The Joy of Yes

My 15 month old daughter has developed an utterly enchanting habit of saying ‘yes’ to everything.

While I know all too well that very soon ‘yes’ will become ‘no’, and a ‘no’ will stand her in good stead as she progresses through life, I’m amazed by the joy that a simple ‘yes’ can bring.

         

We ask a question – anything at all. “Do you want a banana?” “Can I play with that lion?” “Have you done a poo?” She nods her head seriously, then tips it to one side with a broad smile and nods again, delighted at the response she receives. As if saying yes was the easiest and most obvious thing to do in the world.

         

                                         Photo: Three Legged Cat

It reminds me of a team-building exercise I took part in years ago that explored the difference a ‘yes’ could make to a conversation. In pairs, we took turns to ask a series of questions, about anything at all, “Do you want a banana?” “Can I play with that executive briefcase?” and so on and so forth...

At first, the other person could only answer, ‘no’. Then, they could only answer ‘yes, but… (filling the gaps)’. And finally they had to answer ‘yes, and… (filling the gaps again)’ It’s worth trying, have a go.  (Then come back here when you’re done, I'll wait).

The ‘no’ was straight forward, like having a door shut in your face over and over again. The ‘yes but’ was very similar to the no really, but if anything, all the more frustrating for its wolves' clothing. It reminded me of playing ‘Fortunately, Unfortunately’ with my son, where every new and exhilarating plot twist is squished by a new and tragic turn (normally involving a wolf in fact, or a very large crocodile).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the energy in those last ‘Yes and...’ conversations was amazing. Positive and inspiring, simple ideas snowballed into grand visions (a feast of bananas while riding an executive lion and looking for a luxury toilet complex anyone?) and lots of laughter. It felt good to say ‘yes’, and more.

Now I watch my little daughter nod, her smile so accepting of life’s boundless positivity, comradeship and security. She lifts my mood in the same way. She reminds me that life is full of opportunities to say yes.

While I’m generally positive and optimistic, I’m also tired, and my days are jam-packed, and I’m only just learning how to say no to stuff I don’t need to do.

But the problem with teaching yourself to say no is you can forget to say yes. To the important stuff. To the stuff that will bring more joy, more 'yes' into your life.

 

How often do you say yes? "Yes, I want that. Yes, I want that just for me and that’s OK".

How often do you admit, "Yes, I did something inconvenient. It might even smell bad. Yes, I am flawed and that’s OK too"?

How often do you say "Yes, come and join me? Yes, come and join me in this life, come and play, come and eat, come and laugh together. Come say yes together"?

I am learning from my tiny beautiful positive girl. Say yes to something today. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. As the eavesdropping cafe customer said of Sally in When Harry met Sally, "I’ll have what she’s having".

Please say yes to joining us at story of mum. Come say yes to creating happier mums together.

Pippa's profile

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As well as being an exhausted but mostly happy mum, and one of the founders of Story of Mum, I write and work as a Script Consultant on feature films and co-run the Cross Channel Film Lab, helping writers and directors to tell their stories and reach an audience. I live with my surf-obsessed husband, hilarious son and daughter in a chaotic house in Cornwall, UK. Things that make me feel good: the sea, chocolate, zumba, yoga, and puddle-jumping.

Comments

Yes!

Thank you, Pippa... I really needed to read this. It is too easy to get buried under tiredness and demands and forget to have fun, relax, and say yes. I appreciate the reminder! xo

Hooray for having fun, relaxing and saying...

YES! Thanks Rose x

Excellent!

As usual, a moving and wonderfully inspirational piece about what it is to be a mom. Yes and a smile. Just brilliant. Even when it comes out through gritted teeth, it DOES work wonders. Now, all I have to do is figure out where to get the spare hours in the day from to allow for all those extra jumps on the trampoline/one last build of lego/more more CBEEBIES show/another story/20 more minutes in the bath....!!
Nic x

YES!

You're right, it is never easy to find the time for a great big yes. But it's so much more fun than a no ;) Thanks so much for your lovely comment, so glad you found it inspiring x

love it!

This is a great post lovely. I have been trying to say Yes to my cherubs more and more and have been delighted by the fun we have had together. I find it very easy to slip into the No answer as it seems so much easier. Saying Yes some days takes so much more effort as I then have to help put that Yes into practise. Great food for thought. N x

Thank you!

Thanks Naomi, that's so true. And I hope you make sure to say some YES to what you need too, not just to the requests from all your lovely cherubs (although of course that's for you too, hopefully you know what I mean...?) x

Yes

Yes this is fantastic, and yes your daughter is gorgeous! I am about to say yes to a large piece of cake :)

Cake

Thanks so much Bex. Cake is DEFINITELY one of the best things to say yes to ;) x

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