March 16, 2018

Do You Need to Write Yourself a Permission Slip?

You are worn out

You work hard. You put your partner, your kid, and your work before yourself because that is what you think a grownup is supposed to do. And you're tired. Your emotional and physical health are compromised.

I talk to clients and friends all the time who feel worn thin, but they believe they don't have any choice but to keep doing what they're doing because if they don't, their world might fall apart. Their kids won't get to the doctor or the after-school activity. The laundry won't get done, the house won't get cleaned, the dinners won't get cooked.

Life is not fun. And whether we recognize it or not, sometimes we're not effective because we're running on fumes.


Give yourself permission to take care of yourself

In her book Braving The Wilderness, Brene Brown talks about the idea of giving ourselves permission slips. When my daughter goes on a field trip for school, I have to sign a permission slip saying it is okay for her to go. So, Brene writes herself permission slips on Post-it notes. There is something about writing down the permissions that emboldens us to follow through. It is a gentle way of saying that it's okay for us to take care of ourselves. It sounds so simple, but very few of us follow through with this.


What do you need?

I was thinking about my clients this week and the things they wanted or needed to do but felt guilty about:

  • Permission to attend a support group for herself to deal with her transgendered partner's transition, even when feeling guilty about not focusing on supporting her partner.
  • Permission to stop multitasking to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
  • Permission to leave work at 6 p.m. every night even if some of your coworkers stay later.
  • Permission not to check work email when at home in the evenings or on weekends.
  • Permission to exercise even though it takes away from family time.
  • Permission to eat meat, fattening foods, desert, or other "bad" foods.
  • Permission to say "no" to activities.
  • Permission to sit and read a book just for fun.
  • Permission to take time out and meet with a therapist.
  • Permission to be honest with your partner about sexual fantasies and interests.
  • Permission to throw yourself a party for your accomplishments.
  • Permission to rest when you are not feeling well.
  • Permission to buy that dog you've been researching and dreaming about.
  • Permission to be silly and play sometimes.
And on and on.


Take action today -- It's fun!

Here is your homework: write yourself some permission slips for things your want and need in your life and sign them. Then remove guilt and instead congratulate yourself for taking care of yourself and for modeling healthy choices. The things on your to-do list will still be there when you get back, but you will have the energy to start enjoying your life again.

You are worth it. You are enough. You matter, too!

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