Last night I went to a reflective writing session hosted by my friend Grainne (hello!) at CoLiberate. It was my first session so I went with a very open mind, scribbled four pages of very confused thoughts, didn't share any of them because #stagefright (something I need to work on), went home and thought about it till today.
So here are a few things that came out of it.
Permission is a concept that's constantly hanging in the background of our existence, it fluctuates over time, our perspective towards it changes, it permeates the relationship we have with ourselves and with others.
From raising our hand to be allowed to the toilet at school, to revealing our deepest secrets to trusted ones as adults, either asking for permission or giving it to someone else can make us feel vulnerable. When we are kids, we are taught that we should ask for permission over whatever doesn't belong to us. But growing up, we are also told that we don't have permission over things that are our own - our bodies, our relationships, the way we choose to express ourselves. This can make us feel like we have no control over our own life, like somebody else is denying us permission over aspects of ourselves that should fall within our and only our scope of responsibilities.
But if we find the strength to claim that permission back, we can see how powerful it is. There will always be aspects of life that are beyond our power and reach, but permission to be kind to ourselves is one hundred percent on us. No matter how much other people might make us feel like we've lost it, that permission belongs to us, always. And it's in our power to allow ourselves to use it.
I give myself permission to be true to myself, and honest about who I am and where I'm coming from. To talk openly about things that scare me and that I've been concealing. To be authentic and genuine, unapologetically.
I give myself permission to get excited. To smile as I talk about things I'm passionate about, to feel unashamed about them, to not worry about what people might think.
I give myself permission to let go of the past. Those thoughts that keep you awake at night, about hurting someone's feeling, about making someone mad or disappointed, those memories that pop up when you least expect it and clench your heart in panic - they no longer matter. They are no longer relevant. The past is past. Take it as a learning experience, but move on.
I give myself permission to treat my body right, and to deny other people permission to tell me how I should treat it.
I give myself permission to cut myself some slack. To take it easy. To not put too much pressure on myself. To feel good and accomplished at the end of the day even if I've spent the majority on it on Netflix because I didn't feel like doing much else.
I give myself permission to make my own decisions, despite people thinking I'm being irresponsible or immature or I will regret it later.
Finally, I give myself permission to fuck up and not do any of these things if circumstances change.
Permission over ourselves is something we have, we own, we are born with. Sometimes we take it away from us ourselves, some other times other people make us feel like we've lost it. But reclaiming it is an act of kindness - and we can always, always take it back.