Recently, I did an exercise that entailed writing “permission slips” to myself.
The exercise was geared toward giving oneself “permission” in life.
For example, giving oneself permission to take on certain tasks, feel certain emotions, or bring light to areas where one is dictated by fear, shame, or other limiting beliefs.
I know this may sound a little “woo-woo.” But hold on a second, before I lose you.
Yes, I know, I know. Perhaps this sounds a bit too “mushy, feely” for you, and likely your Inner Critic is moaning loudly while simultaneously letting an all-too-obvious eye roll fly.
That’s okay if you feel that way (and I can understand if you do, as that was me at one point, too).
But one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that I’ve gained SO much self-awareness and insight from doing exercises I thought sounded at best elementary to my once all-logic and very skeptical self.
Sometimes you just have to lean into the uncomfortable (and seemingly “cheesy”) in order to reap the incredible benefits that likely await your willingness to do so.
This exercise was so life-giving, promotes self-awareness, and can allow a person to uncover certain truths buried deep within. So I wanted to share this activity with you to encourage you to make your own list of “permission slips.”
Below is a snip from my own personal list of “permissions.” At the very least, I encourage you to take a read through mine. Perhaps as you read through the list you’ll find yourself inspired to create your own list as well.
Rachael’s List of “Permission Slips”
I give myself permission to:
- Own my mistakes, own my past, own my insecurities, own my struggles, own my failures – but not let them define me.
- Pursue my dreams, even when it looks foolish to others.
- Go up a pant size and not have it detract from my self-worth.
- Accept that change is about progress, not perfection.
- Speak kinder to myself.
- Honor that my journey is unlike anyone else’s journey – so comparing my path to another’s path is not only pointless, but also dangerous as it sets me up for a downward spiral down the slippery slope of “compare and despair.”
- Challenge the beauty standards of today’s society and establish my own definition of what is beautiful.
- Live each day as my genuine self with an audience of One – refusing to “perform” or “pretend” for anyone.
- Seek out gems in each day and actively choose to remain grateful, finding rainbows in even the cloudiest of days.
- Embrace and celebrate the quirks that make me different from others. Help others see the beauty in their own uniqueness.
- Express my perspective and opinion in a loving way, even when I am in the company of others who do not share the same beliefs, even when it may cause me to be unpopular.
- Be friends with others who do not fit into society’s “norms” (what’s so great about being normal anyway?)
- View challenges and struggles in life as opportunities.
- Zoom out from myself and my current reality and remember that I am one minor storyline in a much grander story.
- Live a countercultural life.
- Live each day as if it’s momentous.
- Make mistakes and take on challenges wherein I may very well fail. When I do mess up, humbly own my failures, but also appreciate the value in the experience gained.
- Rest – to just rest.
- Accept and love myself as I am right now. Here in the present as my “yin yang” self, both with my gifts/strengths/aspirations, as well as imperfections/blindspots/growth areas. Here as a product of my past experiences. Here with dreams and aspirations for the future and passion for what’s to come.
- Not shame myself for caring about what other people think about me sometimes, recognizing that I’m human, and we all yearn for acceptance and affirmation.
- Challenge the assumption that the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate goal that will result in fulfillment once attained – for happiness is often found in fleeting pleasures and one often finds oneself lost in the “pursuit” of the promise of something better on the horizon.
- Have unplanned, spontaneous moments.
- Embrace periods of solitude and silence – times when I free myself of any expectations or agenda and allow myself to just “be.”
- Ask for help from others.
- Put aside my feelings of inadequacy to dream big and take on challenges/aspirations that I would be unable to accomplish through my own current abilities/resources/etc., knowing full-well that God does not call the qualified, but qualifies the called…and His ways are WAY higher than my ways.
So, Friend. How about you give it a try for yourself?
You don’t have to make a list of 25 items. My goodness, no. In fact – maybe even try just one that you want to focus on for today. That’s not too hard, right? I think you may find, however, that giving yourself “permission” will start to become a habit, as you find how empowering they can be.
It’s amazing how giving ourselves “permission” or bringing light to the fear or other limiting beliefs that sometimes holds us back can often empower us to step into something greater.
Giving ourselves permission can empower us to tackle inner-demons that need to be conquered in order to experience the freedom and joy that comes from living unashamed as our perfectly unique, beautiful selves.
Perhaps some of the items I listed above resonate with you. Even if not, I hope it inspires you to consider creating your own list of “permissions.”