A few years back, I took a self-defense course and worked through the process of becoming a certified instructor. What I like about this particular self-defense system is the emphasis on mindset. On deciding to fight back before you find yourself in a life-or-death situation. On giving yourself permission to defend yourself.
That is the word they use: Permission.
When I first encountered the concept, I couldn't get it out of my head. They were right! I had to actively give myself permission to save my own life. It wasn’t a given. That struck me as odd and a little bit tragic. And it also made me wonder what else in my life required permission.
Think about it. If we (especially we women) need to remind ourselves that we are allowed to defend ourselves—something that seems so primal and fundamental—where else are we holding ourselves back? What else in our lives would we like to do, if only we had permission.
Permission from whom?
Looking around, I realized that very little of the authority I need resides with someone else. Sure, I have bosses. And they have bosses. And even still, for the most part, they’re happy to let me run as far as I am willing to take the consequences upon myself. And yes, there are laws. But I pride myself on being an ethical citizen, so not too much of what I want to do is encumbered by the authorities.
I was waiting around for permission that never was going to come. Because I was waiting for someone to give me something I only could give myself.
Who could possibly give me permission to save my own life? Who has that authority but me? Similarly, who could possibly give me permission to pursue the life I want to live? Who has that authority but me? Who could possibly give me permission to love myself? Or grow? Or develop significant relationships? Or create something worthwhile? Or contribute to a greater good? Who has that authority but me?
Who has that authority but you?
Where in your life are you waiting for someone to give you permission? To tell you what you are allowed to do? What have you dreamed of doing, if only… If only someone would give you permission?
You are that somebody. You have that authority. You can give yourself permission. And you can live your dreams.
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