Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker

Unlocking Wholehearted Yeses: Choices, Consequences, and Connection

September 21, 2023 MaryAnn Walker Episode 60
Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker
Unlocking Wholehearted Yeses: Choices, Consequences, and Connection
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we will dive into the intriguing concept of "wholehearted yeses" and how to differentiate them from merely saying yes out of people-pleasing tendencies. 

Wholehearted yeses don't always necessitate extreme excitement; instead, it involves acknowledging your choice and wholeheartedly embracing the consequences without harboring any resentment or anger.

In this episode we talk about: 

-Exploring the concept of "wholehearted yeses" and how to identify them.

-Understanding that a wholehearted yes doesn't always mean extreme excitement.

- Recognizing that you always have a choice in how you show up in life.

-Letting go of "I have to's" and "they made me's" to minimize  resentment.

- Overcoming victim mentality and taking ownership of decisions.

-Examples of giving wholehearted yeses, even in situations you're not overly excited about.

-Reflecting on the purpose behind your choices, especially in relationships and activities.

-Addressing discomfort when saying no and understanding it's a part of the human experience.


  • More balanced and sustainable relationships
  • Less resentment
  • More time and energy to invest into your passions
  • Reduced stress 
  • More authentic relationships
  • Personal growth
  • Increased focus and work life balance
  • Increased self respect
  • Increased genuine connection with those that truly resonate with you
  • And so much more!

Need more support around discovering where you can give a whole hearted yes and when to say no?  Come and work with me.  Click here to get started.

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Well, hello and welcome back. So I don't know about where you live, but where I live, it is starting to get cooler outside and it feels so good. I can wake up and it's nice and cool and crisp in the morning for my walks and it still gets warm in the daytime and I just love the weather. It's been kind of amazing. I love it when the seasons change. There's just something fun about it to see that change in the seasons. I love it. So this last week I had a question from a listener around the idea of wholehearted yeses. And he said essentially that he wasn't really sure that he fully understood how to identify what a wholehearted yes even was. He was having a hard time separating out when he was saying yes because he really liked his reasons or when he was saying yes, because he was people pleasing. And so I thought we kind of ex. for that a little bit today. Now I have talked here on the podcast before about the idea of pausing and really feeling into your body for a moment to see if you can give something a wholehearted yes or not before committing. And so today we'll just dig a little bit deeper into what that actually means. So first I wanted to explain what I mean when I talk about saying a whole hearted yes. So, a wholehearted yes, it does not necessarily mean that we super love the thing that we're choosing into, right? It doesn't mean that we're jumping up and down and it's all we can think about. You're just squealing and being like, oh my gosh, like, I just love this thing. I'm giving it a wholehearted yes. It's all I can think about right now. Sometimes then that happens in life, but most of the time we can give something a wholehearted yes when we aren't experiencing that level of excitement around the issue. And I think that that's what this listener was thinking about too, was, well, I don't know, I'm not super excited about it. So am I people pleasing? And it can be a little bit hard to distinguish that. So what I mean when I'm talking about wholehearted yeses is I'm referring to essentially getting to a place where you can acknowledge to yourself that number one, you actually do have a choice and have some say in the situation. And number two, you are choosing it on purpose and not only choosing it on purpose, but you're choosing it on purpose while also radically accepting all of the potential consequences and you're able to do that. free of any anger or resentment or expectation. So if you're able to say yes to those two questions, then it sounds like you can in fact give a wholehearted yes. So let's break this down a little bit further. Okay. So the first one, acknowledging that you do have a choice. You are the only one in charge of your life. And you always, always, always have a choice in how you choose to show up. Our brain really likes to avoid accountability. Right? Our brain doesn't like taking ownership, especially when there's a little bit of conflict. It's like, oh, I totally want to avoid that. So your brain loves to avoid accountability, and this means that your brain, it's probably going to tell you that you actually don't have any choice in the matter. And that you're a victim of circumstance. It wants to make you the victim of everybody else. Because then you don't have to change, right? If it's everybody else's fault, not our fault, we can keep going on as usual. We don't have to actually put any boundaries in place. We don't have to change because we are avoiding that discomfort, right? Our brain, it seeks out pleasure and it seeks to avoid discomfort. And so in an effort to do that, it wants to make everything everybody else's fault so that we can avoid accountability. So for example, maybe you're thinking thoughts like, I have to go to work today. Um, newsflash, you do not have to go to work today. You don't have to go to work tomorrow. You don't ever have to go to work ever again. Right? You do not have to go to work. Work is a choice. And it's possible that you are choosing to go to work because you really do actually truly enjoy the freedom that comes from having a regular paycheck, right? You enjoy having the freedom to pay your bills, to have a roof over your head, to have food on the table, to have a little play money to go adventuring with. You really enjoy this, but it's so acknowledging that, yes, I am choosing to show up to work can really help to bring the power back to you. And rather than be the victim there, right. That I have to go to work, or maybe you're thinking a thought like, well, they made me do this. Guess what? People cannot make you do anything without your consent. I mean, sure, they can ask. They can beg. They can plead. They can even be kind and encouraging and invite you to do things. And they can even tell you what they're going to choose to do if you don't do the thing that they want you to do. But ultimately, you get to decide whether you're going to do it or not. So just notice if you're telling yourself the story that you have to do something or that somebody is making you do something and if you are telling yourself that story then check in with yourself to see if you can poke some holes in that victim story because this is a victim story, right? If things are happening to us, things are happening against us, that's really disempowering. So notice that it is a story, that it is a victim story and work to poke some holes in it so that you can actually become the hero of that story rather than the victim. So more often than not, then these victim stories, then they lead to thoughts of anger and resentment. And this anger and resentment, it might be towards the person that you feel like is controlling you or making it so that you have to show up at work. You know, whoever it is that we were making the villain when we are the victim, then they might be the target of our anger and our resentment. Or we might also be directing that anger and that resentment towards us. We're like, I can't believe I did that again. I can't believe I said yes when I wanted to say no. And then we're having those same feelings, but towards us. So just remember that you always have a choice. All right. So that is step one, right? Is acknowledging that we do in fact have a choice in this matter. And number two is recognizing that you are making this choice. And accepting all of the potential consequences of this choice, free of any anger, resentment, or expectation. So let's use the example of work again.

