STOP asking for permission in ONE step

I was recently sprawled out on a bamboo floor in a yoga studio COMPLETELY beside myself. My friend, mentor and yoga teacher watching in complete amusement.

I kept shouting “Who am I and What the F$%K am I doing?”

Potentially, this (not EXACTLY this) but this situation has never happened to you. You have floated through life taking inventory of who you are;  High School graduation, College graduation, Marriage, Children, Divorce, Death, Sobriety, Turning 40. You have stopped, evaluated, adjusted and moved on.  If so, this article is not for you… but please pass it along to a friend in need.

For the rest of us…

The culmination was the meltdown on the bamboo floor but there were a few signs before the meltdown; questions and angst and sickness.   THEN the meltdown and subsequent realization. The realization was that I was seeking permission and approval in many aspects of my life, not just a few.  And this was bothersome as I am not one to ask for permission or seek approval, from anyone.

This was SNEAKY; a simple, benign question like “do you like my hair?” wasn’t simple at all.  I was seeking approval of how it currently looked and then maybe ask “what do you think about this style?” again, not for an opinion but permission to cut it a different way, the way I wanted but was seeking approval to do it. UGH!  This was also happening in my parenting style, my marriage, where I work out, my clothing choices and my career.  I had lost my way and was looking externally for all the answers, never considering myself.

After some thought, time and talking, I realized that the angst, the being uncomfortable was ultimately coming from change; change in career, change in parenting, change in friends, change in lifestyle.  I hadn’t given much thought to my roll / my authentic voice in any of these things; change was just happening and I was just along for the ride.

There has be a TON of change in the last 8 years of my life.  I got sober, I got married, I bought a house, I had a child, I started and stopped and started again new careers and I just completed 6 months of intense teacher training.  Who I was 8 years ago, is not who I am today. Who I was 8 months ago isn’t who I am today.  And somehow, along the way, I forgot to completely check in with myself, to make a few inquiries and potentially some adjustments.

When I first got sober, I made changes and adjustments.  There were some obvious things that had to change in order for me to live a sober life.  So, my community had to change and I had to find things that I liked to do that did not include wine glasses and bars.  I became passionate about other things than happy hour and wine tastings. But since then, close to nothing. Limited personal inventory. No checking in. Very few adjustments. And A LOT has happened!  {see above} Additionally, until recently, I didn’t realize that I needed to check in with something other than my thoughts. i.e. Body, Heart, Soul.

So, I have come to one (kinda) step to freedom from this craziness. You just need to answer ONE question.

1.  WHO are you?

The title of this article is a bit deceiving.  Although there is only one question, it has a few “sub questions.”  {Sorry.  That would have been too long of a title.}

So…

1.  Who are you?

1a. What are you passionate about? What do you like to do? What are you devoted to?

1b. Are you living in accordance with WHO you are today or are you limiting yourself by NOT living in accordance with who you are and what you are passionate about?

1c.  Do you have a tribe that is in line with who you are?  Who do you connect to?  Do you make time to connect?  Are you including yourself when connecting?

1d. What permission do you need to grant YOURSELF?

1e.  What discovering and uncovering needs to be done so that you can THRIVE?

When I took the time to be rigorously honest about the above questions and write down the answers (thinking them in your head doesn’t work, I assure you.) things got clear REALLY fast.

Clarity looks like this for me:

I live in a hot climate.  I am athletic and busy chasing a 4 year old and balancing a career.  I am 46.  I want short hair.  I like short hair.  I want blonde hair.  I also like iced coffee and wandering around Hobby Lobby.  I like sharing my path to sobriety in order to help others live their best selves. I like my dogs and binging on Netflix.  I like the ocean and getting lost in books.  I like good food that nourishes my body and I dislike that it takes effort to cook but chicken nuggets from Jack in the Box is not my jam. I have heartfelt beliefs that everyone should have the choice to love whoever they want.  I despise hate.  I love the zoo. I love animals and would rescue all of them if someone would gift me some land… a lot of it.  I love my tribe.  I love the connection and the vulnerability and the authenticity and the rawness of it all.  I love love love my son.  I love his little dimply hands and the way he winks at me with both eyes.  I love watching the world through his lens. I love living my “brutiful” life. I need and want to continue to evolve and grow and be the best version of myself and also give myself permission to have bad days.

“I was asking for permission and approval because I was trying to find who I am in others rather than look within. It’s not as if the answers had evaporated, that they disappeared and I was just a body walking around (or lying on a yoga studio floor). I had them. I just wasn’t listening. I stopped asking.

My body had to go in to absolute revolt before I actually paid attention;  anxiety, being uncomfortable in my own skin, laryngitis and strep throat (x’s 2),  pressure in my chest and heart. And there was always this soft voice saying “you aren’t doing what you are supposed to be doing”.  And then ultimately, the bamboo yoga floor.

You don’t need permission or approval from anyone other than yourself. You don’t need to get laryngitis and strep throat in order to find and speak your voice.  Find out who you really are. Surround yourself with a tribe that will support you being you. You don’t need to stay stuck and search via other people to find your own voice and answers.  You have them already.

Life is in session.  Things are ever changing whether you like it or not.  Continue to ask yourself the hard questions. Never stop asking them. Allow the answers to change as you do.