There's an undeniable freedom that comes with giving yourself permission.
I keep expanding that sentence and then deleting everything after "permission" because that short, possibly incomplete sentence truly sums it up. It's that simple: you give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling, to act upon what you're itching to do, or in some cases, to not do something. You've given yourself the power and justification to follow through. We, as humans, are our harshest critic. In fact, I think we stand in our own way more often than not. I know I am frequently guilty of this. I have to mull over things,
rant about them discuss them an unnecessary number of times (usually with my Mom), continue to mull, and if I'm lucky, I will finally give myself permission to let go, to feel, to act, to...something..anything. Although, to be honest, that whole giving-of-permission thing typically still requires affirmation by someone else (again, usually my Mom. She's awesome).
It's tough, really tough, to let yourself be okay with not doing something you think you should, or to feel a certain way about someone, or even to not let go of something, to continue to mull or to rant. Usually the things we resist giving ourselves permission to do have some kind of negative social connotation. Permission to not go to the gym that day. Permission to be angry. Permission to not like someone. It's hard to simply act on something that we feel bad about. Why? There ought to be a balance between the good and the bad feelings/actions/words, but it seems that one of the two always requires permission*, which makes finding that balance constant work.
I don't know about you, but I feel guilty when I think negatively towards someone, or hold onto anger for what seems to be too long. It's hard for me to allow myself to accept those feelings and thoughts. I should be a better person. I should be able to let go. I should be able to accept other people. I should be able to accept my feelings. I should, I should, I should. But you know what? If I was as perfect as my guilt tells me I should be, I wouldn't be me. I'm the accumulation of both my positive and negative traits, and, truly, perfection is more of a myth than a goal.
This past year has been a doozy. It had its ups and downs, just like any other year, but what really stands out for me are the things I spent so much of the year mulling over and ranting about. I hadn't given myself permission to feel what I was feeling and to just let that be the end of it. Well, I'm hoping to change that. I'm working on giving myself permission.
I am giving myself permission to not like certain people in my life whom I do not respect, but I cannot simply walk away from. I give myself permission to only interact with them when I have to, and to try and focus on the good, however minor it may be, in those interactions. But mostly, I'm giving myself permission to try and find some peace with their unavoidable place in my life. Without that, I risk the chance of always resenting them for disrupting my life and the lives of those I care about.
I am giving myself permission to not send gifts to everyone next year. It may sound mean, but I'm tired of spending my money on a gift that won't be reciprocated. This isn't to say that I'm greedy with gifts, but it hurts to put time and effort into finding the perfect something for someone and get nothing more than a thank you in return (if you get anything at all). Yes, the thank you is genuine and heartfelt, but it starts to feel like you're only worth the amount of time it takes to pen a quick note or a text. The efforts simply do not balance on both sides, and that takes its toll.
I am giving myself permission to be upset about the many stressors currently in Tony's life. A new job. A town ravaged by flooding. His father's health issues. Sibling relationships and personalities. Tony's back and neck problems that have left him in constant pain. I have absolutely no control over any of these aspects of Tony's life, but they impact our daily life. I'm giving myself permission to be selfish -- to be upset about how his stressors have effected my life and our relationship. And, I'm giving myself permission to hope. We are a priority for each other, and we will work on fixing the stressors that we can.
Permissions aren't a cure-all, but they're a step towards alleviating some of the weight we all carry on our shoulders.
*I understand it's just as possible to need permission to feel/think about/act upon the positive in life as it is the negative.