For every yes you give, you are saying no to something else
I walked into the room to join the afternoon strategy session. My friend, who had been in the a.m. training portion, greeted me and immediately shared her ah-ha of the day – the statement above.
I’ve been thinking about it since. Why did the statement about every yes having a no get my attention? For one, I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about it quite like that. And for another, the statement seems to have, the more I dwell on it, the weight of a principle.
And then, only as I decided to write about this, it hit me. Something happened at the end of that afternoon strategy session – something that left me feeling very uncomfortable. I was awakened later that very night by this discomfort. I lay there and thought about how I was feeling and decided I needed to put a name on it. I too often do that.
As I thought about the event of that afternoon, my mind took me to other events and issues where I had felt the same discomfort during this year. That seemed odd until the label I was seeking appeared … disrespect.
In a few of my involvements, things have happened where I’ve felt disrespected. The details are not relevant at this point, but the connection is. And the question surfaced:
Could it be that saying yes without consciously acknowledging the corresponding no be a major contributor to my feeling of being disrespected?
I think the answer is yes. And this causes me to ask why. While in some of these situations someone was behaving with a lack of respect – at least in my own perception – I believe the cause of my feelings was self-inflicted … meaning – my ability to control my reaction was weakened by the no-after-no that I’ve let stack against me. I’ve said yes without saying a no in some other area.
I’ve worn down my own resistance, my ability to skillfully address difficult/challenging situations. I normally do this in a manner that follows careful listening, non-judgmental assessment, and honest, articulated reflection of what I’ve heard.
Denying myself the energy of a strategically placed ‘no’ has drained my energy with no respective event to recharge.