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  • Writer's pictureTracy Rappold

I Say Yes When I Mean No

I say yes when I mean no

and the wrinkle grows.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

There have been many times that I said yes when I meant no, afraid of displeasing others, and even more afraid of being viewed as selfish. I think the first time I decided to get married, I said yes when I meant no. Young and inexperienced in being myself, I agreed to be a fish out of water for as long as I could, so as not to hurt or disappoint or displease. Not surprisingly, it all ended badly.

And how many times, once trained in self-sacrifice, do we have the opposite conversation with ourselves; our passion for life saying yes, yes, yes, and our practical guardedness saying, don't be foolish, be realistic, don't leave yourself unprotected. But long enough on the journey, and we come to realize an even deeper aspect of all this: that those who truly love us will never knowingly ask us to be other than we are.

The unwavering truth is that when we agree to any demand, request, or condition that is contrary to our soul's nature, the cost is that precious life force is drained off our core. Despite the seeming rewards of compliance, our souls grow weary by engaging in activities that are inherently against their nature.

When we leave the crowded streets and watch any place of nature doing what it is does - tree, moose, snake, or lightning - it becomes clear that the very energy of life is the spirit released by things being what they are. and those of us committed to love must accept that care is the inner river flooding its banks. Yet if the soul's river can't be fed by its source, there will be no care. - Mark Nepo

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