This Spring, Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart

How do you know your “no”? I’m not just talking about any old no—I’m talking about your deal breakers. Your “HELL NO!” You know, those things in your life that take you to the breaking point of your tolerance. Those things that drain you of your energy and turn you into that person you’d really rather not be! 

How does that “no” show up for you? Maybe you feel it as a flush on your skin, an edge in your voice, a pit in your stomach, or a panicky flutter of your heart. 

But let me ask you—how often do you act on that “no?” Even when the alarm bells are ringing inside, do you usually turn the other cheek and just let it be? 

I know that as women, many of us have been conditioned to say yes when we really want to scream “hell no!” 

The way I see it, it’s high time for a change. 

It’s time to fully understand and honor our deal breakers, especially when the plague of politeness keeps so many of us from fully understanding the toll that an unwarranted “yes” takes on our lives.

I am naturally a yes person. That doesn’t mean that I am willing to put up with bad behavior. It just means I am the kind of person who prefers to stay positive, and to be open to the possibilities—which means I often end up saying “yes” when I shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that not only can this drain me of my valuable energy, but it can also negatively impact interpersonal relationships and keep me from the kind of intimacy I yearn for with the people I love. 

Case in point: A few people in my professional circle have come to me with ideas about how we can partner to create some powerful offerings for our respective audiences. In the past, I would have seriously considered all these opportunities—because, again, I’m all about creative collaboration as a vehicle for women coming together. But the last few times I’ve had these conversations, I noticed that something was different. My head was saying yes, but my heart was saying no. I even had several long conversations with colleagues to brainstorm and generate ideas…but the truth was, I didn’t feel excited about any of it. I simply felt stuck in my pattern of saying “yes” because it was second nature to me! To the extent that I actually felt super uncomfortable saying “no” and possibly disappointing my super-enthusiastic colleagues. 

However, in withholding my truth, I wasn’t serving either myself or the people who were approaching me. I was withholding my truth in my misguided attempt to connect.

This realization came to me as a lightning bolt of clarity that opened my heart. I’d been silently judging myself, because for whatever reason, I’d decided that my intrinsic “no” was not something I could honor—because that would mean I was being a bad “sister.” However, in honoring that my life was moving me in different directions and that I need to preserve my energy for a small number of things rather than dispersing it all over the place, something finally clicked. I was no longer resistant to that nagging feeling below the surface…that as good as everything sounded, my heart wasn’t in any of the offers I was getting. And it felt like I could finally step into the pure and nonjudgmental energy of love and truth. 

One of the things I’ve learned in my own transformative journey is that if you stay up in your head (where all the excuses and rationalizations live) and out of your heart (where the truth lives), you will never move any energy that is stuck, and you’ll never absorb the lessons from your experiences. It was only by getting into my own heart, into this solid awareness of the fact that I wanted to tell a new story to myself—a story of getting rid of the shoulds and being completely honest about what I did and didn’t have time or energy for—that I realized I needed to honor my no. I wanted to be an exemplar of truth, wisdom, and power. And in order to do this, I had to be real with myself and others.

The lesson I learned from all of this is that when we are resistant to our no, we only end up blocking our own growth and transformation, as well as the growth and transformation that might be possible for others. I also felt what it was like to drop into my own heart and to stand in my power in such a way that made me feel connected to what most matters to me—and in a way that invited acceptance and open communication. 

I believe most of us want transformation, but we don’t always know the best ways to go about it. A big part of experiencing transformation on all levels is honoring with our full selves what we do and don’t have room for in our lives—what our innate “no” and “yes” actually are. 

How can we actually give voice to this, instead of just accommodating the people around us because we don’t want to ruffle any feathers? How can we move even closer to what is true for us and share that truth from a place of integrity and self-honoring, not to mention compassion and respect for others? (And on the flip side, what if we’re the kind of person who is accustomed to saying no all the time—not because it’s a genuine no but because we’re afraid of saying yes and feel safer this way? How do we begin to expand into greater possibility?)

How do we honor both our intrinsic yes and our intrinsic no? 

My hope is that you’ll discover your answer to these questions, and more, through my latest creation: CHRYSALIS: An 8-Week Group for Emerging Into Your Messy Brilliance. This is an exclusive opportunity for a dedicated group of women to create a plan for emerging from the cocoon of this past year—and into greater truth, authenticity, joy, and passion. And there are just a few more spots available!

The purpose of this group is to usher us in the direction of transformation. This is a wonderful time to get super clear about the patterns you wish to break and the new reality you’re about to create. CHRYSALIS will also grow your own capacity, so that when you’re at a crossroads, you can move from the narrow confines of your head and into the healing and expansive potential of your heart. I hope you’ll join me!

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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