Things you don’t need permission for: saying no, following your dreams, choosing yourself.
Psychologist Rebecca Ray recently posted these powerful words on her Instagram. They’re powerful because I think so many of us do wait around for permission—and it breaks us. It breaks our spirit. It sinks our joy and pleasure. It spikes our stress, anxiety and sadness. It keeps us spinning in one place, tethered to hurtful, unhelpful habits. It keeps us questioning our worth, wondering who we are, wondering if it’s OK to be who we are.
I know that I waited many years for permission to do all sorts of things: permission to accept my body precisely as it is, permission to stop dieting, permission to wear a bikini proudly, permission to stop tanning, permission to share my thoughts, permission to be highly sensitive, permission to be me.
What things do you think you need permission for? What if you simply gave that permission to yourself? What if you gave yourself unconditional permission?
If you’re not yet ready to grant yourself permission, I’m happy to help! Here’s an assortment of things you can give yourself permission for today, this week, right now, and always:
- Eating dessert daily (because it tastes good, and you’re in the mood, because it’s apple pie, and that’s your favorite).
- Eating pasta four days, or more, in a row (because it’s absolutely delicious).
- Eating any foods that you enjoy, at any time, on any day (regardless of the number of calories or carbs, regardless of whether it’s 11 a.m. or 11 p.m.).
- Stopping a workout (because you’re exhausted, because you’re bored, because you just want to).
- Tossing out your scale—along with any diet cookbooks or self-help books or anything else that makes you feel terrible about yourself.
- Unfollowing anyone who makes you feel terrible about yourself or like you need to be someone you’re not or like you need certain things in order to fit in or be worthy or supposedly “be healthy” (a healthy that is downright disordered, restrictive, unrealistic, and basically ridiculous).
- Staying in bed (and letting your to-do list wait).
- Spending your time the way you want to spend your time.
- Learning something seemingly useless (because you’re curious, purely curious, and it’s not going to help you work faster or better, and that’s absolutely, totally OK).
- Appreciating your body, or not thinking about your body, and getting back to enjoying your life.
- Getting rid of old clothes (because they don’t fit, because you don’t love them, because they’re no longer you).
- Offering yourself kindness, patience and understanding, even when you’re absolutely certain you don’t deserve it.
- Wearing whatever you want to wear (because it’s comfortable, because it feels good against your skin, because you feel beautiful, because you love the color, because it makes you want to dance).
- Starting to accept (or at least not despise) something about yourself that’s been hard to admit or understand.
In other words, here’s your permission slip to sincerely support yourself—whatever it is, whatever the reason.
I know this is easier said than done. It isn’t as though a switch simply goes on, and poof, we feel the freedom of permission. Maybe sometimes it is that simple. And maybe sometimes you can start where you’re comfortable—by unfollowing several social media accounts, by letting yourself cry. Maybe you can make an appointment with a therapist to work through your restrictive eating.
Either way, know that you always have a choice, and permission is not as far away as it sometimes feels.