I can’t force happiness, nor can I create it by discipline. Happiness comes from within. Happiness must be nurtured to grow within me.
Often when I consider making a positive change in my life, I think about sacrifice, discipline, and hard work. What if all I really need to do is give myself permission to make choices that enrich my life?
Permission is acceptance.
Granting myself permission allows me to be who I am right now, and acknowledge who I want to be. It doesn’t require me to give up something, it encourages me to give something positive to myself.
I don’t need to be perfect to give myself permission to be happy, it’s not a reward a gain only when I’ve achieved results. Giving myself permission to be happy today accepts me as I am in this moment.
I want to share a personal story. My beloved dog Kaylo has a terminal illness and I’ve been fighting my feelings of grief. I’ve been telling myself that I shouldn’t be sad because I need to focus on making the most of the time he has left. I was trying to force myself to be happy by logic and will and it wasn’t working.
When I gave myself permission to grieve, I felt such relief. Part of me still felt sad, and yet I felt a little happier, too. Accepting my grieving as a normal and appropriate response freed me from struggling against the grief. Acceptance for my grief allowed me to feel happiness for the happy things in my life.
Permission is empowerment.
Giving myself permission allows me to shift my mindset from what I think I should do, to choosing what is right for me.
I make greater progress when I stop thinking I can’t feel good about myself until I become the person I want to be. Giving myself permission to be happy gives me the opportunity to make positive choices for myself right now.
I thought I couldn’t grieve until after we said goodbye to Kaylo, and when I gave myself permission to grieve I could chose to let go of my worry and fear. I can’t be anxious, fearful, and happy at the same time so I made a positive choice which to let go for my health and well-being.
Asking for permission works, too.
There are times I “should” myself to the point that giving myself permission to make positive choices, and be happy seems impossible. I find myself trapped by my idea of who I think I should be. When this happens, I call a trusted friend and ask them for permission to take care of myself. Everyone needs help from time to time, and an impartial perspective can be just what I need to make progress.
I was so entrenched in struggle against my grief over Kaylo’s illness I wasn’t able to give myself permission to grieve until a friend suggested I simply feel my feelings. Suddenly I could give permission to myself feel grief, and the grief didn’t seem so big anymore.
Giving yourself permission to be you nurtures positive choices and greater happiness.
Whatever you’re struggling with, consider giving yourself permission to be who you are today, and permission to make at least one positive choice for your health and happiness today. Try not to think about where you think you should be, or even where you want to be. Be where you are and work from there.
Resist the idea that positive change comes from sacrifice and discipline. You may find it easier to make positive choices and nurture happiness by empowering your choices instead of limiting them. You’ll be happier, too.
If you’re struggling and need help, ask for it. Words of acceptance and encouragement can come from someone else, too.
I love your comments! Have you ever given yourself permission to be who you are in this moment? How did it feel? What would you like to give yourself permission to do/be/say today?