I had a session with Marianne from CupOfEmpathy.com, and she suggested that I may like to check out when my “full yes” isn’t on board, as a way to increase my energy and also my trust in myself, in relationships.
Has someone suggested something to you and you think “YES!”? That yes feels great. When I don’t have an enthusiastic, heart-felt yes it feels different inside me. It could be just a tiny bit of a “no” (you know the type you can ignore), and the rest of me says “yes”. That tiny bit of “no” may not get heard – in my case, quite often!
Only going ahead with something when the yes is full hearted, is scary for me. Sooo often there is a partial “no”. I plan to make it a practice to notice when I don’t have a full yes (for some people it is about having a full no, so translate if that is you).
Choice is something that has been identified as reducing violence, and Nonviolent Communication aims at increasing our choices. This is one method.
I want to hear the part of me that normally gets ignored and my aim is to be safer in my connection with other people. I am really excited about learning to trust myself more!
A current example is with the Covid-19. I hear what the government, some medics, the NHS, family and some members of my community say – and yet there are parts of me feeling…kind of niggled…and so far I haven’t really listened to them, to their wisdom. I haven’t taken 5 minutes to ask myself what else is going on inside me, around the lockdown. I have jumped straight to my strategy, without checking out my feelings and needs. I feel sad as I am writing and I acknowledge this.
It helps me to remember that love and energy are related. That my fatigue (it may be depression, confidence or anxiety for some or an allergy or physical reaction for others) is related to connection and (Marianne believes) to my “full yes”.
Marianne suggested some steps to learning to live using full yeses, and it isn’t just feel the fear & “do it”. I have further split up her suggestions, to make it simpler, and added my own steps too. I hope this will help our expectations: not to expect our self to climb Mt Everest without the training and equipment! Here are the steps I am following if you want to try them out too. Please share below your experiences and any “equipment” you have found! We can learn together.
- Find a little notebook (so you can carry it around). Ask: How do I know when I have a half yes? What happens to me or/and inside me? What does my body experience, when part of me wants to say yes, but another part isn’t fully on board? Notice, make notes, notice after the event if not at the time.
The aim is to research yourself. Eg when I continued with the yes part of me, what was my need? Did I know at the time? Did I panic? (Yes!). What does my no want?
In other words, get to know yourself around this. I recommend that instead of making any changes, you bring compassion or care for yourself, this isn’t about expecting to be able to climb the Mt Everest of full yeses! For me this is about the training, before I even attempt it. I am still learning this stage! Once you become good at this ….
- Draw up a list of 10 people you trust enough to say no to. Put the list in order of the easiest first, so the easiest is at the top. I think at this point I may need to give myself some empathy around my fear – to be in touch with what needs I fear missing out on, so I can tend them. Eg connection, harmony
- Start with the easiest person on your list. If you are confident enough to do so, let them know your intention before you start.
You could explain that you want to start to trust yourself, and so are choosing to do that through only saying yes when it is fully felt in your heart. You may want to explain how your new practice can help you relate better to that person. That you think it could be helpful for your shared connection. Sometimes for me, if I continue with something I don’t have a full yes to, I will build up some resistance somewhere around that person, where I put a distance, imperceivably small, between us
- Next time you notice you don’t have a full yes, ask for some time to think. Get in touch with your feelings and longings on both sides (you have a mini-conflict inside here). Then negotiate for what will give you a full yes. (There are specific steps to asking for what you want, see links to On Line Resources or check on YouTube.)
- Feedback. After you have said “no” (or you stop, or ask for something they haven’t offered), you can ask for feedback from the other person. This will help the other person feel considered, and also help you to learn to do it in a more connecting way as I get better at it. And it is OK to say “Oh, I think I was a bit sharp, how was that for you? I would like to learn to be more gentle and I am still learning.” Or “I would like to know how the experience was for you…” or something similar.
Likewise, ask yourself for feedback. What went well, what was less comfortable? What do you want to do differently next time?
Marianne has a webinar called “5 ways to stand up for yourself” which you can find on her website, which may help you further.
I have written a blog that is called How to Say “No” When You Care! This is on the UK NVC website: NVC Matters.
Sarah Sims Williams BSc (Hons) Psychology, Level II Counselling & Communication, IIT CNVC.
Escape Your Chains guides clients to getting more of what they want, to be freer. We predominantly use a tool called Nonviolent Communication (NVC).
Many words are violent, and people don’t realise how much freedom they lose, by the language we all use. Take “should” – it is one of the most violent words in the dictionary according to Marshall Rosenberg who developed NVC. Those who know why may not notice they are thinking in shoulds, or may not know how to translate them – feel free to ask us in the comments.