Permission To

This exercise is about giving yourself permission. Literally write on a piece of paper what you grant yourself permission to do. Tack it up on your wall. Put it in your pocket. Stick it wherever it will remind you that you said this was okay.

Why do we do this? There are different parts of ourselves that have different opinions, values, and sets of information. Take a moment to connect to the center of yourself – not the ego-inflated part that’s all puffed up, and not the beaten-down part that’s smaller than you. Connect to the most real center of yourself. Take all of the other parts into account, but don’t let them run the show. Thank them for pushing you forward and keeping you safe, and assure them you got this covered. Settle the dispute between all these different parts of yourself, then document the result by writing it down.

When you write things down and put them in a place where you will be reminded, you help quiet those voices of the different parts of yourself. Otherwise, they can run amok, chattering up your mind and keeping you in a near constant state of distraction about what you should be putting your energy towards. So that’s why, but what is it to grant yourself permission to do? Envy is a surprisingly good place to start looking. We envy the people who are doing or being someone we ourselves wish we were. Probably the very first person you thought of already. I know, I know, it’s not a convenient or pretty place to look within yourself. If you’ve already thought of someone, go with them, even if you don’t “like” the answer – especially if you don’t like the answer.

Don’t have anyone yet? Take a moment. Breathe into the feelings. See if you can summon the physical sensation of envy. It’s a bit different than jealousy. Jealousy is about someone taking away something that you view as yours. “That bitch stole my boyfriend!” is jealousy. “That bitch is prettier or better in bed than me!” is envy. I’m not inviting you to be any more envious than you already are. Those kinds of comparisons are joy killers. But in the places where envy spikes up, it can be a useful guide forward to learn what kinds of things you’re denying yourself. Then – go grant yourself permission to have them.

Still don’t have anybody in mind? Perhaps you can think of qualities in others that you admire. Courage, confidence, ability to show vulnerability, willingness to take a risk in business or in love. For men, you’re encouraged to never display weakness, so the hardest things to give yourself permission for is having or, God forbid, showing emotions. Is there an emotion you’d like to give yourself permission to feel? It could be anger, sadness, grief – any of the dark ones. Those are hard to feel and you’re extraordinarily brave for granting yourself permission to feel them. You might also grant yourself permission to feel the light feelings – love, happiness, joy,