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Getting Permission

Posted Nov 15 2009 2:52pm
Who do you need permission from to be happy? It sounds like a silly question to ask an adult, but most of us are still waiting for permission to live the life we want to live. It may be that we think society won’t accept our vision or that close friends or family members might ridicule our ideas. We’re so conditioned to want to be acceptable to others that we often deny our hearts desires for the sake of approval.

When I was a child, I needed my parents’ permission for everything. One thing that made them very unhappy was spontaneous expressions of joy or love. They didn’t like children without emotional or behavioral restraint. There were certain times and places when it was ok, like showing our gratitude for gifts or showing their friends how much we loved and respected our parents. Then we had permission to be happy.

As I grew up, I needed permission from teachers, employers, and even friends. Even close friends could reject you for not behaving according to their expectations or for dreaming what they deemed ridiculous dreams. I learned to want what other people expected me to want and believe as others expected me to. The need for approval kept me seeking permission for my desires, dreams, emotions, and even happiness itself.

What I’ve learned in recent years is that not only do I not need anyone’s permission to be happy, but that I am the only one who can give me permission. No matter what anyone else says or does, I will only allow myself to be happy when I decide that its ok for me to be happy. The same is true for every other desire that my heart entertains. What I can be, do, or have is entirely up to me. No one else has the power to make me unworthy of anything or the right to judge my desires in any way. They don’t have to. I’ve been doing it myself for years.

What is it that you really want to experience but don’t? If you look within, you’ll find that only you deny what you desire. We all hold beliefs about what we’re capable of, what we desire, and what’s acceptable. It may be time to change some of them. We all deserve happiness and we all have the power to choose and claim it for ourselves. Go ahead, give yourself permission right now!
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