This is one of those posts written from the heart. There’s nothing in particular that has spurred this on, but it’s something that’s been in my mind for a while, and a thought which I face and come up against quite a lot. So here we go.
Why is so hard to say ‘YES’ to things?
I don’t mean all the time, but there are instances when I get asked to do something – go on a night out, get tickets to an event, be involved in a challenge which at first I think is way out of my comfort zone. It might seem pretty straightforward to answer – there are only so many responses: Yes / Maybe / I’ll think about it / Not sure / No.
However sometimes I get so frustrated with myself when, my head is telling me – screaming at me – to say the three letter word, then seconds later I hear myself blurting out, “No sorry, thanks for asking but I think I’ll pass…”
WHY DIDN’T I JUST SAY YES?
Immediately after, I’m overcome with regret. Can I just hit the rewind button? Go back in time, pause and collect my thoughts, and answer what my head was initially telling me? But before I know it, it’s too late and I don’t want to act weird and be like, ‘Oh hey hang on a minute, I’ve just had a conversation with myself and I’ve actually changed my mind.’ It might sound normal to do that, but instead I just tell myself that I don’t have time or I’m too busy anyway.
You know what? I really, truly think this is linked to confidence. In the past, the ages of 13-14 were a total blur as I was in the tightened grips of anorexia: this thing in my mind had taken control, my confidence was at absolute rock-bottom, I was a living skeleton and nothing else mattered apart from what I ate (or didn’t eat) and how many miles or hours of exercise I had forced my brittle body to do. I was so ridiculously set in my rigid ways and so intent on not wanting to divert from my little bubble…
It’s very sad to think this consumed the first few years of being a teenager but I mean, F*CK I’ve come on leaps and bounds since then. I’ve re-educated myself about food, fitness, health and exercise to the point where yes, I look completely ‘normal’ (whatever that is) and massively changed my perception and anxieties about nutrition, calorie counting and what I eat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much health and fitness conscious, but not to the point where it rules my life and affects relationships.
Anyway, I digress. My point here is that along with recovering from an eating disorder, traits stick with you, even though most of the time you’ve put that other controlling voice to bed. Yet sometimes, SOMETIMES, it raises it’s ugly head and tells you – No, don’t do that. And it’s frigging annoying. I’m mostly in a really happy place in my head (sorry if that sounds hippyish) – I’m lucky to be loved by my husband, close family and friends, I’ve never been happier in my career and I feel comfortable in my own skin. But then someone asks me to do something and occasionally I freeze up and before I know it, I’ve turned down what could have been a really fun, exciting opportunity.
I tweeted this earlier: ‘I made a conscious decision a few years ago to say YES to opportunities that come up – whether a challenge or night out. Don’t make excuses!’
And I stick by this. I think this was actually a massive breakthrough as part of my recovery, my journey in becoming an adult and shaking off my unconfident teenage self. It can be baffling how the word ‘confidence’ can affect what can be the most simple thing – answering a question – but if you fight against the negative voice and TELL yourself to do the opposite, it is possible. Be spontaneous, do something you wouldn’t usually do, think about it later.
Someone replied to this tweet saying, ‘I need to do this! I say no too much! Looks like it is working well for you!’ and the next thing I saw, they tweeted: ‘Right instead of giving up something for lent I’m just going to say yes to everything!’ This put the biggest smile on my face – and spurred me on even more to be tough with myself and keep this positivity going.
There may be times when you genuinely just need a bit of ‘me’ time and pass up on a crazy night out, or you feel absolutely rotten and you don’t fancy the cinema. But before you answer, just think ahead and how you feel when you’re at home, missing out on something that others are enjoying. It’s mad isn’t it? Just saying the word ‘Yes’ could have given you new memories, new experiences, a chance to meet new people and lead onto something in the future.
In the past few months there have been times where I have forced myself to say YES to so many things – from hosting a supperclub filmed for All4 and cooking for 22 paying guests; baked healthy treats for journalists from national press at a product launch in London; said yes when my husband proposed (thank god haha!), and a whole host of other things which not long ago, I might have turned down, and I’d be kicking myself right now. And now that I keep gradually extending my comfort bubble and taking on these challenges, it’s growing wider every time.
I’ll end this post by saying – push those negative thoughts aside and have the confidence to agree to an invitation asking you to be part of something. I guarantee you’ll feel happier and over time, you’ll wonder why you ever said the word ‘No.’
Thanks for reading 🙂 x