I just finished recording this week’s podcast episode, and I talked a bit about the power of saying yes and/or saying no in my own life.
For most of the last 8 years, I’ve painted a big “YES” on my forehead and stepped into opportunities that scared me, stretched me and thrilled me. Without that “yes” I would have never produced The Green Room with Paul Provenza, written and performed by solo show and had a book published. Without that yes, I would have not been able to immerse myself in the community of comedians and been embraced by people who I feel are some of the smartest, kindest people on earth. Without that yes, I would not have an amazing online community people where we get to entertain, enlighten and engage each other.
And now, I’m in a new phase where saying “no” and bringing some discernment to my choices is where I need to be now. My biggest “no” right now has to do with my interaction with the public around my father. I’ve been off of social media for 10 weeks now, and not having to see my dad’s name or face, or read his words, or hear about him has been revelatory. I know that when I return to interacting again on social media, I will not be engaging with people the same way when it comes to my father. I need that part of my life to be different for my mental health and my work in the world. I love him. I love your love of him. Just keep me out of it.
For so many decades of my life I said “yes” and “no” in a very unconscious way. It was more like I would let the whims of my desires, addictions and fears do the choosing for me. My teens and twenties were fraught with this behavior. I got a little more conscious in my thirties, but it really wasn’t until my forties that I learned about the power of healthy boundaries and the real power of choice.
Taking choice back into my hands was a frightening prospect. I seems I feared the consequences of a conscious choice more than the consequences of the unconscious ones. I can see how this is the definition of living out life as the victim. “Hey, it’s not my fault. I didn’t DO anything.” Ha! Little did I see that making unconscious choices was still making a choice.
There are few things we have control over in our lives, very few – where we put our attention is one important way, and the other is choice. Now, I don’t want to get into the whole Free Will conversation, mostly because I can’t wrap my head around it most of the time. And, no, I get that we don’t get to control the outcome after making choices, but when we do make a choice we are saying bold things to our own hearts and souls and to the world at large.
So take a leap. Say “yes” to all that can stretch you, if your life is in need of an expansion out of your comfort zone. Or say “no” to all that burdens you, to all that is keeping you stuck and small. But here’s the cool thing: You can always change your mind.
Donald Trump does it all the time. 😉