Why to say NO, so you can say YES

May 17, 2021

How to say no, so you can yes to things that really matter to you. It all starts with the awareness of our values and living consciously by them.

Amongst my friends and I, this is a year of many milestones. Personally, I am hitting the big 30; others the mega 40, 50 and my grandfather the almighty 99 (every year post ninety is a milestone I reckon!). Chatting with a friend the other night, reminiscing on the year she turned thirty, she mentioned that 30 was her year to say ‘YES’. Yes, to life and all the opportunities that arose. Later reflection made me realise I have lived a ‘YES LIFE’ thus far and that perhaps turning thirty for me may be the year I say ‘NO’. Not saying no in a reclusive or argumentative way, but rather it comes from a place of inner understanding and honouring what is truly important to me.

So, this is a shout out to other people who may find themselves in the unconscious YES parade, of which there are many I am sure. Those whose autopilot response to any request, question or offering of opportunity is… YES! This of course has its benefits, however as we know, there are only 24 hours in the day (eight of which we should ideally be sleeping!) and each remaining one is to be treasured and used wisely. But when we are making decisions out of obligations or expectations from others, it can leave us feeling frustrated, frazzled, even drawn and quartered, as we are pulled in so many directions.

How do we ease off the autopilot and make more conscious decisions? Yes, you are correct… it all begins with the awareness of our values. Take a moment now to consider what are your values? This is an important question to begin with given the daily opportunities that arise to align our values with conscious decision making, such as the things we buy, how we interact with others, how we spend our time – doing what and with whom?

Taking a moment to pause and quieten the external distractions of opinions, expectations, and obligations.

Where did these values come from? Are they representative of you? Or did you acquire them from others through life experiences thus far? Are your actions aligned with your values?

An inspiring read ‘Think Like a Monk’ by Jay Shetty, begins with great guidance on how to reflect upon, unravel and reaffirm our personal values. He imparts ancient wisdom alongside his own experiences in an ashram to help us overcome life’s challenges and to discover our potential within. Here are some of his guidelines on values I have found useful:

  • Origin of values - where do your values come from, are they true to you?

  • Audit your time – is your time spent mostly on things that are important to you?

  • Past values – reflect on your three best and worst decisions you have made…

  • Value Driven decisions – when spending time or money, take a moment to pause and think: What is the value behind this choice?

  • Companion audit - are you spending time with people that align most closely with your values?

Recent studies of Yoga in India have also helped me establish and embrace my own values of harmony, truthfulness and equality. These have helped me create a solid foundation within myself from which to guide my actions and choices. Learning to quieten the external distractions of opinions, expectations and obligations certainly aided this process. I experienced stillness for the first time, both physically and mentally, which allowed glimmers of inner acceptance, compassion and peace to surface. My values now act as pillars from which to create space, form boundaries, make decisions and guide my responses.

Sharing the path of yoga with the next generation — a path to harmony within and peace for all. Heart-warming welcome from the children of Netala, a small village in the Garhwali Himalayas, India.

Understanding our values and living in accordance with them gives us freedom to distribute our precious time towards the important things in our lives. This helps you become the person you want to be - allowing your true self to shine through with integrity and courage.

I was apprehensive to write this post as aligning my actions with my values is an ongoing progress, however I wanted to simply plant the seed (in case it was not already there!) of understanding one’s values and the important grounding they provide to create a more meaningful and conscious life. By liberating ourselves from the noise of societies expectations and other people’s opinions we can prioritise our finite energy and time. I believe this ultimately enables us to say a wholehearted ‘YES’ to those people, activities and things that are of greatest importance to us.

We are on this journey together, please share your thoughts, insights or any comments.

Higher values and qualities: fearlessness, purity of mind, gratitude, service and charity, acceptance, performing sacrifice, deep study, austerity, straight forwardness, non-violence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, perspective, restraint from fault finding, compassion towards all living beings, satisfaction, gentleness/kindness, integrity, determination.

Lower values: greed, lust, anger, ego, illusion and envy.

Higher values empower us to live more meaningfully, whereas lower values engulf us with frustration and discontent.

Hannah Hokarari is the social ambassador that heads up Snaffle Your Challenge, an initiative from Snaffle to challenge our customers and staff to push themselves to the next level.

Read more about it here and stay tuned to the Snaffle blog for more of her fascinating river adventures.

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