- January 13, 2020
There was a time when preparing dinner in my house felt a little like preparing for battle. My then five-year-old daughter was ‘allergic’ to vegetables; if the colour green was visible on her plate, she would recoil in disgust. And the power battles would begin.
Devising the tricks to get her to ‘at least try’ her vegetables, was no mean feat. But I’m not one to back down easily. My methods were sly, sneaky and devious. They included anything from camouflage to bribes. But my daughter is surely her mother’s child, she had her own bag of tricks on hand to counter my moves. She would sneak her kale into the dog’s bowl, hide her peas on the window ledge behind the curtain and ‘accidentally’ knock her plate over right after she had was done with the ‘yummy’ stuff’.
One day, when I had had enough our mutually shady methods, I put it across to her, though not in so many complicated words, “Saying no before you even try your vegetables is denying your body something that you need in order to make you strong and healthy”. I said, “Besides”, I added, “You might actually love the veggies if you just tried them”.
Much to my amazement, one of my points, I’m not sure which one exactly, hit home. Because immediately after my little speech, we came to an agreement: When it came to food, saying no before trying was no longer going to be an option for either of us- whether it was vegetables or seafood. We would always try first before saying no. On several occasions she put me to task over this very rule and it was in fact, my daughter who got me to finally try oysters which I have now come to love by the way.
Since our ‘at least try’ conversation, my daughter has become very open-minded about food (and a lot of other things in fact). Today, she is talking more and more about becoming vegetarian.
With this simple vegetable incident, my daughter turned her ‘nos’ to ‘yeses’ and in turn, expanded her horizons and discovered a whole new world that she would otherwise have never cared for. Her ‘no’ might have seemed safe and comfortable at first but her yes led to growth, transformation and learning.
It’s a fact that many of us say no to the vegetables in our lives without ever trying them. Our default answer to life is “no”. We are afraid to ‘at least try’ and even prefer to choose suffering that is familiar over the potential of the unknown.
But saying yes to life and everything it encompasses is powerful. It moves you from ‘I can’t’ or ‘I wish’ to “I can,” and “I will.” When you say yes to life, you attract opportunities, you move forward, you bring in a new light and your circumstances change.
When you say no, you don’t have to fear failure or rejection and while this may be the safer and seemingly easier way out, it keeps you small, caged and stuck. Ultimately, it closes the doors to other possibilities that life has to offer you.