Focus on Relationship #2 -- Yes and No in Relationship

Do you want your life to be “under control”? (Which means, of course, your control!)

September 15, 2021

Do you want your life to be “under control”? (Which means, of course,  your control!)

In a recent Community Call, we began investigating how the desire for control affects relationships. It became clear to the group that we often try to control our relationships by saying “No.”

In many areas of life, saying “No” is a good strategy – when a situation is becoming unpleasant, uncomfortable or even dangerous. (Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug campaign motto, “Just Say No,” was good advice.) Saying “No” to bullying, domination or divisiveness is probably a good choice. Our group saw, though, that mischief arises when we use “No” to exert control in relationships. We noticed that “No” can damage or even end a relationship – a high price to pay for the control that “No” gives us.

So our conversation about control morphed into a conversation about the power of “Yes” and “No” in relationships. Perhaps it’s not a gross oversimplification to say that “No” tends to pull us out of relationship and “Yes” tends to draw us into relationship.

But what if someone else is saying “No” to the relationship that you desire?

One person stunned the group by saying that she has brought new possibilities to her relationship with her ex-husband, by accepting that he was saying “No” to the relationship she desires. Recently, as she put it, she was saying “Yes” to his “No” – and that has had the relationship go places “where I had not imagined it could go.”

So, even in the face of another person’s “No,” your “Yes” can open the door to relationship.

Is there a place in your life where saying “Yes” might open unimagined possibilities of relationship? It’s a bold experiment, replacing “No” with “Yes.” If you try that experiment, we would love to hear about it.

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