Thursday, August 30, 2012

Living in the House of Yes

I grew up hearing "NO" a lot. As much as I rebelled against the ideas that I can't have what I want, that deprivation is somehow noble, and that I certainly can't have it all, I internalized those ideas and lived them out for years and years.

Yet a part of me always knew it wasn't true. I think our true self wants to do it all, to be free, to explore and expand and its sane voice gets buried under all of these false ideas we learn from our parents and people around us who are in their own story about deprivation.

I remember my former girlfriend consciously beginning to say "Yes" to herself because she had learned and heard that "NO" so much in her upbringing. She began having as many beverages as she wanted at dinner. She took herself shopping and splurged. She began looking for all of the ways she could say "Yes" to herself and give herself what her parents had not given or been able to give her. It brought a spirit of abundance to her life in small and bigger ways, and by association, to mine.

Yet a part of me rebelled, even then. I thought she was overindulgent. It was unnecessary. I wasn't ready to say "Yes" like that yet. I was still in my old story.

Then I got to the place where I was done with that big bold NO. I decided I wasn't going to be deprived anymore of the love, sex, money, successes and life experiences I had kept away. Why keep doing that? It wasn't noble. It was miserable.

That deprivation rolls over into so many areas of your life. How you hold back and keep yourself in a state of starvation in your love relationships, in your daily living, in your work, in your creativity. It becomes a "treat" to do something you WANT to do. You tell yourself "I deserve it" as if you have to do something to earn it. But it's already yours. You just need to declare it and accept it. The universe is an abundant place. It doesn't set out to make you feel deprived.

This isn't to say every "yes" is a healthy "yes". You can overdo food, alcohol, drug use, the gym, socializing, technology, distractions. Sometimes you need to keep it simple. Stay home and connect to yourself. Manage your weight well. Not succumb to the addictions that plague you. Boundaries are important. And yet healthy boundaries can be set while not dropping down into the pits of deprivation that make you want hard and feel like you are suffering.

If you grew up in a family where there was a state of deprivation, there is no way you don't take on that deprivation story one way or another. It really plagues you when you keep people's love away and block yourself from having the closeness and kindness you really want to be able to give yourself. No one else will really be able to give it to you as long as you are bargaining with your own demons about having or not having.

Many of us did not grow up in the "House of Yes". I choose to live in that house as much as possible now. If you've ever done improv, you know the one rule is that when an offer is made, the answer is always "yes". "Yes, and... " No "buts". No blocking. Accepting, embracing.

What would it mean to start saying "Yes" to yourself and to the offers that are made to you? How could you live a fully expressed and experienced life in the "House of Yes" and possibility? How could you begin to truly embrace abundance and expansion in your life, relationships and sexuality? In your checking account? In your health? Where in your life do you need to start living in your "yes"?

Please comment and let us know on my blog!

Amy Jo Goddard thrives on helping people develop sexually empowered lives, deeper intimate relationships, more abundance and more pleasurable sex. A sexuality educator, trainer, author, performing artist and activist, she travels to colleges, universities, communities and conferences teaching workshops and speaking about sexuality. She has taught workshops at such schools as Barnard College, Princeton University, Vassar College, NYU, & Gallaudet University. A professional trainer of sexuality professionals, medical students, college students and youth for fifteen years, she has taught courses at the City University of New York and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Amy Jo is co-author of Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men and contributing Author of All About Sex, among other writings. She has worked in various women's and queer communities as an activist and advocate. Amy Jo maintains a private sex coaching practice and facilitates her six month sexuality program for women, The Sexually Empowered Life, in New York City. She can be found online at and

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