Lately I have been thinking a lot about the concept of permission. I’ve come to learn through some dramatic situations concentrated into a time frame of the past two years that so many things I once thought were out of my control are actually in my control - in the sense that I have my own permission to make a decision about how to handle it and what to do next. The number one person who matters that we have permission from is ourselves. Right?!
Here are some examples of what I mean…
Trapping myself in the mindset that work had to rule and overrule everything as the #1 priority in order to be considered a high performer and successful (meanwhile, I was thinking about quitting every waking moment)
Feeling insecure that Paul and I were about to fight again over my constant complaining
Having my work schedule as an excuse for not being able to exercise regularly
Thinking that making the most of free time and weekends meant that every moment had to be scheduled with something deemed “productive” - and feeling guilty when I felt unmotivated and wanted to nap instead
It happened once - but it happened. I’m going to be very real here… Iast year was the first time that I totally forgot about my period, and not in a good way. In the almost two decades it has been part of my life, there was never a “time of month” that I wasn’t prepared for. It led to me bleeding through my pants at work, frantically trying to figure out a way to cover it up, and feeling so ashamed. Ashamed of the physical embarrassment and ashamed that fundamentally, I neglected to check in with my body. It was a sign that attention to my own basic well-being was missing.
Learning and making strides in managing my own energy overall: being much more selective and self-ish on what deserves my energy and time to begin with. One of the hardest but most important parts has been giving myself the permission to say no.
Improving communication and transparency about feelings (so many feelings.) in my most important relationships
Embracing 305 Fitness (my all-time favorite fitness studio — as if you didn’t already know!), as a lifestyle, which has led to me feeling happier, healthier and more confident than ever
Accepting that it is completely okay to take time to “do nothing” and have weekend days blocked off from social obligations when needed
Consciously creating and refining wellness rituals that will stick — which means making time and space, mentally and physically. Oh, and no embarrassing “lady time” accidents; NEVER AGAIN.
As I’ve been thinking about this idea of permission, where (rather, who) it comes from and what it takes to get it, I can’t help but be tremendously thankful that my parents always gave me permission, even way prior to adulthood — perhaps much more generously so than other traditionally strict Asian parents.
Even though I didn’t need their permission to quit my job last year, I subconsciously still sought it out. And when a routine FaceTime catchup involved Mom and Dad innocently questioning “why don’t you quit?” — said with genuine curiosity and confidence that I would have a reasonable explanation— I hysterically burst into tears.
It feels as though a lot has changed for me in a matter of two years. All this self-reflection also makes me curious to know if and how you can relate. What are you giving yourself permission to do today that you didn’t before?
After all, we owe it to ourselves to give permission to recognize that we are our number one priority. There’s no way we can be our best selves or the greatest at anything without it.