Year of Yes – Episode 170

sing joyouslyCan you say “Yes” and mean it? When is it better to say “No”?

I recently read a book, Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, subtitled “How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person.” Much of what I read resonated with the work I’ve been doing in recovery, so I thought I’d try to express that resonance here.

  • Basic connections between her story and mine:
    • Contrast between “inside” and “outside”. Or maybe I should say “outside” and “inside.”
      • Outwardly successful in many ways.
      • Inwardly isolating and “stuffing” (feelings and food)
    • There is a “bottom” and a “moment of clarity.” Sparked by her sister’s observation that “you never say yes to anything”.
      • “I am miserable. ¶ Admitting this takes my breath away. I feel as though I am revealing new information to myself. Learning a secret I’ve been keeping from myself. ¶ I am miserable. ¶ Truly, deeply unhappy.”
    • She recognized the need for change, and committed (to herself and her friends) to say “Yes” to everything that scared her for a year.
      • “Am going to say yes to anything and everything that scares me. For a whole year. Or until I get scared to death and you have to bury me. Ugh.”
    • Emotional blackouts
    • Her logic: “• Saying no has gotten me here. • Here sucks. • Saying yes might be my way to someplace better. … [or] at least someplace different.”
      • My entry into recovery: Trying to fix got me here. Here sucks. Trying Al-Anon might be my way to someplace better or at least someplace different.
    • Both of us have patterns set in childhood
      • isolating, living in her imagination
      • Fixing, rescuing, co-dependency
  • Chapter titles include
  • Yes to speaking the whole truth
    • My recovery: knowing who I am and living it. Being authentic.
  • Yes to surrendering the Mommy War
    • My recovery: It is ok to ask for (and accept) help
  • Yes to all play and no work
    • My recovery: take time for the things that feed ME, my soul
  • Yes to my body
    • My recovery: Take care of myself
  • Yes to joining the club
    • My recovery: I am a capable person, I have strengths, I don’t have to hide them, and I don’t have to compare myself to others (to my detriment)
  • Yes, Thank You
    • My recovery: I can accept praise without diminishing it. “Thank you.” is a complete sentence.
  • Yes to more year of yes
    • My recovery: This is a lifelong process. And I want to do it.
  • Yes to No, Yes to difficult conversations
    • My recovery: I can say “no”. (“No.” is a complete sentence.)
  • Yes to people
    • My recovery: I am not alone. The recovery community is here for me.
    • My family is here for me.
  • Yes to who I am
    • My recovery: learning who I am, and loving who I am (and changing the things I don’t want to be.)

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