Do you ever sit back and take a hot sec to meditate on what you would be doing with your life if someone handed you a big fat permission slip to your fullest potential?
I mean…whoa, right?
Maybe you have no clue what your fullest potential even looks like, and that’s A-OK – I think we’re all works in progress for always and that’s a journey in and of itself to figure out. But really…have you ever thought about it? What your life would look like if you didn’t have a SINGLE excuse, limiting belief, human being or other border fencing you inside where you’re currently at, be that mentally, emotionally, or physically?
We get really good in life at blaming others for what we feel is a lack of progression in our own lives. I get it, because I’ve #BeenThereDoneThat. And sometimes, we’re right, and there IS a big fat roadblock between us and where we want to go or be next.
But other times, WE are our own roadblock. It’s all in our head.
Those times, we’re waiting for permission, as if someone is going to validate our journey, our desires, our goals by giving us $200 for passing go and not stopping.
But if you’re waiting for someone else’s permission, you’re waiting for an imaginary golden ticket that might never come. It’s time to…
“Give yourself permission.”
When I was at RISE in July, it was like a lightbulb went off. Y’all, don’t laugh at me BUT…I thought I needed Rachel Hollis’ permission to go out and dream big dreams and do big things. I thought all of the change I wanted to see in my own life would come because I had a front row ticket to have Rae Rae Hollis say it to my face, quite literally. But really, I needed to give MYSELF permission.
It wasn’t my husband, or my baby, or my best friend, or my third cousin twice removed that was holding me back from my greatest, fullest potential. And it wasn’t Rachel Hollis that needed to bless my dreams to make them worthy of dreaming.
It was me.
In my head, I had built up walls and limits and then projected them onto other people as if it were their fault that I “couldn’t” do this or because of them that I wasn’t doing that, and it was all a bunch of bullcrap made up in my head.
We do that, don’t we?
We make excuses.
We start to shrink, because we’re used to fitting into boxes and places that other people make for us, or that we’ve unknowningly made for ourselves because it feels more comfortable that way.
We create comfort zones accidentally and then call it “selflessness” for our families or friends when really, we’re just waiting deep down for someone to say GO FOR IT ALREADY, GIRLFRIEND!
At the end of the day, I think it’s for one real reason alone: We’re scared.
We’re scared of our full potential, because reaching a new level of “success” in whatever world we live in feels different and unknown compared to the comfortable place we’re at now. And stepping into that unknown can be just as scary – if not moreso – than going backwards. Because at least backwards feels familiar since it’s somewhere we’ve been before.
So instead of going for it – you know, really going for IT – we stay still.
We go through our day-to-day waiting for someone else’s encouragement to trump the what-if’s and self-doubts that blare in the speaker in our brains. Because somehow it feels more significant or matters more if someone else gives us that permission or validation to pursue our deepest desires.
And we call it “fear of failure,” but that’s not really it either.
We’re not afraid of failing, because we can fail time and time again in the comfort of our own homes behind closed doors without a care in the world. From the days of learning to walk as a baby, we embraced failure for what it truly is: a stepping stone. Learning. Growing.
We’re not afraid of failing – we’re afraid of them seeing us fail.
Give yourself permission to fail as many times as you need to to get it right. If you’re constantly chained to others’ “Okay!” you’re constantly caged. And it’s impossible to be truly free when you’re dependent on everyone else’s opinions or validations or permissions. That goes for anything in life, really. Whether that’s a promotion you’re striving for at work, or the break you’re trying to get as a mama, or the bag you’re eyeing up at Nordstrom. If someone else’s permission slip bears more weight than the one you can write yourself, someone else will always control that piece of you.
Give yourself permission to pursue your dream, whether that’s being a stay-at-home mama of five in the countryside, or running a pediatric nursing unit in the middle of the city.
Give yourself permission to fail along the way, putting away your ego so that embarassment is a thing of the permanent past.
Give yourself permission to let others’ opinions matter less, so that your own truth can matter more.
We talked about this for a hot sec in last night’s CURation, but a brief illustration of this point might be in the skydiving adventure that J + I had this past weekend. A room full of strangers gathered as a total stranger explained how to properly skydive (indoors, so no jumping-out-an-airplane necessary, but still extreme nonetheless). She said you assume position and just trust fall into a wind tunnel of air blowing at 100 mph.
And the air will catch you. And you will fly.
And we all trusted her and just did it and – lo and behold – we flew.
What if we trusted our own gut and our own desires and our own everything as much as we trust complete strangers who tell us we won’t faceplant to our deaths in “trustfalling” into a 100 mph wind tunnel??
We’re quick to trust a stranger with a title because society gives us permission to put our life in their hands. Which is fine and dandy and makes sense when it’s something like skydiving or surgery, sure.
But why, then, do we still crave permission so often from other folks in life? Folks who matter SO MUCH LESS in our personal lives than we often think. Folks like our Aunt Patricia who like to not-so-kindly remind us at the Thanksgiving table that our dream to open a hair salon is stupid. Or Nancy Next-Door who likes to unnecessarily comment on the state of everything from our front yard to our porch decor. Or folks like the anonymous internet troll who keeps commenting on your pictures to tell you that they think you’re ugly.
Oftentimes, we give these asshats more credence than they’re worth. We take their words to heart instead of taking them with a grain of salt, and then we doubt the actual truths that are in our own hearts.
Give yourself permission to let others’ words go in one ear and out the other without letting them marinate in your brain, so that the only thoughts taking space are ones that will cultivate growth and goodness. At the end of the day, being truly confident means trusting your own gut, and your own everything.
Gretchen Weiners once said, “You wouldn’t buy a skirt without asking your friends first if it looks good on you.”
And none for Gretchen Weiners bye, because NO MORE are you stucking living a life of permission from other people to be your own best self. Apply for the job, run the race, hire the nanny, call the guy and buy the damn skirt already, because YOU say so.
And that’s enough.
How can you give yourself permission this week to be a better version of yourself?
Challenging you to write it out in a comment below, so that I can hold ya accountable. 😉