ow much of your life is held hostage by a maybe? Maybe I will get to that, maybe I like that, maybe I can do that. “I will think about that” is a maybe too. Maybe later. I consider most of our maybes as another way of saying I don’t know, and another way of putting life on hold.
Of course, at times saying maybe and sitting on the fence is the exact nonaction we need to take. But studies show for example that sitting on the fence too long in a relationship (beyond six months) can cause more distress and confusion. Better to just decide and live with the decision of no or yes. How many times have you heard others say, “I just feel so much better having made the decision”?
Our Future and Creativity Stunted by Maybes
Lingering too long in the maybe realm is detrimental to our creativity. Think of it as a foundational aspect to your creative life: how can you build from a maybe? When we remain in a maybe for a prolonged stint of time, we become uninspired. Our clutter often represents maybes.
Our maybes at their best are our future possibilities. But they remain only that — a thought of a possibility — and result in a sort of sleepwalking. An enduring lack of inspiration can lead to giving up, addiction, depression, hopelessness, and helplessness. It can also create a dependency on outside circumstances to make change possible.
Thus, you want to become more and more conscious of what you are saying yes to, no to, and maybe to; and bring these out in the open. Often we keep our commitments or possible commitments to ourselves, reluctant to put it out there where others may hold us accountable.
We want to be ready, willing, and able to change our maybe to no or yes. This generates movement, inspiration, creativity, and confidence. Become clear on what you are saying maybe to, yes to, and no to, and witness the movement you desire.
Maybe, No, Yes
Is there anything lingering in your life (like a long winter) that begs for a jolt of energy? Does it seem that an internal winter is also lasting too long? If so, here is a simple way to do some internal spring cleaning that will generate positive movement in your life.
Don’t wait on the external thaw or the yes from someone else to make those desired strides in your life. If you want to receive the big yes from the outside world (Yes, we want to publish your book; Yes, I want to exhibit your art; Yes, I want to spend some time with you; Yes, you are accepted into the school or organization), first you have to clean out the clutter of the maybes that are holding you back. You have to be willing to turn your maybes into nos or yeses.
Maybes should be a temporary oasis, not a place to set up camp. For example, if you are in a maybe relationship, you will not want to be on the fence for too long because the stress and dishonesty that results is far more painful and destructive than the open yes or no. Take out your journal and make three lists; a list of what you are saying no to, a list of your maybes, and a list of what you are saying yes to.
- Start with the maybes. Take some time to make a list of everything you are saying maybe to. This includes all the things you are undecided about; the things about which you think we’ll see, kinda, sort of, I’m thinking about it, it’s a consideration, perhaps, could be, or I’ll get back to you. Even the unused clothes in your closet or the unfinished art projects in your studio — all of these things go on your maybe list. (As a writer I hold myself hostage by a list of “maybe ideas” — maybe that is something I will write about.). Consider all the different areas of your life — personal, vocational, physical, spiritual, financial, artistic, relational, and so forth.
- Next, turn your maybes into either a no or a yes. Start with the nos. Decide what you are not going to give your time and energy to. Go beyond just writing your nos down; do what you need to do to dissolve your commitment (and resulting energy drain) to this possibility. I sometimes say no to an idea by making a statement of gratitude for having the idea in the first place and then releasing it back out to the cosmos for someone else to follow up on.
- Finally, get clear and open about what you are saying yes to. This asks you to be conscious of what you are truly committing yourself to — be it a relationship, creative endeavor, or spiritual pursuit. Come out in the open with what you say yes and no to. And for those lingering maybes, give them a deadline. Choose a date, or event, not too far into the future, where you will decide yes or no. By cleaning out the maybes and being clear about what you say no to, you have made room for the yeses in your life, and you will find an immediate increase in energy and inspiration around your commitments. Be intentional and conscious about your yeses.
- Keep your yeses conscious and active by reviewing them regularly and taking action on them.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Destiny Books,
a division of InnerTraditions Intl. ©2013. www.innertraditions.com
The Zero Point Agreement: How to Be Who You Already Are
by Julie Tallard Johnson.
About the Author
A licensed psychotherapist and creative writing teacher, Julie Tallard Johnson has kept journals since the age of sixteen discovering how the writer and spiritual path are one and the same. She has spent the last thirty years working with individuals and groups to help them discover a spiritual practice that brings them a sense of purpose and happiness. The author of many books for teens including Teen Psychic, Spiritual Journaling, The Thundering Years, I Ching for Teens and Making Friends, Falling in Love, which was recognized by the New York Public Library as one of the best books for teens, she lives in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Visit the author's web site at www.Julietallardjohnson.com