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Let's say that you're just kind of entertaining the idea of not going into work today. It's like, okay, well, I'm thinking about not going to work, but let's really put some thought into this to see if I am willing to radically accept the potential consequences. Okay. So what might the potential consequences be? Number one, I might get fired, right? Or I might get called out by the boss in front of everybody to talk about my lack of attendance, my lack of productivity. Um, let's see. Yeah, I mean, it could just mean a pay decrease. And really think about, okay, what are the potential consequences and am I willing to accept them? Maybe you are willing to accept them, and if so, fine, go for it. And do it knowing what the potential consequences might be, and then just recognizing when those consequences do come. Acknowledging that, okay, yep. I knew that this is what I was signing up for. Oftentimes we trick ourselves into thinking, no, but I can do this without any of the potential consequences. And that is a self deception, right? That is not true. There are always consequences for actions. So really accessing your prefrontal cortex to think through what is actually going on, what may or may not happen here, right? What are the potential consequences so that you can choose it consciously and on purpose will have significant impact. When we're able to fully accept all of the potential consequences, it really does help us to stay out of victimhood and resentment. Because when we're honest with ourselves, we can see that, yes, I chose this, and I decided that these consequences were worth it. And it's not just something that happened to us, right? We're now no longer a victim of the boss pulling us aside and offering a reprimand. But we can know that this is something that I chose on... purpose. It just shifts the energy. So there are many times in life where we can give a wholehearted yes to something, even if it's not something that we super love and are jumping up and down excited about, right? We can still choose it. Knowing that we can give it a wholehearted, yes. And experience that love and that peace within self. So, for example, my daughter recently had a birthday and as you know, we recently made the move across the country as an entire family. She came along and we've only been here for about a month and a half. And so that means we are really still finding our place here. We're still finding community. We're still finding friends. And so she didn't really have a lot of options as to who to hang out with for her birthday. And I know this, and I also know that turning 20 is a big deal. Right. You're no longer a teenager, right? 18 feels big, but 20 feels pretty big too. So I decided ahead of time that I really wanted to show up for her. I wanted to just give her a wholehearted yes. So I decided, okay, whatever she decides to do for her birthday, I am there for it. I'm going to choose in I'm opting into this. I'm choosing it on purpose and I'm going to give it a wholehearted yes. Yes. And of course, some of the things that she chose to do for her birthday, I truly could give a jumping up and down, excited, wholehearted yes to, right? Like when she said, Oh, how about if we go to the interactive museum? I can be like, yes, I totally want to do that. And when she's like, Oh, and how about if we go out for lunch? Yes, I love going out for lunch. And then there's other things that she chose that maybe I wouldn't have chosen if it was just a regular Saturday, right? But since this was her birthday, I wanted to choose into it. So one of the things she wanted to do was stay up late doing some various activities. And so I thought, okay, I am choosing to stay up late. I'm choosing it on purpose. I'm usually one that likes to go to bed pretty early, but I am choosing on purpose to stay up late, and I'm choosing to do it free of any, anger or resentment or expectation. I'm just choosing this on purpose. I know that there's going to be some consequences for this. I know that when I have a late night, It takes a couple nights for me to recover and I'm choosing this on purpose. When you acknowledge that you're choosing it on purpose, you really can let go of all of the resentment, right? Because the truth is, even if I had decided not to stay up late, my daughter would have totally understood, right? She knows how early I go to bed. She knows this. It's not a secret. Everybody that knows me knows I love to go to bed early. Because I can't help but wake up so early. There's no such thing as sleeping in for me. I don't understand it, but, but yeah, it was just interesting. Just notice my brain, acknowledge what I was choosing on purpose. So