Friday, December 13, 2013

On Giving Yourself Permission

"Dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem." Walt Whitman

...I tip my hat to this kid I saw in San Francisco this week.

I named him Lionheart. I like people who know what they want to do and then just own it. Personally, I'm not always crazy about the rules. It's not that I want to rebel and make terrible choices and run free like a crazy hippie child (at least not all the way). I do want to make good choices. I just....want to make them for myself. I want to reach my own conclusions, set my own parameters, trust my gut, follow my heart, yadda yadda yadda and so forth etc. So it makes sense that rules sometimes frustrate me a bit.

You know...the RULES.

All those spoken and unspoken ways we're "supposed" to do things. The shoulds and the shouldn'ts and you-probably-can-but-people-will-probably-talks. We're overflowing with these kinds of RULES.

Take dating, for example... Don't call sooner than 3 days after the first date. Never kiss on the first date. Definitely kiss on the first date. Know by the third date if you want to date long term. As a girl, never-ever text or call him first. Always wait for the man to initiate a date invitation. Don't be too busy. Play hard to get. Make him work for it. Keep her guessing. Don't hang on too long. Don't let go too soon. Don't get too involved in your career. Make sure you're being ambitious and independent. DEEP BREATH.

I feel cross-eyed just reading that. If you ask me, it's a whole lotta unnecessary stuff weighing on us when you're trying to figure out something simple like, "Do I like this person or not?" And it happens in more areas than just matters of the heart. Don't even get me started on the 1 million ways the People of the United Internet are busy telling each other how to be mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, Christians and Americans because...sheesh.

Here's what I say: Be you. All you.

Whatever rules/systems/plans feels natural/normal for you....great. Do that. Whatever doesn't feel natural/normal for you...great. Don't do that. This is something I want to make a conscious effort to stick to: being myself, 100%. To letting myself do what I feel. To being upfront, open and candid about my own feelings. To not filtering myself. To empowering myself to confidently navigate my own life. The worst ruts I've gotten into in my life are the ones where I don't trust my own ability to make successful choices, because I interpret any and all setbacks to mean I must have chosen wrong at some point. (False.)

So...give yourself permission.

Just do it. Just trust your gut. Give yourself a break. Set aside anyone's opinion but your own, and...allow yourself to say yes. Allow yourself to say no. Fall in love when you want. Be vocal about it when you want. Raise your children how you see fit. Follow your religion in a way that personally feels right to you. Stay up a little too late. Eat french fries after 9pm. Crawl into bed at 7:30pm and tell the laundry it can wait. Overtip the valet attendant. Hand a few dollars to a homeless man or woman and don't worry about drugs, alcohol or pessimistic outcomes. Call a friend and talk for an hour when you have work to do. Wear a fuzzy lion costume and walk down a busy city street. Because....because you can. And because, why not? Why not be your whole, authentic self? Why not let a little reckless joy leak into the cracks and corners of your life?

Because you can. said so.

Next step: Give other people permission for all of the above, too.


Unknown said...

That kid may be my spirit animal!

LEESH said...

I love this! Mostly because last night I did something totally taboo for a 20-something single woman to do, which is go to a movie by myself. And it was awesome and almost preferable to going with other people. haha! For some reason there is a stigma against doing this but I wanted to see The Hobbit and dang it I wasn't waiting for anyone. So all I'm saying, is I am glad I found this blog. You rock.

Elisabeth Gee said...

That was absolutely lovely! And such a good reminder for me! I've been stuck in a rut myself and it's often because I feel like "Well..I've failed once so why try?" But I like what you said that just because we fail doesn't mean we aren't capable enough to do something. You're the best :)

Myke said...

Those dating (and other) rules have always frustrated me. I remember sitting around a table at dinner with friends a few months ago and a friend was asking the group how to approach things with a guy she was interested it. Everyone had differing opinions and I just wanted to shout to my friend, "Do what you want!"

Over the past eight months or so I've been reevaluating some of the rules in my life and I've decided that the only should's, supposed to's, and need to's I want to listen to are the ones that end in "follow your heart" or "do what you want."

Stargirl said...

This is exactly what I have been thinking lately. I will do what I want and other people will do what they want and it will all be okay. I've mostly been thinking about religion and eating gluten free. I can't figure out why it matters if I want to be LDS but someone else doesn't. That's okay. I will gladly share what I believe but I won't tell them to believe it. And gluten free...I can do what I want with my stomach! I feel better without gluten. I'm not trying to be faddish. I just want to feel better. Apparently I relate to this.

FWIL Sentimental Blog Content said...

Love! Love! Love! And the kid in the lion suit was only the first love!

Hailey. said...

This is so great! I loved this post and it's just what I needed! I always pick a "theme" for the year when I do my New Years Resolutions and a few years back my theme was WHY NOT?! After reading this I'm thinking next year might be a repeat theme... because WHY NOT?! :)