I’m inspired this week by a great post on Linked In which I found via Susan Cain’s Facebook page (if you are an introvert or the spouse/friend/parent/lover/teacher/fill-in-the-blank of an introvert you should definitely check out her site The Quiet Revolution and her exceptional book Quiet. Anyway the post (read it here) is by James Altucher, entrepreneur, author, and all-around influencer of people.
Basically he says that we need to worry less about the outward image we present to people and worry more about taking care of the stuff that really matters to us. We don’t need to ask for permission to do that although sometimes we convince ourselves that we do. Sometimes it’s a convenient excuse to put off making hard choices, and sometimes we’re just afraid. In either case giving yourself permission means growing up and getting on with the business of doing our thing to the best of our abilities. So without further ado here are 10 things that I am personally giving myself permission to do:
Some days, okay most days, like today for instance, writing seems like a waste of time. There are other seemingly more important things to do like the dishes or the laundry. But I love it. And it’s good for me. So I make the time even when it’s not the practical thing to do.
2. Call Myself Creative
I have a hard time calling myself creative. I think I’m afraid of the implications. Like if I give myself that title someone will call me out as a fraud. But I am creative. Actually I think we all are, every single one of us. But that’s a story for another blog post.
3. Say No to Things I Don’t Want to Do
I don’t have to accept every last invitation that comes my way. Lately I have been super choosy with what I do and who I do it with. Just because I say no sometimes doesn’t mean people will stop liking me or stop being my friend. Actually I think when I show up completely committed to a play date or party or whatever, I am a much more happy, engaging person and therefore much more likable.
4. Not Enjoy Every Minute I’m with My Kids
The people that give you that advice are well-meaning. They are usually older with kids who are grown, and I think the tough times have faded while the golden moments of being a parent linger in their memories. But when you are in the trenches of caring for children, especially the littler ones, it just isn’t reasonable to enjoy every moment. What you can do is accept things for what they are, good or bad, keep perspective, try your best, and practice gratitude.
5. Express My Opinions, Even if They’re Unpopular
There was a time not so long ago when I would just suck it up when someone pissed me off. Those times are over. For more on that see my Hulk Smash post from a few weeks ago.
6. Give Myself Space
I am 100% introverted. That doesn’t mean I hate people. I actually love hanging out with family and my close-knit circle of friends. But it takes a lot of my energy. So what being introverted does mean is that I need ample amounts of quiet and solitude to feel recharged. Usually it’s at night, when everyone is in bed and the house is silent. I used to think it was indulgent, but now I know it’s a necessity.
I have a lot of things I want to accomplish, and not a lot of time to accomplish them. Whenever I have a free moment, and I don’t take advantage of it by checking another thing off my list I feel guilty. But the more I concentrate on just the doing of things the less meaningful they become and the less meaningful the result. So sometimes it’s okay to chill and not think of the to-do list. This is a really hard one for me. Definitely a work in progress.
8. Feel Good About My Body
This is another hard one. At four months postpartum I had expected to be closer to my pre-pregnancy weight. It’s difficult not to look in the mirror and sigh. There are a lot of things I criticize about my appearance, but there are also a lot of things I like. And I remind myself that my body grew two human beings, and pushed those babies out (one without an epidural, I might add). My body propels me through difficult workouts and takes me amazing places and lets me hug those dearest to me. So when I start to get all depressed about it I try to feel grateful for my health and for my body and how it allows me to fully experience life. With or without a few extra pounds.
9. Be Silly
I’m kind of a weirdo. I admit it. I sometimes make silly noises or do funny dances for no other reason than because it feels good and right. I also find lots of things funny. It doesn’t take much to make me laugh. Some people think that’s annoying or that I’m being disingenuous. But I’m just being me. There’s too much to be serious about in this world as it is. A dash of silly can be just what the doctor ordered.
I have a really strong sense of empathy. Usually it serves me well, but occasionally, when I find myself crying at a commercial or something I read on Facebook I wonder if I’m a bit too sensitive. But just like there is too much seriousness in the world, there is too much callousness as well. Kindness, sensitivity, and vulnerability are not weaknesses, and neither is crying when something moves your heart or soul. Rather, it’s my belief that making those deep connections to others takes a certain kind of inner strength.
So that’s my permission slip, checked over and signed off.
Now it’s your turn. What should you give yourself permission to do?
Image credit: Eddie Colla