then I could show up fully and on purpose. With a full heart, and because I was so conscious about wanting to give this a wholehearted yes, then I was able to show up wholeheartedly for my daughter without being resentful. And so notice that if you're showing up and you notice the resentment coming in, just use that as information. Because if after the fact, if you're feeling resentful, then probably you did have some expectations attached to your saying yes, and you were not actually prepared. to embrace the consequences of your decision. When we are resenting others for our choices, we are not taking accountability for our actions, but rather we're making it mean that somebody else made us do it or that somebody else did something to us or that somebody else has to blame for our actions. And this just isn't true. Again, that's a huge victim story. So let's kind of play around with a few other examples to illustrate this even more. So, believe it or not, my husband and I, we do not... have the same taste in movies. I mean, yes, there are a select few that we both enjoy watching, but really we have differing tastes in movies. I know we're probably the only couple on the planet, right? So for my husband, he really enjoys Marvel movies. I mean, I like them. I think that they're all right. And also he super loves Marvel movies, and he has decorated his man cave to reflect that, which is 100 percent okay with me. So let's imagine for a moment that it's date night, and he wants to watch the latest Marvel movie. And since I think that the movies are all right, and I can't really think of anything else that I am just dying to watch, then I might say, yeah, sure, we can watch a Marvel movie, and I would be able to say that without any resentment. So essentially in that moment, I would be able to give it a wholehearted yes. But if, on the other hand, we have watched maybe Marvel movies for the last three weeks in a row, and I recognize that for me, if we watched a fourth Marvel movie, I might start to experience some resentment, I could use that as information, right? I could use that as, okay, now that I recognize that resentment is coming in, maybe this is a time when I do in fact need to say no, because I wouldn't like my reason for saying yes. I would be saying yes just to appease him, but that would be creating resentment inside of me. So I think I want to avoid resentment since this is, in fact, date night. So I'm going to offer up something else. So if that is the case, then maybe I would offer up something different to see if I could get to a place of a wholehearted yes. So this might look like suggesting another movie or another activity altogether. It might look like choosing to say yes, but making it clear that, okay, but for the next movie, I would like to choose. And so that then it sets the expectation for the future to help to minimize that resentment. And surely it could really look like any number of things. So for example, I might suggest that he go out to watch this movie with his guy friends, while I go to watch the Barbie movie with my girlfriends. So this would create a win win. Or another option might be that maybe we pick something that's not movie related at all for date night. And that kind of leads to another point. Like remind yourself what the actual purpose is for you when it comes to date night. Is the purpose to watch a movie? Is the purpose to go on a date? Is the purpose to create connection? and this will also help you to get more clear about what it is that you are choosing so that you can choose it on purpose. Because you know what? I don't care who you are. Nobody wants to be resented on date night and nobody wants to feel resentful on date night. So check in and remind yourself, what is the purpose? If the purpose is for us to connect, then maybe we need to say to drop the movie altogether. So really check in with yourself and see what it is that you're creating. Recognizing when anger and resentment is setting in and taking ownership of what it is that you want to create is going to help you to get to that wholehearted yes. Give your wholehearted yes to the creative process because it feels amazing. And I get it that sometimes it can feel really uncomfortable to say no. So let's kind of talk about that discomfort for a minute, right? When someone has difficulty saying no, oftentimes it's because they've struggled to differentiate themselves from the other person, or maybe they've made it mean that their level of acceptability is conditional upon their saying yes. So just kind of notice what's coming up for me. What is it that I'm believing right now? That's making it hard for me to say no. So for example, maybe they make saying no mean that they