When “Yes” Became My “No”: How a Little Word-Switch Changed Everything for Me.

I was a weird kid growing up, but my ability to assert myself by saying “No” to things never allowed anyone to dictate to me how to run my life – it kept bullies away and allowed me to mix in with nearly every crowd.  Learning the importance of saying “No” allowed me to control the amount of influence any of these people could ultimately have on me.

“No” became important to survival for a very long time.  Then I began to notice something.  While saying, “No” became a great tool to keep people at bay, it did little to free me from the boundaries I had unconsciously been setting for myself.


On my search for a different mindset, a particular John Lennon lyric stayed in my mind,  “Yes, is the answer,” from his 1973 song, Mind Games.  I didn’t quite understand the full meaning of that line until I discovered its origins.

The story goes that Lennon famously met Yoko Ono for the first time at one of her art shows.  One of her art pieces was a ladder that one would have to climb.  Above the ladder was a board hanging from the ceiling and from it hung a magnifying glass.  When Lennon got to the top he saw a minuscule word printed in black against the plain board and it read, “Yes”.

That message reached him; it sparked something in me too.  I interpreted that “Yes” as a confirmation that the hard work of climbing the ladder pays off, that though our journey in life is filled with hardship and things we cannot comprehend … there is a purpose.

This short story made me want to understand the power of that word, which brought with it affirmation and acceptance rather than rejection.  Soon I discovered that “Yes” was a much more powerful tool for carving a space for myself into this world than “No”.  This is because “Yes” operates from the inside out, not the other way around.  It is not beholden to the constant shifts and changes in external stimulus.  It forces me to accept that things around me are never going to be exactly how I wish them to be, but that my own mind, heart, and spirit are much easier to manage.

I became a bonafide “Yes Man” – not to be confused with someone who agrees with anything someone else says or does, but as someone who allows himself to agree and accept how he himself sees the world.

Yes, I am going to think this way!

Yes, I am going to love this way! 

Yes, I am going to keep my distance from elements which are unfruitful to me. 


Soon I realized that my “Yeses” covered my “Nos” too, and quite effortlessly.

No longer did I have to waste time with certain people and later have to say, “No, you can’t treat me like that.”  Instead, I said to myself, “Yes, this is who I am.  If you are not on the same wavelength, then so be it.”

Guess what?

Those people began to turn away without my help.

Being a “Yes Person” is like being an automated vetting factory for weeding out useless people.

Instead of having to repeat, “No, I don’t like people that lie,” to liar after liar after liar,  I began saying only once, “Yes, I like honest people,” and have repelled most of the liars before they get too close.

Instead of sulking and saying, “No, this is not the right time for this,” I affirm that “Yes, I will manage through this storm and be ready to take on the world in no time at all.”

“Yes” is the answer for me.  It taught me the futility of trying to change people and situations by rejection, and the power of attracting better situations, and more like-minded people by way of acceptance.

Are “Nos” necessary?  YESSSS!!!!  But in fewer amounts, as a single “Yes” usually washes away an army of “Nos” in its powerful wave.

I can call up “Yeses” at any time and any place, and the “Nos” reject me on sight.  My “Yeses” save me the dirty work of having to later exclude those “Nos” myself.  I am happier, less stressed, and more accepting of a world in which nothing will ever be exactly as I wish because I understand that “Yes, the world will always be less (or more) than I could ever imagine.”

P. Ray

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1 Response to When “Yes” Became My “No”: How a Little Word-Switch Changed Everything for Me.

  1. Pingback: The Art of Not Giving a Fuck – while still caring for others! | Brazusa's Blog

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