Give Yourself Permission

in Features

When you give yourself permission – the world truly does become your oyster!

We are taught at a very early age and stage in life that we need to ask permission for most things that we want to do. This, in itself, is no bad thing as it develops basic manners and respect for what is not ours and helps us understand boundaries. And we learn that we can’t have or do everything that we want. However, it also teaches denial which leads to self-denial. This again is not always a bad thing, but when it becomes unbalanced, we forget our own needs and rights and it leads to a breakdown in personal boundaries.

As we grow up, and we rightly respect the needs and rights of others, we develop adult responsibilities as to how we should behave in the world. Somehow, we learn that certain behaviours are frivolous or selfish and need to remain in the era of childhood. That we must not give in to whims or fancies as we have to make sure that we are acting in ways that are adult and sensible. We hear terms like ‘childish’ or ‘vivid imagination’, ‘fantasy land’ or ‘unrealistic’. So often, when someone wants to make a living as an artist or actor, sculptor or writer, they are told that it is unrealistic or irresponsible to do this, selfish even, and so they follow a more acceptable route and their sense of creativity gets lost in the mists of time.

The effect this often has is that we become anxious, depressed, frustrated, angry and out of sync with just about everything around us. Our relationships suffer because the relationship with ourselves is being suppressed. In order to communicate effectively with others we need to be able to communicate effectively with ourselves. If we cannot express ourselves effectively we become confused and out of touch with our innermost being. 

This is why the creative arts are widely used as therapy for mental health issues. People need to express themselves in a healthy way or they may become ill – mentally ill, or this manifests in physical illness.  It all comes full circle and creativity becomes therapy.  If only it was more openly celebrated in the first place, this would be less necessary. 

So, I believe we need to give ourselves permission! Giving yourself permission is a powerful and liberating thing to do but it is not easy. Particularly when giving ourselves permission to do something that we have been taught is ‘irresponsible’ ‘selfish’ ‘unrealistic’… and that we will probably fail.  By the time we have understood about giving ourselves permission, these judgements are so ingrained in us that we don’t need anyone else to remind us. We have that very powerful little voice sitting on the shoulder reminding us in no uncertain terms.  

However, once you understand this and you look a little deeper into the effects of not giving yourself permission to follow your dreams and your passions… you realise that the world as you want it to be will forever elude you and that you, and only you, can change that.  And to do so, you need to have permission. To be who you truly are you need your own permission… not someone else’s… but your own. And then you take the tentative steps to following through.  

You take a pencil and a notebook or journal and you date it and you write out:

“I ….. (name) give myself permission to……”. And you sign it! You may have to do this several times until you get comfortable with it …. Do it as many times as it takes. The twinges of discomfort are fantastic….. especially as they change into twinges of excitement that get stronger and stronger. And then you find that you have so much more energy and that your whole attitude to life begins to change.  You see beauty where you never saw it before… you notice people smiling and you smile back instead of scowling. You pick up the energy of children and get excited about simple things. You feel happy most of the time. You have lots of ideas in your head and you don’t need so much sleep. Getting up in the morning is exciting – in fact you get up earlier because you have things to do that you can’t wait to get started on!  You even begin to enjoy the day job… well maybe not entirely… but you find it much more bearable and not all bad!     

The world truly does become your oyster.  

So, identify the area of your life that has been denied and allow it space. Acknowledge it, own it and protect it.  It is this inner you that feeds the outer you and creates quality of life, not just for yourself, but for everyone close to you.  To give yourself permission in this way is probably one of the most unselfish things you can do in your lifetime.  When you give yourself permission you are sending out a very powerful message to others to do the same and so it becomes a truly win-win situation. Giving yourself permission to be who you are is a supremely unselfish and indeed responsible thing to do.

Kate Mchardy, MA(Hons) PGCE MSPH. Spiritual reader, Teacher and Healer, tel: 0044 7712889534

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