To all the people pleasers, all those who live by ‘shoulds’, all those who suffer from comparison-itis, I want to share with you a technique I’ve been using which has given me freedom in how I experience my daily life.
It’s one that I often forget, but one that has helped me on a couple of occasions and has brought me much joy….and it is the phrase:
“I give myself permission to…”
I had taken last Monday off work to recuperate from my coaching course, which can be pretty full-on and was feeling a bit antsy in myself. My inner dialogue was going something like this – “A whole day off – I should be doing something with it!” and although I didn’t really want to have a busy, packed day, I was forming a list of things I could be doing.
Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t noble things that would make a difference in the world, they were things like:
- go to the library
- have a bath
- make some cakes
- write more about the types of coaching I do
All lovely things, but things that missed the point of my day off and what I knew I truly needed – recuperation and relaxation. Yet I still felt antsy until I used my magic words:
“I give myself permission to relax”
And in the moment that I said these words to myself, I felt my body let go of the tension it was holding. I was able to breathe more easily, I felt pressure in my chest ease and I spent the next couple of hours lying in bed, reading and watching some of my favourite programmes. I got out of my pjs at 3pm and felt that I had really, truly had a day of recuperation that my body so desperately needed.
These words have the power to transform so much of my experience – both at work and in my personal life. I’ve got a note on my laptop at work which outlines the permission I give myself at work:
I give myself permission to be myself, get things wrong, have fun, respect my boundaries.
Even this morning, a day I’m taking off to spend with my friend, Nadine, was filled with the ‘shoulds’ when I first woke up – we should have the best day ever, we should make the most of our time together, we should do loads of things with the day off and it was only when I gave myself permission to do some tidying around the house, to just be myself, to go to bed early if needed so I’m ready for work tomorrow…that I felt ready to experience this day without expectation or pressure.
So give it a try if you feel so inclined…give yourself permission for exactly what you need today and see where it takes you.