I recently said YES! I know that statement in and of itself may not seem very important, but allow me to explain and you will see why it is indeed worthy of that exclamation mark.
Over coffee one day, my dear friend and I were talking about how different life is now that our kids are older. I mentioned how I felt like I am ready to start something new, but I don’t know what that is or if that is even possible. My friend excitedly admitted to me, “I feel the same way. Don’t get me wrong. This first part of my life has been great, but it’s almost like I have been on a hamster wheel and, for the first time, paused, like really paused and looked around. There are so many things I want to do and try, Sharon. I just want to say YES to everything.” And while shaking my head in agreement because I truly did get the way she was feeling, a tiny voice inside me that I desperately didn’t want to listen to was saying, “You can’t do that! That would be selfish! What would others think?” And then, I gasped (which really confused my friend) because I realized what my problem is. For a very long time, I have been telling myself that putting myself first was selfish. But that is not the meaning of selfish. Thinking constantly only about yourself is selfish. I can still do things for myself and care about others. In fact, most likely doing things for myself will make me want to do things for others even more. It just means that sometimes I would need to say NO to others so that I can say YES to myself.
It’s impossible to be who you are truly meant to be if you are always looking to others for permission. Not to mention how exhausting it is always worrying about what others think. So, I decided to give myself permission to step off the hamster wheel (just like my friend did) and pause, really pause (yup, like my friend) and look around. Amazing how clearly you can see when you really allow yourself to. What I saw was that I, too, was ready to make new choices and explore!
Giving yourself permission to be yourself takes practice. It starts with small permissions, such as granting yourself permission to rest when you are tired or sick or asking for assistance when you need it. For some of us (and by some, I really mean me), that alone will take a lot of effort and may be all they can do for now. But eventually after doing that for a while, you will be able to write yourself a permission slip to do even more.
My permission slip allowed me to enroll at the new Club Pilates studio here in Lake Nona, and I discovered how much I LOVE IT! I know, who knew? I hate exercise, especially group settings as they usually make me feel self-conscious and inadequate. But this is so different. Yes, the reformer machine is a bit daunting, and yes, you are with others. But it’s such an independent thing, and you truly are on your own personal journey, seeing what your body can do, pushing only as much as you can right now. And I never would have known this if I hadn’t given myself permission to try a class and sign up!
I also gave myself a permission slip to say yes to a new project that I started with my hamster wheel friend. It’s called Part Two Project (www.parttwoproject.com), and it’s all about our journey to finding out what our Part Two looks like and connecting with people who have already found theirs so we can learn how they did it and why. Ironically (or maybe not so ironic), most of them simply started with giving themselves permission to say YES! See a pattern here folks? I am.
But perhaps you are stubborn like me and want to change things in your life but still need someone to tell you it’s okay to do so. Well, here you go … I GIVE YOU PERMISSION! I give you permission to take some time EVERY DAY to acknowledge your feelings. I give you permission to be vulnerable and strong at the same time because, yes, it is possible to be both. I give you permission to celebrate every time you listen to your gut or quiet that nagging inner voice of self-doubt. I give you permission to try new things that may make you happier, stronger and healthier. I give you permission to rediscover old passions that could lead to new opportunities or at the very least a fun new hobby! I give you permission to pause on your own hamster wheel of life, REALLY PAUSE, and just look around. I can’t wait to hear about what you see when you do.