Learning How to Say No Will Lead to a Life of True Emotional Freedom and Liberation
Why do we want to learn how to say no? The art of saying NO is something we are never taught. Think about it. From a young age at school, we are told what to do. We start learning at a certain time, take recess at this time and eat lunch at this time without ever stopping to ask ourselves what we truly want to do.
Shifting Out of Autopilot
For as long as we can remember, we have been on autopilot saying “yes” to a system or other people telling us how to live our lives in order to succeed. But the paradox is that no outside person can tell you how to set up and design your life in a way that allows you to flourish. When we listen to the external voices around us instead of turning within to discover our internal system, we are disempowered. These autopilot routines of saying “yes” when we mean “no”, have caused a buildup within our bodies, which leads to pain or chronic disease.
For example, we automatically step with our right foot instead of our left foot. We reach for our phone when we know no one has texted or called us. We grab our favorite pair of yoga pants more consistently without even thinking about the other pairs. Our body carries an automatic routine to do things out of habit without us even having to think about whether it is something we want or not. To live a life of emotional freedom and liberation, we must begin to slow down our minds, emotions and bodies to be able to listen to what we want instead of automatically repeating a habit. These repeated practices may seem small, but they lead you toward living a life that isn’t your own as you continue to participate in things you don’t want to do, simply because you’ve never known another way.
The Practice of Living An Uncompromised Life
In my third book, An Uncompromised Life, the sixth principle is to ‘Own Your No’ so that you can live a ‘Heck Yes Life’. When I was 14 and doctors told me I’d be on medication every day for the rest of my life, I remember thinking it was the only life narrative that was possible.
But we must remember, much like yoga, being a doctor is a practice; we are always in a state of practice, not certainty. This is how the body has created miraculous healing stories you see in movies and books. In our individual daily lives, each person has the willpower to practice faith and beat the odds of what is possible to achieve in this lifetime.
As my life practice went on, I became more deeply devoted and committed to meditation and yoga practice. And it wasn’t too long after I moved across the world to New Zealand, that I made a commitment. I said no to doing things just to do them and chose to only participate in activities that would bring me closer to the future I wanted.
In this commitment of saying no to partying, saying no to random friends, saying no to random events, I said yes to four hours of daily yoga and meditation for six months. Suddenly, I no longer needed my thyroid medication, as half my thyroid produced the hormones that usually two thyroid lobes produce. Now, I did use other supplements and change my diet, but I also said “no” to a lifetime sentence of a daily pill, and a ‘heck yes life’ became my journey.
I committed to daily practices that would empower me to realize who I truly was, not who the world wanted me to be. I became emotionally free to no longer worry about doctor appointments, reminding myself if I took my medication that day, picking up my prescription from the pharmacy, etc. So, you may be asking how you begin to do this. How do you start saying “no” to automatic habits that you no longer want to exist in your life, so that you can start saying “yes” to living your heck yes life?
Three Steps to Learning How to Say No to Automatic Habits and Say Heck Yes to Your Life?
Step One: Consciously Create Space for You-Time
I mean, you chose to create a time in your calendar solely for you. You write down “ME TIME” just as you plan for work meetings, but this is a time for you. If you think about it, we quickly say “yes” to giving our time away to everyone else which at times means saying “no” to what we truly desire. This conscious time carved out in our calendars is the time to say “yes” to giving ourselves OUR time to provide ourselves with the space to craft the life we want to live instead of giving everyone else the life they want from us.
Step Two: Look at Your Calendar and Reflect
Look at your calendar from the past one to six months. While reflecting on your calendar activities, ask yourself, “How did I feel when I was doing these certain activities?” Simply notice how many things you’re doing in your life that feel contractive, tedious, frustrating and soulsucking vs. expansive, fun, exciting or that were helping you to build a future you were proud of. As time goes on, make this time with your calendar more intimate, even from making the bed, cleaning, cooking, going grocery shopping, sitting in rush hour, etc. The more specific you become, the stronger this exercise becomes.
Step Three: Take Action
Begin noticing how many things you are doing in your calendar that are disempowering you instead of empowering you to be in a state of feeling good. Then start to shift those calendar activities with tasks that will empower you to feel good. This may mean taking steps to leave a relationship, including starting therapy, becoming more intimate with your finances to get out of debt, or becoming accountable to create time to leave your job and start your passion project.
Yet you must begin to own your “No” by saying no to things that are hindering you from saying “Yes” to your soul and what is truly inside of you, so that you can experience a life you are in love with. I want you to create a life where you are emotionally free to express yourself in all moments and become liberated in your state of being, to be the truth of you all the time, in every moment. But it begins with you creating the space to say “No” to everyone else and “Yes” to you, which, as I’ve shared, we haven’t been taught from childhood.
Live Your Uncompromised Life
In conclusion, to become emotionally free and sustainably live in a state of liberation, it begins by no longer betraying yourself for love, denying what you know can be possible for your life, or settling for anything because you think you need more money to make it happen. This is the art and dance of beginning to live an uncompromised life; one that is true to your soul, one where you are owning your honest “no”, so that you can be set free to live your HECK YES liberated life. I hope this serves. I love you, Colleen
Colleen Gallagher is an intuitive business and personal development consultant. She has survived childhood cancer, is a global citizen, an advocate for everyone to have an opportunity to live their dreams and an academic who is currently pursuing her Ph.D is Psychology with a focus on Global Leadership and Change. She is an author of multiple books, including her latest release An Uncompromised Life, and the host of The Colleen Gallagher podcast. Her greatest success is seeing her clients fall in love with life by overcoming trauma and life challenges and create a lifestyle career that impacts the world. Colleen empowers leaders and businesses to come to a newfound clarity of their mission, so that they can better understand their gifts while taking calculated action to grow their businesses. Colleen offers these experiences through online courses, in-person retreats, her podcast, books and products. Currently, Colleen resides in Los Angeles, California.