Pressing Pause Podcast episode 25 Who gave you permission?
Welcome to Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers.
I’m Gabrielle Treanor and I’m here to share with you ideas, inspiration and actions to empower you to spend less time overthinking and worrying and more time enjoying your life.
Welcome to episode 25. Before we get into today’s topic I want to remind you that the early bird offer on my practical mindful living course, Be Here Now, ends tomorrow, 20 September. So if you’re done with being stuck in your head going over and over thoughts, and you want to free yourself from your whirlwind, overthinking mind, you have the chance until tomorrow to save £50 on the course.
There is SO much I have packed into Be Here Now, it’s chocka block with actionable tools to free you from being stuck in your overthinking mind and instead really make the most of what there is to enjoy in your life right now. We’ll have a supportive private group in Facebook where we can work through the course together and there’s the option to listen as well as read the content. So, you can find out all about Be Here Now, and join, on my website gabrielletreanor.com or follow the link to the course page in the show notes.
So, in today’s episode I’m talking about permission and how looking for permission outside of ourselves to do and feel and live as we want can get us overthinkers tangled up and stuck in our lives.
As children we learn to seek permission from parents and teachers, and as adults we then look to our bosses, authority figures, even friends and strangers on social media for permission. We get so used to looking for external approval that we find it difficult to give permission to ourselves. So if we don’t allow ourselves to live as we want to, to feel our emotions and to be the person we truly are, and instead rely on getting permission from other people, how can we reach our full potential, take care of our own needs and, ultimately, be happy?
If you tell yourself you should do something, you should feel a certain way or you should be different, you’re looking for external approval. If you think that you’re not allowed to fail, to mess up, to succeed, to earn money, to have fun, to be happy, to look after yourself or to be the person you truly want to be you’re seeking permission. If you need someone else to say you can take a break, go for the promotion, to feel pure joy, to take care of your own needs, that it’s okay you messed up or that you feel whatever you’re feeling, you’re looking for approval. These are all indicators that you aren’t giving yourself permission to live your own life as you choose and that you’re looking outside of yourself for permission elsewhere.
If you find it hard to give yourself permission it could be because you’re really good at taking care of everyone else. You’re used to being the responsible person who looks after everyone else’s needs. You want to make everyone happy, keep the peace, be a good person and get everyone’s approval. You’re so used to seeking permission outside of yourself, from family to strangers on social media that you’ve lost touch with knowing what’s right for you and what you need.
As long as you’re seeking approval and permission from other people you aren’t in control of your own life, trusting yourself to live as you know best and to be yourself.
It can help to think what you would give yourself permission for if you were your own best friend. If you were exhausted and feeling overwhelmed, what would you allow yourself to do? If you wanted to apply for a job with a much bigger salary than you’re currently earning but feel that you shouldn’t, what would you say? Imagining you are your own best friend can help you give yourself permission rather than looking for it elsewhere.
This is where your self-talk comes in too. Notice if you use ‘should’ a lot or tell yourself you ‘ought to’, you ‘have to’ or you’ve ‘got to’. Try swapping these words for ‘I could’, ‘I want to’ or ‘I choose’ so you’re taking ownership of your actions, you’re making the choice rather than following an obligation. I talk more about the ‘should’ word in episode 14.
There is a lot to talk about on the topic of permission but, keeping in mind that I want these episodes to be short, I’m going to stick to an overview of permission in this episode and touch upon just a few key areas in life where you may need to give yourself permission.
So, giving yourself permission to be happy or sad or however you’re feeling. There are times when it can feel like certain emotions aren’t allowed. There are people having a much harder time than you so what right have you to feel sad or fed up or lonely or stressed? Everything is going well at work so how can you feel anxious or overwhelmed or jealous? Maybe you learned to hide your feelings from seeing adults hide theirs when you were a child. Perhaps you think you need to be strong for your family during an upsetting time so you feel you can’t cry or feel frustration or show your feelings.
You are allowed to feel whatever you are feeling. There are no bad feelings, just feelings that are uncomfortable or ones you don’t want to feel. Negative feelings are felt for a reason, they have something to teach you, and to deny them doesn’t help. Giving yourself permission to feel whatever it is you’re feeling and, if it’s uncomfortable, sitting with it can loosen its grip on you. Being kind to yourself, practising self-compassion, helps to reduce any pain the feelings create more effectively than pushing them away or telling yourself to stop feeling. Listen to episode 18 for more on how to deal with difficult emotions.
And it’s important you allow yourself to feel happy too. Not when you’ve reached a goal or something has changed in your life but right now, if that’s how you feel. Giving yourself permission to be happy doesn’t mean that you don’t care about those who aren’t happy or are having a tough time. It isn’t selfish, it isn’t self-indulgent, happiness is what every person wants and deserves to feel. You not allowing yourself to feel happy doesn’t make the difficulties someone else is experiencing any less difficult.
Then there’s giving yourself permission to fail, to get things wrong, to mess up.
Feeling that you can’t fail, that you mustn’t make mistakes or that you shouldn’t get things wrong can hold you back in life. Thinking that you might fail can stop you from trying something new and keep you from exploring opportunities. It can feel scary to do something unfamiliar where you don’t know if you’ll be any good at it, if you’ll even be able to do it. But if you don’t give yourself permission to try, and possibly fail, you’ll never know. By getting things wrong or making mistakes you learn. By denying yourself permission to have a go when you don’t know what the outcome could be you’re denying yourself the chance to grow and develop as a person.
And on the flipside of that there’s allowing yourself to be successful.
When you don’t give yourself permission to fail you’re also denying yourself the chance to succeed because you’re not engaging with the unknown. By choosing to start your own business you could fail or you could make an incredible success of it but you’ll never know if you don’t allow yourself to try. Success doesn’t have one definition, it isn’t solely about status or wealth. You decide what success means to you, it could be anything from hearing your children laugh each day to having the choice to work where you like. When you decide what success looks like to you, you’re the only person who can give you permission to go for it.
And something so many of us find so difficult to do, give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves.
There can be an ingrained belief that it’s selfish to consider your own needs, to look after yourself because that must mean that you’re putting yourself first and above everyone else, that you think you matter more than anyone else. But it isn’t a case of who’s first or last in the queue, your needs matter just as much as your family’s or your friends’ or your boss’ or your community’s needs. By giving yourself permission to care for yourself you’re saying ‘me as well’ not ‘me first’.
When you take care of your own needs, when you do what you need to feel nourished and supported, you’re better able to be the best version of yourself and to take care of those around you. You have more energy for work, more patience with your family, you feel more optimistic and you’re better able to cope with challenges in life. By giving yourself permission to look after your own needs, which could be anything from saying yes to a night out with friends to daily time alone to getting a personal trainer to attending a craft workshop, you’re valuing yourself and demonstrating that to the people around you.
When you look outside of yourself for permission to be successful, to try and fail, to acknowledge your feelings and care for your own needs, when you worry about whether you’re allowed or not to do or be or feel, you’re stopping yourself from living the life you want and deserve. Because that permission you seek may never be given. The only person who can truly give you permission to live your life as fully as you can is you. When you give yourself permission to be the person you want to be in the world, you free yourself to live in a way that feels right for you.
So, what can you give yourself permission for today?
I’d love to know, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find me in my free Facebook group. Search for the Worry Less and Enjoy Life More with Gabrielle Treanor group on Facebook, I’ll link to it in the show notes at gabrielletreanor.com/podcast too, and come join me there. And don’t forget the early bird discount on Be Here Now, my practical mindful living course ends tomorrow, Thursday 20 September.
Thanks for listening, until next time, lovely people.