This is the second in a series of three articles about honoring ourselves through learning the art of an open-hearted No.
As we explored in last week’s article, saying a firm yet open-hearted No to thoughts that diminish or devalue us – that is, consciously pausing to recognize those thoughts for what they are and then choosing not to invest in them - is a powerful act of self-love.
So, too, is learning how to say an open-hearted No to demands or requests from others that we have no genuine willingness to honor. This is an artful process. The open-hearted No is neither a guilty No nor a “Hell, no!” It is clear, honest and kind. The No honors the self, while the open heart honors the other and his or her right to make a request or extend an invitation.
Learning to say a loving No is particularly important for those who have habitually said Yes to any and every request made of them, out of fear of letting others down. In her book, Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing, bestselling author Anita Moorjani experiences a profound awakening to her true self while lying in a coma, her organs shutting down after a long struggle with cancer. In her awakened state, she becomes aware that the cause of her cancer is fear, especially the fear of disapproval from others. She shares her initial shock at realizing this:
“Why was I always suppressing my own intelligence and creativity to please others? I betrayed myself every time I said yes when I meant no! Why have I violated myself by always needing to seek approval from others just to be myself? Why haven’t I followed my own beautiful heart and spoken my own truth?” (p. 69)
I have had the pleasure of interviewing Anita, and I can tell you that she is perhaps the kindest, most generous and peaceful person I have ever met. I could feel the power of her loving presence in every word she spoke. She is the embodiment of a beautiful paradox: as she learned to say an open-hearted No to things she wasn’t genuinely willing to do, she found herself living a life that showers her with an abundance of things to which she joyfully says Yes! Her life flows with grace, coherence and integrity. That’s what happens when we honor ourselves.
What trips a lot of people up is thinking, mistakenly, that honoring themselves means switching from putting other people first to putting themselves first, which they resist because it seems selfish. The open-hearted No arises from an understanding that trying to designate who or what is “more important” makes no sense in a universe wherein we are all inherently and equally worthy.
Rather than thinking in terms of putting myself first, I’ve learned to think in terms of putting myself at the center of my life. When I’m at the center of my life, I am centered. I am grounded, balanced and clear. I can see that life is not a straight, narrow and linear path of either/or choices. It is circular, cyclical, organic and iterative, expanding outward into ever-widening fields of possibility. Today’s No can easily and gracefully become tomorrow’s Yes.
And as I imagine each person at the center of their own lives, rhythmically expanding and contracting with the flow of their own energy, I see how, like a kaleidoscope, our circles can form endless beautiful patterns as they merge and separate.
When we take responsibility for ourselves by getting centered, paying attention to how we feel and listening inward for guidance, we make choices that are self-honoring. We maintain our integrity and interact with others in an authentic way. When we push beyond what we are genuinely willing to do, out of fear of disapproval, we disrupt our own natural rhythm. We abandon our center and insert ourselves into someone else’s orbit. We may appear to be generous on the surface, but true generosity arises from freedom, not from the sticky tethers of fear.
So dare to put yourself in the center of your life. It’s not about being first…it’s about being genuine.
By Suzanne Eder
Author Bio – Suzanne Eder
Suzanne Eder is a world-class teacher, facilitator and mentor, as well as a leading-edge thinker in the fields of consciousness and spirituality. She founded Solid Ground Transformational Life Coaching in 2003 to help people wake up to their magnificence and create lives they truly love. Before that, she co-founded and ran Essential Energetics, a fitness studio for women, and The SEGA Center, a holistic healing center, both of which prepared her for the in-depth client support she now offers through Solid Ground.
Suzanne currently authors an award-winning monthly column in Living.Well Magazine, offering inspired and practical counsel in areas related to personal growth and transformation. She has published a book that’s earned a full 5-star rating on Amazon, 10 Ways to Find Peace Rather Than Panic (When the World Has Gone a Little Crazy). She recently launched her first online course, Love Yourself to Success and Fulfillment, which is endorsed by New York Times best-selling author and self-love guru Anita Moorjani.
All of this experience sits on top of her formal education. Suzanne has degrees in both Accounting and Economics and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Delaware. She started her professional career as a CPA and enjoyed a highly successful corporate career in both Finance and Human Resources.
Seeking a more deeply fulfilling life, Suzanne attended and graduated from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, an intense four-year program in mind-body-spirit health and energy healing, and in 2011 she was initiated by Lola Jones to offer Divine OpeningsTM, an energy-based awakening process which Suzanne sees as a natural evolution of her work as an energy healer and teacher. As her experience with Divine Openings TM deepened, Suzanne was invited to be on Lola's management team. She is currently serving as a mentor in the Divine Openings certification program, and is among the first to be designated as a Divine Openings TM Certified Guide.
Suzanne is known among her clients, students and colleagues as someone who easily bridges the mainstream and the metaphysical. She is deeply intuitive, wise and helpful. She lives what she teaches with integrity and humor and is, in the words of her former coach, best-selling author Tama Kieves, the "real deal.” Learn more about Suzanne and Solid Ground Transformational Life Coaching at www.mysolidground.com.