will be cut off from the other person or exiled from the group. for the community. And this really truly is a primal fear that each and every one of us have. Our primal genetic conditioning has told us that if we are cut off from the tribe, then we will be cast out of not only our community, but we will lose out on our shelter. We'll lose out on resources and we'll be exposed to the elements and potential threateners. And we will just henceforth and forever be in high risk. This activates our fight or flight response. This puts us in danger. And when your brain is going into fight or flight mode, it's essentially going into freak out mode, right? So just know, okay, my brain is going to freak out when I say no, it's going to be okay. It just takes practice and I will learn how to navigate all of these emotions as I am practicing my nose. So choose to step out of victimhood and into your hero energy by acknowledging that you do in fact have a choice. And that you can make that choice while also fully accepting the consequences, good or bad. And also notice that sometimes saying no, the only bad thing that's going to happen is somebody else is going to have to learn how to navigate their emotions. Oftentimes, that's the worst case scenario. Somebody else has to learn how to navigate their emotions. So you might as well practice that. Okay, well it's either going to be me learning how to navigate my emotions, or, we could both have the opportunity to learn how to navigate our emotions together. So just kind of be aware of that, that often times, like asking yourself, what is the worst case scenario? It's not that you're going to die and be exposed to the elements and starve to death and be eaten by a tiger. Often times the worst case scenario is that somebody's just going to have to learn how to navigate a negative emotion and that's okay. And hey, just for your brain's sake, let me tell you a few of the positive consequences that can come from saying no, right? So you're going to radically accept not only the negative consequences, but be open to the possibility that there are positive consequences as well when you're able to say no. So here's a few of the positive consequences. More balanced and sustainable relationships, less resentment, more time and energy to invest into your passions, reduced stress. More authentic relationships, personal growth, increased focus and work life balance, increased self respect, increased genuine connection with those that truly resonate with you. And so many more, there are so many more benefits to noting and checking in with self and only saying yes. When you can give that whole hearted, yes. So, whether you are saying yes or whether you are saying no, remind yourself that it is a choice. And feel empowered by that choice. So, think about your why for making that choice and actually decide if you like your reason for that. If you're saying yes just to make somebody else happy, make sure you like your reason. Sometimes I do things just because I know it's going to make somebody smile and that's okay. But if I'm doing something for other people and saying yes out of fear of rejection or If I'm doing something because of what I'm making it mean about me, just kind of check in with self and just see what's going on. So I will be putting the list of all of those benefits to saying no in the show notes so that you can print it off. You could slap it on your mirror. You could make it the wallpaper of your phone, do whatever it is that you need to do to remind yourself and kind of activate that part of your brain so that you can remind yourself of what the positive consequences are when you're able to feel into your body and decide if it's a wholehearted yes. Or not. It will help to minimize your fight or flight response and help you to choose it more proactively. And also I've said it here on the podcast before and I will say it again, but remember that you're going to feel uncomfortable no matter what. That is just a part of the human experience. So you're either going to be feeling uncomfortable because you're doing something that you don't want to do, or you're going to be feeling uncomfortable because you're telling somebody no. But whatever form of discomfort you choose into, make sure that you're choosing it on purpose and with an open heart where you're willing to accept, radically accept any of the consequences that come about because of that choice. And Hey, if you would like a little bit more support than what could be offered in one podcast episode, I encourage you to come and work with me. I do have some more spots opening up for next month and I would love to work with you. All right. I hope you have the best day and let's talk soon. Bye now.