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On Saying “No”

Are you one of those people who hate saying no? I’m just asking because there seems to be a lot of us around?

Recently I wrote an email about an upcoming retreat, knowing how difficult I find it to say “no”, I actually asked the attendees not to ask for a refund as I “struggle with this kind of conversation.” My own non confrontational way of taking the first steps to saying no.

As a yogi, we can often think that our “dhama”, our purpose is to be kind, generous and helpful. But actually, sometimes by saying yes to everything it can leave us in a place in which we are having to say no to some more important things.

Yoga teachers often talk about “dhama” or “following your dhama”, a subject close to my heart. There are actually 4 layers of dhama and I want to talk a little more about the forth; swa- dhama, your own unique role or purpose in this life. It is,by the way, OK if you do not know what this is, I believe that knowing your swa-dhama is an ongoing process; it can change throughout your life; for example my life’s purpose felt very different 2 weeks after giving birth to what it does now. But I think that if we really contemplate this, most us have some kind of contract with ourselves, some kind of knowing what it is that we want or do not want to spend this precious life doing. In ayurveda it is often taught that not following your dhama can cause ill health. Anyone spending their life in a job they dislike may relate to this.

So, when deciding whether to say “yes” or “no”, I think we must ask ourselves, is this in my contract? The contract that I have made with myself? Is it one of my “yeses?” And here’s the tough bit, if it’s not in your contact, if it’s not one of your “yeses”, then guess what, it has to be a“no.”

Or as friend said to me earlier this week (apologies if you’re offended by bad language):

“If you don’t stick to your own terms then you’re being a bit of a dick to yourself.”

This is definitely a work in process for me. have by no means accomplished this but it is a journey that I wanted to share, hoping that my motivation may help yours.

Because you do not have to say yes to everything to be a good yogi!

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