Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: Four Reasons to Give Yourself Permission
While the formal definition of the word is simply “to give consent; authorization”, the word itself instantly evokes an experience – of longing, fear, held breath, hope, anticipation, second thoughts, resentment, anger, joy.
Permission is a loaded word, and one heavily burdened by the heavily patriarchal, authoritarian society that underlies the independence we flatter ourselves that we possess.
If we are so independent, then why do we run around asking everyone who will stand still long enough to listen to us for advice – yet consistently fail to consult ourselves?
If we are so independent, then why do we so often talk ourselves out of the very experiences we most crave?
If we are so independent, then why do we feel enslaved to our phones, our televisions, our relationships, our careers, and our refrigerators?
If we are so independent, then why is it so difficult to trust ourselves with our own lives?
While we may think we know the meaning of the word “permission”, this does not necessarily translate into our ability to extend permission to ourselves, or to live out that permission, once granted.
This failure clearly points to a lesson we have yet to learn.
The lesson is that we are self-contained, that we possess all the wisdom and brilliance we will ever need already, that we are a trustworthy source of advice and guidance, and that we can and must learn to live quite successfully on as small or large a scale as our heart desires on the strength of no one else’s say-so but our own.
No two callings are alike, just like no two people are alike. As women, some of us may be called to serve as global mentors and leaders to ease humanity’s hurt and provide hope, while others of us may be called to tend carefully and completely to the needs of tiny yet essential communities called “families”.
What we need permission to do and become is not nearly as important to notice as the fact THAT we need permission to do and become whatever it is that we are called to be. And the fact that we need permission is not nearly as important as the recognition of whose permission we need and crave the most – our own.
Along the way to developing this understanding, however, we will have to do battle with our own mind before we can fully take in what our heart already knows – that we deserve, can and must gain our own permission in order to live the fulfilling, satisfying lives we dream of and deserve.
This week, for the sake of helping you to more quickly overcome your mind’s objections, I offer you these four simple reasons why you should give yourself permission.
Reason One: Because, ultimately, you require our own permission anyway before you will act.
Even if you have consulted your personal hero, your mentor, your therapist, and your spouse, and all have extended their permission to you to pursue a goal or take an action, as long as you personally remain undecided, even your best attempts to take action will remain half-hearted. The endless gathering of others’ opinions is merely an attempt to obtain your own. If you remain undecided, know there is a reason for it, and wait upon your heart until you are sure.
Reason Two: Because living a fulfilling life is all about becoming willing to take chances.
Usually if we are hesitant to grant permission to others or ourselves, it is because we are worried about failure. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work.” With this attitude, our own permission becomes much easier to obtain and trust, even if it takes 10 or 10,000 tries to achieve our goal.
Reason Three: Because trust and friendship is only built through action.
The act of granting permission is at its core an act of trust and friendship. It is a lonely life indeed if we go through it a stranger and distrustful observer towards ourselves. We can learn a lot here from watching how we are with our young children and pets. We know they are likely to piddle on the couch or carpet the first several (or several hundred) times we try to potty train them, yet we extend our permission over and over so that they may become willing and encouraged to try again until they succeed. Each time, we trust and believe that this will be the time they master the task. In the same way, if we want to ever experience trust and friendship with ourselves, we must extend our permission again and again, no matter how many tries it takes us to learn.
Reason Four: Because we already have our own permission.
While we may spend the rest of the day arguing with ourselves about how to spend the hours once we have arisen in the morning, the fact that we woke up and got out of bed speaks volumes about the permission we have already granted to ourselves to live, to make mistakes, to stretch and strive, to learn and to grow. It makes little sense to exercise the extreme courage it takes to get up and face a new unknown day, yet withhold permission to face a new unknown task, challenge, or opportunity. We already have our own permission – now we just need to grasp hold of it and use it.
With much love,
If you find that you are struggling to grant yourself permission, or to act on your own permission once granted, then Southlake Center can help. Our professional, caring, and highly trained staff has spent more than 20 years supporting individuals just like you to say “no” to staying stuck in the sense of fear and limitation and “yes” to stepping out into the light of your highest potential. Learn more about the many individual and group programs and services we can offer at www.southlakecounseling.com.