WITI PERSONAL GROWTH
Give Yourself Permission!
What is it that you are doing in you life right now that you would like to stop doing?
What is it that you are not doing in your life that you would like to be doing?
What is it that you don't have in your life right now that you would like to have?
What is stopping you, or getting in the way of your doing or having these things?
Most of us, when we look at what gets in our way, look to external factors (e.g., time, money, opportunity, obligation). But, for the next few moments, I invite you to explore with me the possibility that you are not doing and having what you want in your life simply because you are waiting for someone else to give you "permission." How might your life be different if you came to accept that you don't need to get permission from someone else but instead can learn to give it to yourself?
Most of us are taught very early in life to ask for "permission" before taking action. For example, we are taught to ask permission to leave the table, go out and play, cross the street, speak up in class, borrow the car, go on a date, etc. Even as adults most of our personal and interpersonal actions are based on permissions. When what we want to have or do will significantly affect others around us, then certainly it is reasonable for us to seek their permission before proceeding. But many times we consciously or unconsciously seek permission from others because:
Case Study 1. Joan was working at a job, and in an environment, she despised. She desperately wanted to quit but had convinced herself she had a thousand practical reasons why she couldn't. She dragged herself to work each day, but over time began experiencing several unpleasant physical symptoms. Her back hurt, her stomach hurt, she couldn't sleep, her weight was increasing. She finally went to her doctor who told her, after a thorough physical exam in which he could find no physiological basis for her complaints, that the stress of her job was destroying her health and that she could not expect significant improvement unless she quit. Within a week Joan had given notice. Although she was not consciously aware of it at the time, she eventually realized that what had moved her to action was that her doctor, by his "diagnosis", had given her the "permission" she needed to feel comfortable doing what she really wanted to do.
Case Study 2. Linda is divorced, self-supporting, and makes a good income. She loves beautiful china and purchased ten place settings in her favorite pattern two years ago. Although she enjoys entertaining and frequently holds dinner parties for her friends, she never uses her good china. The reason? While she had been able to give herself permission to buy "nice things" she has never been able to give herself permission to actually use them and risk breaking them.
Case Study 3. Sue has a very successful career in the high technology industry. She enjoys her highly technical job and does it well, but feels there is something missing. She has always secretly loved the idea of landscape painting. She had painted some as a child but gave it up when the requirements of adult life pressed in upon her. She wished that she could start painting again, and even fantasized about one day becoming a successful painter. But Sue was held back because she was afraid she might not be very good at it - that she might "fail." Because no one was telling her she ought to paint, and because she was unable to give herself permission to paint, she did not paint.
The common thread that runs through all of the above factual stories is the "truth" that while much of the time we may know what we want to do or have in our lives, we often find ourselves drawn to look outside ourselves for the permission to pursue it. Think of how differently each of the above scenarios would have unfolded if the women involved had been able to give themselves "permission."
If Joan had been able to give herself permission to quit her job she would not have had to manifest the physical symptoms necessary to get the permission she needed from her doctor.
If Linda had given herself full permission to have, use, and break nice things, she would be enjoying her beautiful china with her friends.
If Sue had been able to give herself permission to experiment with her life, she would have been able to joyfully express her creativity through her painting and explore where her passion might lead.
The message is simple but powerful. You don't always need to seek the permission of others. It is OK to own your own power and Give Yourself Permission!
What is your point of view? Please post your thoughts on the discussion board.