Have I said yes to myself fully? Have I really danced it out, stood in the sun and become my own person? Have I really?

A couple of months ago I read the book, Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. A self-described introvert and Hollywood’s most powerful woman made her own most powerful move of embracing life and saying yes. It is one of my favorite books this year. And of course it’s brilliantly written. It’s Shonda Rhimes for god’s sake. I laughed out loud, applauded her honesty and was inspired. Since then I’ve been pondering what my year of yes would look like if I were to say yes to myself.

Like Shonda, I am an introvert. I know…I was shocked too, but because the Myers-Briggs test tells me so, I believe it. Saying yes is easy for me when it comes to others. I am willing to help, listen and/or lend a hand if needed. Saying yes to myself is harder. It seemed selfish to me but as I looked around at the people in my life they have no problem saying yes to themselves first. A friend of mine once warned me that when I say yes to everyone else, there are things I may be saying no to for myself that I shouldn’t be. So, I acknowledge that saying yes to myself doesn’t make me selfish. I am actually a pretty selfless person. As a child I learned to acquiesce in situations where I knew I should put myself first and it carried over into my adulthood. I sacrificed my truth, myself so that others would be comfortable. Not good. A part of me already feels free by acknowledging that. Yes to me!

I’m going to try my hand at saying yes to myself. I don’t believe that reading this book was a coincidence. I mean the book was beaming from the shelf. It was calling my name. While I had no idea I was going to be inspired this way, I’m so grateful the book and I found each other. I also grateful for Shonda. I will take with me some of the lessons from her book.

  1. ‘Yes’ to using your voice – Be brave enough to speak out. Words are powerful. We can use them to build people up or tear them down. It never felt good to me to tear others down with my words. I believe in being honest but not hurtful and petty. Speak your truth. Our voices can change the world.
  2. ‘Yes’ to her weight – Accepting who we really are is liberating. Loving ourselves helps us make better choices for our bodies.  
  3. ‘Yes’ to saying no – Saying no to toxic people or situations is a must because we deserve better. Having difficult conversations is necessary for personal growth and for our relationships.  And when you meet someone that doesn’t honor you or the friendship heed the words of Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” And move on.
  4. ‘Yes’ to real friendships – I love this one. If we are honest and healthy with ourselves, we attract honest and healthy people into our lives. It’s not healthy to hold on to friendships that aren’t authentic. Finding true friendship is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  
  5. ‘Yes’ to love – I love this one too! Opening ourselves up to love because we deserve it is healing. We attract the love we are open to getting. Learn to love well.

Also, there is one page of the book that brought it home for me. I’d like to share it with you.

There is one rule.
The rule is: there are no rules.
Happiness come from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are suppose to be.
Being traditional is not traditional anymore.
It’s funny that we think of it that way.
Normalize your lives, people.
You don’t want a baby? Don’t have one.
I don’t want to get married? I won’t
You want to live alone? Enjoy it.
You want to love someone? Love someone.
Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than.
When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it.
No fairy tales.
Be your own narrator.
And go for a happy ending.
One foot in front of the other.
You will make it.

Thank you Shonda, for being brave enough to say yes. Because of you, I can. Let’s see how this year of yes shapes up for me. I look forward to dancing it out with the right people, standing in the sun full of love, and being unapologetically who I am. Wish me luck (eek!).

Here’s to a freer better me. You get a better me! A better me? What would that look like? We will have to see this time next year.

Go get the book y’all. Say yes. One foot in front of the other. Dance. Love. Happily ever after.