Say Yes to You- 3 Ways to Get Started

There is significant social capital to be had by doing for others, being selfless, and giving your all. While these sorts of acts are noble, they are only sustainable if you’re just as good at saying, “yes” to doing for yourself as you are for others.

You have surely heard the metaphor of the airplane safety instructions, “if traveling with a child, be sure to secure the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting your child” applied to the necessity of first tending to your own needs before being able to give to others. While this may sound cliché, it really makes good sense. The truth is you really cannot be of service and support to others if you are running on empty.

So, let’s take a quick look at 3 straightforward ways to start saying, “yes” to you:

1- Make an inventory of what you want. Hint: “Should” and “have to” must be absent from this list. It’s pretty inevitable that when first practicing this exercise, the absolutes of “should” and “have to” will pop into your mind. Your job is to notice them, then come back to the question at hand — What do I want? Recognizing your yearning and making it something observable and concrete will help you to identify a path toward actualizing those wants. It will also defend against prioritizing other’s “wants” before yours.

2- Learn to differentiate between “being in control” and “being in charge.” It is natural to desire a position of control. To experience control minimizes your fear that someone or something else might impact you in a way that feels like it compromises your safety and/or integrity. However, no matter how strong, stubborn, or clever you might be, the reality is that you cannot control the actions and experiences of others. You can, however, be in charge of your own responses. For example, you may decide that you really prefer to attend your best friend’s wedding rather than attend your family’s annual 4th of July Party. You cannot control the reaction of your family members. They might be angry, sad, or disappointed. You can, however, be in charge of your response to their emotional reactions. You can acknowledge their feelings and still chose to do what feels right and good for you.

3- Adopt the mantra, “grown-ups get to change their mind”. When we’re kids decisions are often made for us. Example: you are taking piano lessons-period. When we grow up we can easily feel like we’re in that same spot; the one of no choice. But, the truth is, as an adult, you always have a choice.

Repeat: “it’s okay to change my mind and I’m more useful to me and others when I take care of myself”.


About The Author

Coley Williams is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Level Therapy. She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and practices psychotherapy in California. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.