PROMPT # 13
A huge part of psychoanalytic thought is an acknowledgement of a continuum. At its essence, psychoanalytic thought prescribes to the idea that there are two opposing forces, or poles, and these are always in balance. I like to think of the continuum in two different ways. Defining the poles, as psychotic and neurotic, or a simple noticing that while one side might seem heavily weighted, whatever that is, things will shift to find balance. In short, if I created a prompt about NO yesterday, there will be one about YES today.
One of the tasks of a psychotherapist is to hold down the other pole for patients when things become off balance. This is usually done by getting really good at seeing things from a wide and narrow focus simultaneously. Perspective is a huge part of the science. Like anything else, this requires skill building and hours. I like looking at working with patients this way. It's a very macro view and one I like to reflect on when things get very specific and we are getting lost in the minutia. YES and NO are really good examples of a type of continuum or set of poles. The piece I love to point out and think about is that the finality of the YES and the finality of the NO are actually very small parts of the continuum. If we are looking at YES and NO as a model, then there is a whole lot of grey area in between. Exciting!
As you can imagine, saying YES can take just as much skill building and practice as saying NO. And with both you want to shoot for somewhere in the middle ground of the continuum. Not much good can from from being either a 100% YES or a 100% NO person. If you struggle with one, it can be worthwhile to think about the feeling you get when you hit a 100% NO or a 100% YES moment. I'll use Disneyland as an example, as it seems to be a place that polarizes opinion. If someone were to ask me if I wanted to go to Disneyland I would be 100% YES. No doubt in my mind, I'm 100% on board the second the words leave my lips. I know that certainty. I can feel it in my bones. It is the same intensity that I look for when I am 100% NO about something. If you feel the opposite way, then you can use that 100% NO as a gauge to match the intensity of feeling 100% YES.
I'll share three different YES based daily practice ideas with you today, along with a more standard These Three Things prompt related to saying YES. Choose whichever gives you the feels. Just start somewhere.
1. Get imaginative. Record one thing a day that you would like to say 100% YES to. It can be reality based or fiction. Maybe you want to sing in front of an audience? Learn how to rock climb? Be fluent in Japanese? Learn how to make Sourdough bread? Go out on a date with Harry Styles? All good things. What do your 100% YES moments look like. Have fun!
2. Say YES to one thing each day. Just one. Whether it is taking another lap, eating another cookie, reading one more chapter. Make it a YES. Keep track of how it feels. See if there are patterns.
3. Sorta kinda YES. Find your middle. Remember the continuum? There is a lot of grey areas between the two opposing poles of YES and NO. Explore some of that grey area. record what you are feeling sorta YES to. Maybe between 55-75% YES. Think about what it would take for that sorta YES to turn into a solid YES. Maybe you want to plan a trip to Joshua Tree in an Airstream. But you need an Airstream. Airstream makes it 100% YES. Record one a day, or a few as they come. See how it feels to know exactly what is separating you from a 100% YES.
YES Related Prompt
Name three instances where you said YES or you witnessed someone say YES where you thought, DAMN that's good. I'll begin.
1. Collaboration is super fun and I've had the most incredible experiences collaborating with fellow Bay Area creatives. A few years ago, I was approached by a woman on Instagram who wanted me to create a line of jewelry for a personal project she was creating. I was in a place of turning a lot of things down due to time, but we agreed to meet, because I just had a feeling. That was such a huge YES! The project was one of the most personally fulfilling collections I've had the chance to work on as a designer and I made a new incredible friend. YES for the win.
2. YES to chaos. Some of you are familiar with our dog Sherman. He has a bit of a cult status these days due to his unusual prance and super cute face. He's the sweetest dog in the universe and when we decided to rescue him, there were more NO moments than YESES. He was abused so badly as a newborn puppy that at barely 8 weeks old he already was malnourished with a bad case of fleas and multiple parasitic infections. It was a chaotic time for us. The dude and I were trying to get pregnant after about a million loses, and our dog, my girl Stella, was dying. The Dude was at a work meeting when a coworker handed him this fluffy ball of fur. The Dude sent me a photo on a flip phone and asked, what do you think? There were a million reasons not to get another dog at the time. Sherman needed a lot of help and basic medical care would be expensive at the start. We had costs with Stella, and of course doctors and fertility with me. As we were going back and forth about it, the Dude said, "Let's just embrace the chaos." So we did. And Sherman has been with us for the past 11 years. In the process he's lost two girlfriends, been our daughter's protector, and the grumpy old man to yet another girlfriend. He's still got a lot of issues, but he's happy and makes us so grateful for that one YES.
3. The Dude and I moved in together when I was 21 and he was 24. Babies! We were never going to get married. Never going to have kids. Never going to move out of the city. Never going to drive an SUV. Never going to go to Disneyland. Guess which one of those we have said YES to. All. Not All NOs and YESES are set in stone. And that's a good thing.
What did you learn today? Join me by using the #thesethreethings and commenting below with your own These Three Things. I want to hear what you are learning, laughing about, and living through."