I’m planning my week, my day, and a couple of thoughts run through my head: I’ll try this. I’ll do this. Ooh, wouldn’t this be exciting! I can’t wait!

And then the other thoughts, the safety traps, the counter mechanisms, the judgments, the space between what I want to do and what I’ve done so far. The voice that says it’s not enough, that I’m not anywhere close, that I shouldn’t try, that I’ll never get there.

In a rough-and-tumble few weeks, I Failed. Fell. Knocked down. Stood up. Tried to do simple things and couldn’t do them. Tried to do hard things and found myself, normally able, somehow incapable. I stopped doing things because my expectation was so high that the nominal version of achievement felt so inadequate that not doing something about it felt better than going through the muck of re-building my momentum.

Frustrated, aware that I was frustrated, and incapable of figuring out what to do next, a good friend took a hike with me and said, “Give yourself permission to be here.”

“Remember, here is part of it.” 

You have permission.

To give yourself a regular thrashing. To work so hard, you can’t stand it. To get to a space of physical exhaustion. To sweat, shake, cry, tremble, fear, and get angry. To run for hours, and then, keep running. To shake from hunger and tired and exhaustion. To feel.

You have permission to relax. To take care of yourself. To take a night off. To go slow when you need to go slow, to breathe, to call a friend for help, to invest in yourself, to stick up for what’s right and what’s wrong, to say what’s on your mind. To put words in the open and change their shape and re-configure them until you are okay with the meaning of them.

You have permission.

To put yourself first.
To sleep.
To ride the momentum.
To take a break.
To slow down.
To be imperfect.
To be you.

To cry.
To thrash.
To work so hard it hurts, you get angry, you get frustrated, you get sad.
To try harder than you’ve ever tried before.
To fail.
To win.

To have a shadow.
To have a light.
To learn.
To be bad at things.
To try again.
To change.

To keep getting better.
To dream.
To believe.
To hold on.
To rest.

You have permission.

Give yourself permission.

Judgment comes from the gap between what we expect, and what we believe about where we are. Often that judgment reigns in so harshly we retreat back from the sequence of steps that will carry us from where we are to where we want to be.

Reign in, soldier. Take a step. Give the judgment a day off. Breathe. Give yourself permission.

To be.


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