What is it about being a woman that sees us feeling the need to have permission for everything we do?
We are “allowed” to eat a piece of cake so long as our friends do too. We can’t be the only one to say yes or we fear being seen as greedy.
We are “allowed” take a day off from the gym so long as our husband / coach / friend confirms to us that’s ok to not work out today. If we dared to make that choice ourselves, we’d spend the day feeling guilt ridden and lazy.
We are “allowed” to sit down and have a rest when we are ill and the doctor tells us we need to. If we aren’t classed as ill and nearly dying, we feel it’s self-indulgent to sit and make time to relax.
We are “allowed” to get dressed up, do our hair and spend time on our make up on those rare occasions we are going out somewhere nice, but if we choose to wear our best dress, favourite shoes and posh handbag on a “normal” day we fear that we will be seen as decadent or showy.
We are “allowed” to like ourselves so that we wake up and care enough about how we act and how we look, but it can’t be too much or we fear we will be seen as conceited.
We are “allowed” to want happiness, but only as long as we don’t actually FIND happiness, because then we will risk losing that connection to those around us whom we share that we-are-friends-but-only-if-you-are-as-unhappy-as-me bond.
We are “allowed” to aspire to this notion of happiness, but not TOO much, because we may be seen as selfish, or even worse, seen by some as deluded.
Then when we do allow ourselves to make the changes needed in order to find our happiness, we are afraid to show it. Because we fear that our happiness will upset those around us who aren’t.
What if I told you; you don’t have to have permission for any of this. What if I told you, that you living with that constant search for permission slips, is the very thing that is holding you back in living the life that you TRULY want?
Can I just also let you know, that you accepting to live an existence rather than a life, or you staying in a job you hate, or you being in a relationship that stopped working years ago; none of these things will “offset” the bad stuff that happens in the world.
You choosing to stay in a unhappy state will not make others, happier.
If you decide that you want to follow your dreams. That will not mean that a child in Africa suffers more because you dared to want to improve your life.
We have this idea that God (or whoever you think is out there) will repay you for living a less than optimal life, that you will get a “tick” next to your name each time you neglect your own wishes for someone else’s.
Do you truly believe that suffering is rewarded?
I used to think that, I did those things too. I don’t know why really. But I did used to be a bit of a martyr, thinking that I needed to be unhappy and stressed out in order to show my worth. But not for any particular reason (now I recognise half of it was because I didn’t believe that I DESERVED to be happy).
Much for the same reasons, I felt I wasn’t “allowed” to be happy if other people were sad.
By this method of thinking, the world will be whole and the great one upstairs will only class us as a success once the entire world’s population is suffering and un-happy?
Sounds complete BONKERS to me now when I say that. I’m not hugely religious. I AM very spiritual. Call me woo if you want, but that’s who I am and I have my own reasons for my beliefs.
And I would be shocked, hugely shocked if that was the purpose for our world…
I do now believe that it’s in fact, the opposite. That each and every single one of us has a purpose, a gift that we have been given, something positive that we can bring to the world in our own unique way.
But we have to have the guts to be ourselves and live within our own truth, in order to find it.
There will always be bad, there will always be evil, there will always be suffering. Because at the end of the day, if there was no dark, we wouldn’t be able to experience the light.
If you are lucky enough to have a choice in how your life plays out, why waste it? When millions out there don’t have any real chance to seek their own vision of happiness, it could be argued that you are being more selfish by NOT seeking yours while you have that chance at your feet.
I’ve gone a bit off course here, as my original blog was about women and our incessant need to seek permission to do anything that makes us happy.
But yet we do not, ever, seek permission for things that make us suffer, we just to do those automatically.
We suffer gladly. And as a result the feeling of JOY has become foreboding.
Ever felt an overwhelming feeling of happiness, in the simplicity of watching your partner sleep, hearing your child laugh, taking in breathtaking scenery, only to find yourself imaging horrific scenes where it will all be ‘lost’ in a tragedy?
It’s EASIER to live in half-hearted, false joy. Because we aren’t vulnerable that way.
To push forward and pursue that life of your dreams brings with it an increased risk. “What if I lose it all?”
Brené Brown tells us to “embrace that vulnerability”. She tells us that we are becoming intolerant to vulnerability. I wholeheartedly agree. We are addicted to safe and secure. And safe and secure rarely encourages you to move forward and dream big. Safe and secure rarely brings with it the rewards that risk can.
We are addicted to asking permission. We are addicted to striving for acceptance.
No one is going to be waiting for you at the end to give you a shiny medal for suppressing yourself and your own dreams and happiness.
Whose permission are you asking for, really?
You are asking permission to LOVE yourself. You are asking permission to CARE for yourself. You are trying to find that one gold permission slip that says “It’s ok to be you” and “It’s ok to want to be happy”
Trust yourself to be the only one in your life who give you permission…
You have all the power.
“Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”.