The times have changed.
I can no longer contort myself into strange pretzels of consent in order to avoid a simple and strong NO.
"No" pisses people off.
The reality is that people aren't all that dissimilar from toddlers and "No" also makes all of us feel a sense of safety and security. The edges are clearly defined. If we wait to issue our needs until we are perilously close to falling off the cliff of our own boundaries, we seldom offer them with mindful clarity. If instead we pony up and say NO at the onset, we can define our parameters with strength and a no nonsense kindness.
"No. You can't have my phone number."
"No. It's not okay for my son to come home at midnight when we agree to a 9:30 arrival."
"No. I won't clean up your emotional shit because you are unwilling to acknowledge it."
My practice has been YES, but NO can actually deepen YES when it is fully integrated and deeply lived.
"YES to life, because I trust myself to say NO when necessary".
"YES to love because I trust myself to show up with integrity."
Every solid yes is supported by an authentic capacity for NO.
It turns out that YES and NO aren't mutually exclusive, they and mutually required.
Yet another of life's little paradoxes that defies our human tendency toward either/or.