Life Health

PROULX: Sometimes saying 'No' is best

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were famous for their thumbs up thumbs down film reviews. Shaun Proulx says there's a lot of power in saying no, like Evert does here.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were famous for their thumbs up thumbs down film reviews. Shaun Proulx says there's a lot of power in saying no, like Evert does here.

SHAUN PROULX/ 24 HOURS

"Saying yes ... means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are." - Late Apple founder Steve Jobs Say yes to the power of no

Oh, the places we go in this #SummerOfYes. You can glean wonderful experiences and even transform who you are if you dare say that one magical word more often, as I detailed last week in my column for 24 Hours.

But did you know that one of the most powerful ways to say yes is to use the word no? The other morning, a gal pal invited me to an after-work party.

I said yes, but texted at lunchtime that I didn't feel up for it. The idea of a lot of people's cacophony energy literally felt repellant.

My listening-challenged friend told me to get pretty and she'd pick me up at 5:30 p.m. sharp.

By 5:17 p.m., I hadn't even stepped in the shower. I typed into my phone: "Can't. Don't want to. Not going. No."

My friend came to my place instead, where we downed two bottles of wine, ate sushi, talked about men and what pains in the asses they all are. The best part? My dog, Ella, was snuggled next to me the whole visit, happy as heaven. I made it to bed at a good hour, reading about Kim Kardashian and daughter's matching fur coats before falling asleep and dreaming of the same for Ella and I.

The night, in other words, was pure bliss. But only because I said no.

"No" can be the ultimate "yes," because as you say "no" to one thing, you're typically saying "yes" to another. No is the word that helps achieve goals, creates balance and makes time for rest and for dreams to be born.

Embracing the things you are shouting "no" at is another way of saying yes. Each of us has a circumstance happening now that we want to end and/or avoid: a low bank balance; a breakup; an ailing loved one; extra pounds; or, as one mum I adore just put it to me, "What's with all the butane lighters in my kid's knapsack?" Pushing against the unwanted only adds to whatever negative emotion that a "no" circumstance is making us feel. Acceptance may sound backward, but it allows you to flow downstream, which is where all ideas, answers and positive emotions lie.

Experiment with saying "no" more often. Say "no" for the sake of your wallet, time and sanity. If you're new to no, buy time if you feel on the spot, by simply saying: "Let me think about that." And if you're already a pro at delivering a 'nay,'try the following challenge. It's not for the faint of heart, but it comes with the reward of feeling truly empowered: Just say no - without even justifying why.

However you say no - whether it's to people or things that stress you out - it ultimately says yes to your happiness.

"Sarah says the food at the party is ah-mazing," my pal tried, one final time, to get me pretty and out to that damn party.

"No," I said, firmly, feeling happier instantly from having said yes.

The Shaun Proulx Show's #SummerOfYes series airs on SiriusXM Canada Talks channel 167 through September. He is the publisher of TheGayGuide Network.com and leads a #ThoughtRevolution about busting through personal limits on ShaunProulx.com.