There are many ways we say NO to life. Can you remember a time you received a gift and said, “Oh you shouldn’t have”. Perhaps you were at a party and avoided talking to someone you found interesting. Maybe you had an urge to learn a new skill but dismissed the idea.
We are faced with these types of situations all the time. Our tendency is to resist or hold ourselves back from something that is challenging for us. What is your tendency to think? Do you think “YES” or “NO” to life’s opportunities? In Survival Mode we tend to hold ourselves back and think “No”. We want to play it safe, so we tend to resist or avoid rather than be receptive. Daniel Siegel’s book, Yes Brain, demonstrates that children are generally in a “Yes” state. They are more imaginative, willing to take chances, and curious about opportunities. When we have a “Yes brain” we are better at relationships because of a greater capacity to be flexible and resilient when managing feelings and adversity.
When we say Yes to life, we are accepting it as it is in this moment, even if it is less than ideal or uncomfortable. When you receive that gift, you might say “Your thoughtfulness means a lot to me.” Many aspects of life can’t be changed. In Thriving Mode we learn to embrace what is and look for the gifts. For example, when it’s raining you appreciate how the trees and animals need it and you get an umbrella. In a No or resistant state, you grouse about how it’s always raining and what a terrible day this is going to be.
Yes or Acceptance does not mean passivity if you are being disrespected. If someone is being mean to you, ask them to stop or leave the room if necessary. This is saying YES to protecting yourself. In a No state which is part of Survival Mode, we get offended and angry when someone is mean, often with an urge to fight back. When thriving, we accept their behavior as reflective of their Survival Mode. The acceptance allows us to have compassion for those who can’t come from a loving place in that moment. We do this with a child who is about to hit a sibling. We accept their level of maturity and draw boundaries lovingly. Our opportunity is to be able to do this with adults too. Accepting, having compassion for their difficulty, and then being proactive is Thriving Mode. The world needs this now more than ever. YES!