Once during a high stress period in my life, I found myself racked with anxiety over the pressure I felt to do something that I just did not really want to do. Navigating the stress of not meeting expectations when I had a lifetime of being a good girl under my belt was eating at me and so I scheduled an appointment with a therapist.
When I shared all the details she looked at me with such gracious kindness and said, “of course, you don’t have to do that. Your body is telling you everything you need to know about the fact that this isn’t a fit for you and, intellectually, you knew that you were right. Now, you just need to give yourself that permission.”
She then walked over to her printer, grabbed a piece of paper, and said,
“I want you to write yourself a permission slip that you do not have to do this or anything that doesn’t feel right.”
Before I lost my nerve, I grabbed her paper, and wrote, “I give myself permission to use my cues and intuition to guide me to the decisions and experiences that are best for me without worrying about what is expected of me by someone else who doesn’t know my whole” and then dated and signed it.
My therapist signed it as a witness and I tucked that permission slip into my purse, a constant reminder in the following weeks that I did not, in the words of my beloved Mary Oliver, “have to be good” but I did need to be true.
I was reminded of this permission slip the other day when I was talking to a new friend about her work experience and she was talking about how it took her a little while to move from one profession to another even though she had long known that the old profession was no longer for her. Even with that knowledge, the old profession had been her childhood dream and she wasn’t sure that leaving it was right. Was she abandoning her dreams or had she just outgrown her dream and found another one? Ultimately, after lots of consideration, she realized that she was growing and that her old career no longer served her needs. She gave herself permission to leave her childhood dream, acknowledging that she had actually fulfilled it even if it wasn’t the last profession she would ever have.
Ever since that conversation, the idea of permission has been circling in my mind.
What do I dare give myself permission to dream? To consider? To do?
What am I too scared to give myself permission to consider?
What permission do I most need right now?
How can I harness that permission into my power?
Are you aching for permission in your life? How can you offer it to yourself? Start now by declaring your intention on paper, tuck into your bag, and watch as you expand into the possibility it offers.