Notes : By Nithya Shanti
To live a happy, focused and meaningful life we have to learn to say “No” a lot, and also identify our “Yes”.
We need to learn to say “No” in graceful and authentic ways when other people’s invitations, expectations and need for support is not in alignment with our own highest values and priorities. It is okay. No one needs to take care of everyone. They are also wise and capable in their own ways. They will figure it out. We can do our best to be there for others, and also have a healthy sense of where we no longer want to spend our time, energy and resources.
This will only happen if we are connected to our “Yes!”. Which means a degree of clarity about what expands us, energizes us, is interesting, engaging and fulfilling to us. This usually requires diverse life experiences and a capacity for reflection. We need to consider what we love to do (passions), what we are good at and want to be great at (skills), what enhances the happiness and wellbeing of others (contribution), and what of-course also pays the bills (livelihood). Taken together these four aspects are called “Ikigai” by the Japanese. It means our reason for being.
“It’s easy to say no when there is a deeper yes burning inside”, said Steven Covey. Honoring our yes requires saying a lot of no’s (a lot!). Else we become automatons trying to satisfy the arbitrary wishes of everyone around us hoping they will love, accept and appreciate us – only to get disappointed again and again.