’ve been saying “yes” to is my fear; what I’ve been saying “no” to is the idea that I am loveable, that I am enough, and that other people are incredibly capable.
We do this all the time in our artmaking as well. We say “yes” to subject matter that we think will make other people happy, color combinations that we’ve been told are good, a medium that we know we can control. But by saying “yes” to those things, are we missing the opportunity to say “yes” to artmaking that feeds our soul, that speaks with our own authentic voice, that pushes us to grow?
What we practice in our art translates into habits that shape our day-to-day lives. (In my case, it’s been slow, but it is happening!) And that’s the gift. If we try saying “yes” to what we most love in our artmaking, regardless of the risk, we also end up saying “no” to the fear.
Want to read the original article that inspired me? Here it is.