On Permission

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A letter to myself.• I don’t need anyone’s permission to live a bold, creative life.

• Stop waiting for everyone’s approval.

• While you're at it, don’t wait on any one specific person’s approval either...

• Remember when you were young and needed a permission slip at school? Why are you still living that way now? Don't waste another day of your life waiting on permission from someone else. You don't need it from another person. You already have permission to be you. If someone in your life is somehow telling you otherwise or not appreciating you, stop spending time with them.• Do you feel called to go do something out of the box? A goal that is big and daring? A dream that is scary? Good. Do you know how many people are sincerely searching for direction like that? That sort of inspiration and clarity is priceless. Go do it. You don't need to ask permission from anyone else to live your own life your own way. “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf)

• Are you worried about what people will think of you? Might as well stop that. We all worry about that sometimes, but the truth is this: people don't think about you nearly as much as you fear they do. 

• If you do have critics, so what? Many of your critics have probably never stepped outside of their comfort zone like you are doing. Have sympathy for them instead of resenting them. One of my all-time favorite quotes, "The Man In The Arena" talks specifically about this. Take your time when you read this excerpt from a Theodore Roosevelt speech: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

• Are you worried what people will think of your actions? In her book Heart Talk, Cleo Wade says this: "When we live with honesty, positive intentions, fairness, love, integrity, and transparency, we do not need to spend our time explaining ourselves to others. Explanations are necessary only when our actions require justifications, and justifications are necessary only when our intentions are murky. Live your life with clear and good intentions and you will never have to spend your time explaining what you do or who you are."

• Are you worried about failing? We all do that, too. It's part of the shared human experience, so take heart. If it's a big goal, it likely won't be easy to achieve. Failures are lessons, opportunities, chances to refine, or sometimes just temporary setbacks. Wise words from Winston Churchill {Maybe. Probably not. This quote is attributed to 5 or 6 people, but it's still a great lesson.}: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."  Let's hear it again: It is the courage to continue that counts. If you think about it, nothing is really wasted if you learn from it.

• Is it risky? Probably. Look honestly at the risks involved. Don't be impulsive or brash about taking risks, but don't live in fear, either. Don't let fear make your decisions for you.

• In Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert says to do what you love because YOU love it. That will fuel you and give you joy and momentum. Don't do it to save the world, she says, do it for you. If you do it for you and make yourself joyful, you're already improving the world and that ripples out. 

• At the end of the day if you have something you want to do, it's up to you to do it. You cannot-- must not-- sit around and wait on everyone to endorse it. You'll never get that. If that ends up being what holds you back, then whose fault is it, really? Let your light shine.

I don’t need anyone’s permission to live a bold, creative life... and you don’t either.

Love & Light.

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