Saying yes to new things can be really scary. But saying no can sometimes hurt us more than help us.Comfort zones aren’t really about comfort at all, they’re about fear of the unknown.
I’m NOT saying we should say yes to things that aren’t good for us emotionally, physically or spiritually or that we need to be people pleasers and over give until there’s little of us left. We need to be vigilant about boundaries and caring for our mental health.
Saying yes in a healthy way is about being brave when we want to try something new for ourselves and taking a risk in order to improve our lives in some way.
Many times we’ll pass on opportunities for new friendships, romantic relationships, jobs or adventures because we don’t feel that we’re ready for them. And its true sometimes we’re just not in an emotional or physical state to say yes but much of the time we simply say no out of fear when we want to say yes. We’re afraid. And its natural and normal to be afraid there is absolutely no shame in it, but if we’re not saying yes to someone or something because we’re afraid of failure or of making fools of ourselves then it might be time to shift our perspective a bit.
Here are my 5 favorite reasons why saying YES is healthy for us as highly sensitive people
1. Saying YES empowers us
There is a saying in Buddhism: “Relax. Everything is out of your control.”
A lot of what we fear is really out of our control. But we can re-frame our fear into excitement and treat it as a call to action when we say yes to new things. If you really think about it, you’ve tried new things hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. If you hadn’t tried so many new things, new jobs, new cities, made new friends, you wouldn’t have gotten to this point in your life. If we fear saying yes to something that scares us, an action we want to take to make positive change then we miss out on so many wonderful experiences. So make a plan of action to say yes to something new. And quickly! Not tomorrow, not next month. Today. You can start small, register for a free online class, take a drive to a new town and explore, or if you’re ready reach out to that person you want to get to know better or book that weekend trip. Shift your mindset into one of excitement about the good that could happen and remind yourself that this isn’t anything new for you because you’ve done it hundreds of times before! Did it always work out the way you planned? Of course not! But guess what, you’re still here, you’re still living and learning and we get wiser and more empowered each time we say yes to something that scares us just a little.
2. Saying yes makes us happier
Saying yes to new experiences can make us happier.
When we try new things our brains actually release dopamine that helps us to create new neural pathways in our brain. When we continue to learn and try new things, dopamine helps us to become alert and stay focused resulting in a sense of accomplishment that helps to build our confidence and resilience. Take some time to reflect on why you’ve said no in the past. What was holding you back? Maybe you don’t feel you have enough time in the day? Or enough money to take up a new hobby. With access to the internet there are so many new things we can learn for free! I’ve taken drawing lessons, cooking classes and more online for free. How can you shift your priorities so you can spend a little more time saying yes to exploring new things?
3. You’ll experience less regret as you go through life
There’s a wonderful book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware an Australian nurse who cared for patients in the last weeks of their lives. The top 3 three regrets of people were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
- I wish I’d let myself be happier.
I promise you that regret is far worse than any fear or rejection we may face by saying yes to taking a risk and reaching for happiness.
4. By saying YES we can actually slow the aging process
Saying yes becomes MORE important as we get older. The older we get the more our lives become dictated by routine. We get more comfortable in our habits and become more resistant to making changes. This means we use less of our brain making fewer and fewer new neural pathways. By saying yes to new and challenging things we’re forced to think in different ways.
5. The next time you say yes you might just change your life.
When I moved to Boston from Southern California in 2008 I hadn’t dated anyone seriously or even dated at all really in almost 10 years since my divorce. I felt doomed when it came to finding a healthy relationship as an HSP. I was completely terrified to make another mistake. I didn’t trust myself to make good decisions so I just said NO to every relationship opportunity that came my way. Now living in Boston on a whim my roommate suggested I join a dating site and for some reason I decided to try it, but something was different about me this time. I decided to put absolutely no expectations on the experience. I wasn’t looking for anything serious and I wasn’t worried about making any mistakes. I would just say yes to meeting new people and then the rest was out of my control. I met my future husband only a couple of weeks later.
Letting go of expectations frees us from so much disappointment and the pressure we can put on ourselves to not make mistakes. Once I gave myself permission to say yes and be okay with whatever came from it my heart and my mind opened up to a new unexpected and wonderful thing.
Was I really ready to say yes to meeting someone new? Not really! But let’s be honest with ourselves there are some things that we’ll never be ready for! A new job, new relationship, or moving to a new city… when it comes to saying yes there’s a time when we need to ask ourselves not why but why not? And we’re never too old to start saying yes… Julia Child was 49 when her first cookbook was published, Edith Wharton was first published at 43 and Grandma Moses was 76 years young when she started painting.
How do we gauge if saying yes is a healthy choice for us?
As HSPs we need to be mindful of what we’re saying yes to. And be aware of what our intentions are. Are we saying yes in an attempt to please someone else at the expense of our own well-being? Or Is it something new and adventurous that is pushing us out of our comfort zone? Is it an experience that will nurture us or help us to grow and change and help us to embrace our high sensitivity?
Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.Wayne Dyer
A little perspective on how short and precious life really is can help us to make more aware and healthier decisions about what we say yes to.
So the next time you have the chance to say yes ask yourself:
What is the best that could happen? And really think about it. How does it feel to imagine the best outcome of saying yes instead of no? You just might be surprised at what gifts will be waiting for you on the other side.
Have you ever said YES when you were afraid? Has saying YES ever changed your life? Let us know in the comments!