Friday, March 4, 2011

Just Say No... To Everything

Have you heard of toddler refusal? That's what people who weren't tearing their hair out sat around and decided to name the phase when a child says "no" to everything. The little one has discovered that he or she has a will, and is brandishing the power with no regard for outcomes. It's just part of the reason that the general phase of development is called the terrible twos.

The kid says, 'No!'

Yeah, I bet you feel that way sometimes now, but you've learned to control the expression of it. At least I hope you have. I understand though, we're all works in progress. Just don't forget to progress.

Anyhow, knowing that we've all been two, you've got to stop and wonder about yourself. Since you discovered your will, what have you done with it? Have you given up and decided that it's less trouble to let others and your environment dictate every move for you? Or maybe have you used it to get what you want?

So what do you want? Is it to hold the remote, to have the most computer time, to go where you want to go, to eat what you want to eat?  Is it about getting what pleases you from the world around you?

We're all like that in a way anyhow. I think it's safe to say that the majority of people act as if happiness can be found in externals, in the surrounding environment. Sure, it helps to be comfortable, but discomfort will always come crashing through, no matter how much you'd like to believe otherwise. So what are you gonna do when something goes wrong? The choice is yours. That's where will comes in, and real happiness too.

If you stomp around or pout or get sullen or scream at the top of your lungs, or put on some elaborate, adult disguises for those behaviors, you're not really asserting any will at all. You're letting momentary circumstances determine how you feel and act. Your reactions are upsetting you and the people around you, in the end making things even worse. But you can control your reactions.

And the beginning of controlling your reactions is saying no.

No to the entire world around you. No to what's going on inside of you. No to everything.

It goes something like this: I'm restless. Maybe I need something to eat. No. Well then, where's the remote? No. Fine then, I'll check Facebook. No. But I'm restless. No. But I have to do something. No. But I'm not that kind of person. No. But... but... No. Then I'll just think about what I'm going to do. No. But I'm restless. No. But I can't just sit here forever, nobody will like me, and I'll go broke and starve and die. No.

And on and on it goes. It's good to stop sometimes, to remind yourself that you're more than a bundle of urges. You're okay just sitting and existing. You're okay. When you shut off all that noise, you find that there's a lot more to you than what's for dinner. There's a great person who may need some work, but you don't have to keep searching desperately. You're just fine right now.

And that's all there is to it. You, right now, sitting there reading, are okay.

Then, when you return to your daily activities, something's different. There's less fear and more control. Of course fear comes creeping in again before too long, but you can always make more time for The Big No. Eventually, what you find when you're there will stick with you. You discover that you've stopped fighting, and you've also started to win.

Saying no to certain foods, to behaviors that hurt you and others in the end, etc, is good, but without this Big No, maybe you think you've got to do it to prove yourself. Trust me, you'll never get there. Just let go. Just say no.

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