The Gift & Opportunity of “No”

What really happens when someone says no to our request?

Often our minds will say that something, is not ok.

The body tenses, and the voice in our heads tells us that we really should have kept our mouth shut and desires hidden. That we’ve done something wrong and that we are now to blame for things being less than what they were.

Something you may notice in the previous paragraph is how much it’s about us, and not really about the other person.

It seems our default is to look at the “I” instead of seeing that there is also “you” and how, ultimately within any invitation accepted or not, there is “we.”

While it is easy for us to see what we want as being important, necessary, or even perhaps good for the other person or situation, if we truly believe in our own sovereignty and freedom to say yes or no to things, it would be quite the broken circle if we did not also offer as much of the same permission of choice to others as well.

This means letting go and surrendering.

And if there’s one thing our ego’s do not like it’s letting go and surrender!

In fact, it seems our modern culture is very much built on the fallacy that if we let go, we are passive, weak, and just asking to be taken advantage of.

What we often forget in our rush to get what we want is that in each moment comes an invitation to move or be moved.

We are always in balance between creation and surrender.

This is perhaps the surrender that is often spoken about. The feminine aspect of life that I feel many of us, men and women, are still finding grace and understanding with through our modern times.

At its core, I see the concept of Consent being a question of love.

How much do I love this other person to allow them to own their choice in taking care of themselves?

How much do I love and value myself to know that even in the face of a “no,” I’m still good, all is well, and nothing is broken?

When I choose to soften into a space of love, even towards those who are hard against me, I access greater compassion.

Compassion that allows me to not only accept another’s choice and desires but also to welcome whatever hurt and disappointment that I’m feeling about the situation.

The challenge, of course, is often our fear of rejection, looking bad, not getting what we want, and being unlovable clouds our judgment and closes our hearts.

It’s important to be reminded that in the moments just before we risk making a request that the fear of rejection is nothing more than our ego’s resistance to the unknown.

Ironically, if our egos had their way all the time and every request we made was met with a “yes,” it would be great for a period of time before the novelty would quickly diminish and Life would become pretty boring.

Instead, we can choose to courageously engage with others knowing that even though our minds and ego may desire things to look or go a certain way, the reality is that we are always in a shared unknown.

This space of unknown can be resisted, or viewed as playful co-creation.

Like children who, as playful, curious creatures, ask for and engage simply for the joy and thrill of it, so can we exercise our ability to adapt, stay flexible, and be present to what is, instead of staying stuck in our mind’s expectations.

This is why children can watch the same movie over and over without getting bored. Until they’re told otherwise, they give themselves full permission to be in a constant state of wonder and mystery.

Thankfully, we live in a movie that continues to change and evolve with each moment, even when the characters are the same.

As humans walking the path of consciousness and empowerment, we are always at choice, even when the situation or our minds tell us we aren’t or haven’t been.

When we soften into the present moment with curious hearts, what arises can lead to depths of love and connection our minds can’t even begin to imagine.

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