Today when I was walking to the bus stop to go into town and write, I walked past a beautiful garden and saw a little girl of 4 or 5, wearing green and blending in with the flowers and trees, smiling brightly at me. I had only a couple of hours previously been journalling about a relationship breakdown that occurred the other day between myself and a loved one, owning my (albeit small) part in the conflict and acknowledging my wrongdoing. The little girl I saw, although she said nothing and it was only a passing glimpse, reminded me that joy is almost always possible. In that moment, I gave myself the permission to feel joy – despite my supposed imperfections.
I realised today that this person is not in a position to be able to wish me well. So in order to live the way that I want to live and feel happy, I must build up a tolerance for them being discontented with me. In last week’s post, I mentioned that sometimes others’ preconceived notions of who we are need to die – this turned out to be predictive. I am no longer living up to the expectations of another, I have been a disappointment – but I don’t need someone else’s permission to be myself.
We all exist as different entities in the minds of the people we know. These people all have different ideas about Who We Are. Naturally, if we ever stray from this box of expectation, we will no longer be who they think we are. We will have changed. But this is, more often than not, a fallacy. Not only are people changing all the time but the only person who knows Who We Are is ourselves. We cannot live up to all of these expectations and nor should we.
“If you look closely, you will see that withholding permission from yourself, or needing others to first give you permission, keeps you in a small box, and stops you from living the life you came here to live. If you look even closer, you will see that your happiness is dependent on giving yourself permission. If you don’t give yourself permission to speak up, express yourself or set boundaries, the consequence is, all too often, chronic depression.” – Nanice Ellis
My first intention for this week of self permission was to commence a formal manifestation practice. I bought a pink notebook and followed along with a YouTube video about manifestation. In the beginning of my notebook, I wrote a quote from the video about how letting your inner light shine and dreaming big serves not just yourself but the world around you. Almost every morning, I’ve been reading to myself in the mirror the things I want to manifest but I’m speaking about them in the present tense – as if I already have them. The first sentence in the section about health is: “I feel vibrant and awake”. When I’ve been waking up tired, it does make me laugh a bit to read this sentence out loud but it also makes me feel joyful because of the intention.
It’s only been a week but I have found it to be a powerful practice. I’ve found myself saying things like: “When I have this” or “Soon things’ll be like this”. Not so much to anyone else but to myself. Like the idea of a fantastic future is an exciting secret I’m keeping. And I feel like I’m dreaming bigger, too; setting my sights higher. I’m excited.
My second intention was to read an article on self permission I found last week. Self responsibility was one of the key pointers from that article because self permission cannot exist without it. One of the ways in which I took responsibility for myself and my compulsions this week was by having a few days off from social media. I found myself looking for something to make me feel whole, developing attachments to people and things online and getting nowhere, so almost on an impulse I stopped using all of it.
I also made sure to make better use of my time after getting home from work on Friday and Saturday night. Usually, I get home from the bar at around 1am and I end up staying awake and doing nothing and being too tired to get ready for bed when I really should. So on Friday night, I got home and made myself take off my makeup straight away while I had the energy. Usually, I’d have something to eat first, be on my phone for an hour then be too tired to get ready for bed properly so I’m glad I was able to exercise discipline in that moment because it changed my mood dramatically.
Residual feelings of guilt from the aforementioned conflict are still there and it’s something I need to work through myself. For the sake of my own wellbeing, I have cut off contact with the person so more apologies are not an option. The way this person related to me was abusive. And this has made my head spin. It makes the whole thing difficult to navigate. It’s hard to know what I’m truly accountable for when I was attacked in this way. But journalling today was a great help and so was dipping into The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön.
There is a section in this book called “Meeting The Enemy”. It corresponds to the four limitless qualities (joy, compassion, loving-kindness and equanimity) and the concepts that they are commonly confused with. In the case of compassion, one of its near enemies is “idiot compassion”. Pema describes this as: “when we avoid conflict and protect our good image by being kind when we should say a definite ‘no’.” This made me feel better about the way I handled the conflict, which was by standing up for myself while also trying to reason and empathise with the person but having so much venom spat at me that I had to retreat. I could feel the hurt emanating off of this person but I wasn’t able to diffuse it and ultimately, I need to look after myself.
Aside from the conflict, I’ve really enjoyed practicing self permission this week. I feel like it might be one of the most important steps to self esteem growth that I’ve explored and, along with self parenting, I feel that it will be one of the steps I keep in my mind for a long time.
As this was the last step on my journey to self-esteem growth, next week’s post will be an evaluation of the journey; highlighting what I’ve learned and which points were most transformative. It’s almost a year since I started the series which is crazy to think!
If you’ve been reading from the start or just the odd post here and there – thank you so much. I feel like I’ve found a lovely community of supportive people here on WordPress and the encouragement I’ve gotten has really enriched the whole blogging process and made it even more worthwhile. I’ll be continuing with my blogging although I’m not sure if I’ll be following a theme or just writing sporadically. I have definitely enjoyed the structure of the 12 step format and I think it has been the key to my steadfastness with blogging.
Thanks for reading!
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx
Image by Rebecca Flattley