Monday, 1 June 2015
What I Know About the Art of Internal Permission
Over the last few years I have given myself a delicious amount of internal permission. This has only served to make it more clear to me just how many people are walking around with a deficit of that stuff, and that saddens me. In the end, only you can give yourself the green light for living the life you desire, speaking your mind and owning your dreams. You can delay for years, but eventually you need to face the fact that only you can sign that all-important permission slip and just get going in the right direction.
I happen to love that popular meme which so often does the rounds in cyberspace: 'If you've been waiting for a sign - this is it!' When I first started talking and writing about life, love, laundry, my own experiences and the tools I've acquired as an intuitive spiritual counsellor, I hoped that something I put out there into the wide unknown could be that sign for someone else. I still hope for that, and when someone tells me that something I said or wrote just seemed to come along at the right time, few things make me feel more connected to the universe! Since there are so many people out there who lack a sense of true self-determination, my hope is that this blog post can act as the much-needed sign for those who have been patiently waiting..
In the spirit of connection, synchronicity and the sacred link between the two, let's begin..
A true sense of internal permission can really only come when you have released any tendency to seek permission externally. If you find yourself asking other people if they think it's ok for you to change careers, get a divorce or wear a dress with a plunging neckline then you're really relying on their 'yay or nay' to give you a sense of what's appropriate. Authentic living can never come from this kind of interaction with other people. You will end up becoming a pastiche of the beliefs, personalities and expectations of those around you. Along with that, you also risk having shallow connections with those people. How can they truly get to know you if your actions and decisions depend entirely on their approval? If you've noticed that you've been running your life choices past someone else, here are a few things to consider..
How would you describe the relationship you have with that person (or group of people)? Does it make you happy? Would you associate it with resentment, anxiety or insecurity? Would you say that it feels equal? Remember that these questions are not intended to make you resent the other person. In all fairness, you have been playing into the dynamic too - it isn't a one-way street. But it might be high time to ask yourself if the connection is actually healthy for you and what you can do to make some positive changes.
What does the relationship remind you of? Does it seem to mimic an old pattern which existed between you and a sibling or primary caregiver? Is it reminiscent of something from a long time ago? Old habits die hard! You may need to accept that until the original relationship dynamic is fully understood and released, you will keep repeating the same stuff with other people in your life.
Start small. If you've been asking the same person for permission for years, just start to become more conscious of times when you're on the cusp of doing that and pull back. Make your choice without asking them what they think you should do. It will feel weird at first but practice makes perfect.
Ok, and another thing -
Not everyone will appreciate your autonomy.
If I have learned anything about internal permission it is that it doesn't always serve other people's purposes. Seriously, some people will be downright pissed off that you dared to stop reading the carefully edited script - the invisible script that they handed to you a long time ago and which you are supposed to have an undying commitment to.
This applies to your interactions with strangers too! Giving yourself permission to live your life your way will occasionally clash with other people's sense of propriety and acceptability, or even just their personality! You may well rub someone's shadow side up the wrong way!
Be prepared for things to change in some of your relationships as you begin to give yourself permission to do, say, wear, reject or pursue things in ways which, up until this point, seemed too scary to contemplate. Certain people get used to the way you are. When you start to be more authentic after months/years of upholding a persona, you are not necessarily aligning with their personal agenda anymore. Don't get me wrong, some people will cheer you on from the sidelines with their hearts full of love! But be prepared for some people to be disgruntled, eager to question you or disheartened enough to walk out of your life.
But you know what?
Many things can be resolved with a good old chat. Communication is the key to so many near misses when it comes to relationship breakdowns of any kind. You may find that you need to show compassion to someone who is alarmed by the new life choices you're making. Perhaps they are just shocked and feel the need to check in with you. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're being judgemental, so try not to leap to that conclusion without exploring first. Offer to calmly engage in a dialogue. This is your chance to hear their concerns. It's also your opportunity to show them that you are more than happy with your new approach to life - overjoyed, in fact! They will be able to see that in your body language. They will feel it in your energy. If their response is relief and delight, all the better. But if they try to tear you down, you are within your rights to take some distance from them.
You deserve to have relationships that are based on authenticity. Your truth matters. Your sense of entitlement to live your life the way you want to matters. How important can a connection really be if you have to consistently sacrifice your own tastes, opinions, ambitions and desires to maintain it?
Healthy connections should always include room for both people to change. We are constantly discovering, adapting and evolving. Although we don't always change and grow at the same time and in the same way, we should all be able to identify with the urge towards transformation. Your life moves in crazy waves. Sometimes the seas are calm and sparkling. Sometimes they're full of storms and whirlpools. Choose people who will respect your natural tides and changes as you respect theirs in return. Sure, sometimes two people change to the point of being unable to play the same role in each other's lives and that's ok. But it doesn't always have to come to that. When we connect with our ability to empathise and to celebrate each other's metamorphoses, we can allow our connections to shift without breaking the bonds. If a 'goodbye' is necessary though, it should honour the history and significance of the connection.
You will feel vulnerable. That's part of the path of intentional growth. You are going to feel like you're walking around naked for a while as you let your innermost desires dictate the terms. If you've been stuck in the same old pattern for years and you've finally broken the ropes and started running towards the open horizon, it's going to feel weird. Glorious but weird. Expect that. Be cool with that. Enjoy it if possible! All too soon it's going to be your reality and you'll forget that fresh feeling of being real for the first time, so relish it!
Remember that internal permission isn't something that necessarily spans across all areas of a person's life. You might find that you're usually pretty self-governing and good at making, owning and enforcing your decisions. But perhaps there's one key sticking point - something you've been trying to scrape together the courage to act on for years without success.. It's ok to acknowledge your Achilles' heel. If you've found one, fear not! Take a look at whereabouts you tend to exhibit the most autonomy in life. How do you feel when you're carving your own path, making your own choices? Close your eyes and connect with the emotions and energies.. Also connect with your sense of deep entitlement. If you're kicking arse and making strong moves in life, you must feel that you are entitled to do that, right? Well, that's what you need to tap into - that feeling of entitlement. Then, transfer it to the area which is marred by a lack of internal permission.
Don't fall prey to emotional reasoning, Poptart!
When you try to reason your way through a situation using your emotions as indicators, you are basically giving them way too much power! Emotions are incredible, but they are not always a good barometer for the truth! Just because you feel embarrassed and stupid doesn't mean that you're a bumbling idiot who should never be allowed out in public. Just because you feel jealous doesn't mean you have any reason to be. Just because you feel lost and confused doesn't mean that life is pointless or that the universe is out to get you!
Sometimes you have to give yourself internal permission in spite of your emotions. You might be struggling with impostor syndrome as you consider starting your own business, for example. But upon inspection you will realise that many successful biz owners across many fields have stated for the record that they struggle with impostor syndrome. You know what, they carry on regardless! It's common and it doesn't mean you shouldn't start a business! It's all just part of the challenge.
Give some thought to whereabouts you might be letting your emotions dictate the terms.. One small act of internal permission can be enough to give you the momentum you need.
That's all for now, and remember - upsetting the apple cart from time to time is a small price to pay for your heart and soul to be free and your life to be your own.
Take it from someone who knows.
Archive treasures you might enjoy:
Connecting with Your Personal Power
The Essence of a Beginning
Saying Goodbye to Your Tale of Woe
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