...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. Because...you said so.
Next step: Give other people permission for all of the above, too.