Dr. Laurie on saying YES—a habit that can change your life
What kind of traveler are you on this journey through life?
Last week I travelled with a colleague. I was amazed as I watched her deal with options and choices. Her habitual response was “yes.”
Yes, I’ll pay a little more for an upgrade – thank you for thinking of me. Yes – I’ll have dessert. Yes, I’ll go with you for an extra event we hadn’t scheduled – sounds like fun.
I realized as I observed her that my habitual response is no. No thanks – I can’t ( read won’t) afford that. No – I don’t eat that. No – I wasn’t planning to go and I’m tired.
I began to think that how we choose to travel when we are literally on the road can be a description of how we are moving through our lives.
The habit of saying no can be a path of scarcity, holding on to what no longer works, and believing we will never have what we want – because we don’t allow ourselves to have the little things along the way.
This can become even more entrenched as you deal with an illness, pain, medical bills that don’t quit. We are so busy dealing with the big hard stuff that we don’t practice saying yes to the small easy stuff that does add a bit of life and color and comfort.
Happiness experts tell us that our personal happiness level is a set point. It is comprised of our genetic makeup, our upbringing and emotional template from childhood, and then there is a slice of it that we can affect by our choices and habits.
What I have seen is the number of us who live at or below our set point and then add a drop ceiling so we can’t upgrade that part of our lives that we can control.
Part of the ceiling is caused by a second habit – not allowing things to be as good as they are.
We measure, complain, and diminish what is good, what is working, how happy we find ourselves. Maybe it’s that old superstitious tale that had us spitting over our shoulder when someone told us we were pretty, or that we had succeeded. The story was that any kind of claim on that goodness would encourage the evil eye and whoever had been praised would be cursed.
Many of us still act as though that were true – we don’t allow ourselves to accept what is positive and relish it, absorb our happiness, our good fortune and our blessings, lest we be cursed or become “too big for our britches” or whatever other crazy prohibition we were given.
The price for putting that ceiling on our heads is high. We miss joy – we miss the juicy parts of life, we become diminished.
The alternative is to practice saying yes. Yes – thanks! I appreciate the help. Yes – I’d enjoy doing that with you. Yes, I’d like another helping, I’d like to take a more comfortable chair.
We practice noticing and admitting to ourselves how good things are.
While it may not seem like much, I believe these habits can change your life!
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