We hear it all the time. The opinions of others and what society deems as “acceptable” or “appropriate.” Everywhere we go and everywhere we look there’s someone or something all too ready and willing to remind us of the lives we’re supposed to be living. “You shouldn’t…. You have to…. You can’t…. Don’t ever…. “ Um…excuse me. I have one very important question to ask here:
I mean HONESTLY! Who died and made everyone else boss? Apparently, I missed the memo that said that at some point, human beings were given the unconditional right to judge every single thing about everyone else and to dictate who they’re supposed to be, what they’re supposed to think, want and feel, and all of the terms in which another human being is worthy and permitted to be loved and accepted.
We are LITERALLY the only living species that does this. I’ll prove it to you. I have the most breath-taking arboretum just a few minutes from my home that I go to as often as I can. As I walk through this beautiful gift of nature, I see so many things: flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors, and little woodland critters like rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and butterflies by the dozens. I listen to the relaxing sounds of water trickling in fountains, birds chirping and the wind as it blows. It’s sheer bliss!
I’ll tell you what I don’t hear or see. I don’t hear any of the flowers gossiping in their flower beds about the droopy flowers across from them. I don’t see any of the butterflies shunning the other butterflies for not fluttering fast enough. I never witness any form of shaming or condemnation among any other living things for the way the are created or for the ways they express themselves in nature. I don’t hear a single tree asking for permission to shed its leaves or a single bloom asking for permission to turn its face to the sun.
“Stop asking permission. You don’t need it. Stop waiting to be chosen. Choose yourself.” -Joanna Penn
So, it begs the question: Why do we spend so much of our lives waiting for permission to start living? Take it from this recovering people-pleaser. Living your life tiptoeing around the opinions and judgments of others is a miserable and exhausting life indeed. It burns you out and wears you down at every level of your being. You literally forget who you are and go through life with one sole purpose: keeping everyone but yourself happy.
As Andy Dufresne said in The Shawshank Redemption, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” It took half of my life and an amazingly strong metaphysical slap upside my head for me to realize that I had learned how to adapt, survive and exist, but I wasn’t living the life I was created for at all! It was also when I learned the most important lesson of my life: You can literally spend your entire life waiting for permission from others to live your own life and to be happy, but you will die before it ever comes.
“The average American spends six months of his or her life waiting for red lights to turn green. Six months wasted, waiting for permission to move on.” -Megan McCafferty
It’s time to decide how much more time we want to waste waiting for permission to live? I mean REALLY LIVE! Sure, it’s uncomfortable and it’s going to take time to get used to making choices for yourself. You will be met with resistance along the way and quite frankly, YES! You’re going to piss off some people when you stop being and doing the things you once were. Not everyone is going to like or approve of the choices you make. Human beings are creatures of habit and people don’t like change. But, in order to live our greatest and most fulfilling lives, change is necessary.
I can’t tell you that I have this down to an exact science or that I’ve perfected the art of giving myself permission. This is a journey I will be on for the rest of my life. Some days I’ll make better time than others and I’ll give myself green lights all the way. Other days, I find myself stuck in gridlock traffic catching every red light I throw in my path. But what matters most is that I keep going, keep making as many U-turns as necessary and never stay parked in dead-end.
How much of your life are your living for yourself and what are you ready and willing to do to give yourself permission to live your life for you?
The information contained on this website and accompanying blog and membership area (collectively “website”), including ideas, suggestions, techniques, videos, products and other materials is educational in nature, is provided only as general information, and is not medical or psychological advice. You understand there is a distinction between “healing” as referenced on this website and the practice of medicine, psychology, or any other licensed health care practice. While Debbie O’Keefe has been trained and has experience in a variety of emotional freedom techniques, she is not a physician, psychologist, psychotherapist, or other licensed health care provider. Debbie O'Keefe does not diagnose, nor does she make any claim to "cure" or "treat" any physical or mental health conditions. None of the services provided by Debra O'Keefe of Life Path Consulting are meant to replace any conventional medical or mental health treatment or therapies including prescription medication, counseling, and other conventional therapies. Results will vary and are completely dependent upon the level of commitment and effort of the client. The services she offers are not licensed by the State of New York or elsewhere in the United States.
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