Give Yourself Permission

I’ve been traveling and taking on new work projects this month, which means something has had to give. And that something, unfortunately, is something I love: writing.

I’ve been considering writing this post for some time now, but it’s hard to write about this topic when I know I’m a big offender of not giving myself the permission I need to do things I enjoy.

What do I mean by giving yourself permission?

Things to give yourself permission for

I mean allowing yourself to do something positive when you might normally say no. I’m not saying it has to be something big or life-changing. Here are some things I like to (and need to) give myself permission to do:

  • Sit and read
  • Drink a cup of coffee (not while working)
  • Pick up my favorite foods at the grocery store
  • Take a walk without my phone
  • Invest in a high quality item (like a purse) that will be a suitable replacement for several items I own
  • Read someone else’s blog and leave them a comment
  • Spend time with my rabbits
  • Take a nap
  • Go out for coffee
  • Pausing work to write a blog post

Ultimately, it’s about allowing myself to stop being caught up in housework and regular work to enjoy my day a little bit more.

It’s about being nice enough to yourself to take opportunities when they are available.

Be childish

When I was a kid, I had to ask for permission to have a Mountain Dew (which, looking back, was probably not a good idea to begin with). I had to ask permission to go to friends’ houses for the night.

I was so excited, as I’m sure most of you were, to become an adult and be able to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

But then came the responsibilities and the stress. Self-denial came along too.

I find myself denying a cup of coffee when I really want to sit, sip and relax. I deny myself short walks outside because there’s work to be done.

I realized that my “childish” desires (to write, to play with my rabbits, to indulge in a tasty beverage) are still there. They’re just waiting for permission to happen – my permission.

Take a moment to consider what you find difficult to give yourself permission to do. Is it something that would be positive and fulfilling? Is it healthy? Then say yes.


So say yes

Once you’ve evaluated what it is that you’d really like to be doing, learn to say yes.

I know this comes as common sense to some people, but the more tightly-wound will understand what I mean. It’s so hard to break away from housework, real work and other obligations even when the alternative is a positive one.

Say yes to peeling your eyes off of this computer screen and stepping outside for a moment. Say yes to cooking something amazing. Say yes to writing that blog post you’ve been meaning to write.

Say yes to being self-compassionate. This TEDx talk explores self-compassion and self-esteem and has helped me realized I need to be kind to myself and say yes more often:

…and sometimes say no

There’s so much about minimalism and simple living that is about saying no to things. Say no to excess, say no to clutter, say no to the advertised “norm.”

So what do you say no to and what do you say yes to? I’ve started setting some goals and building principles for myself to help me choose the right balance between the two.

Some questions to consider when building your guiding principles:

  • What do I want most for myself?
  • What do I want most for my home and possessions?
  • What do I want most for my loved ones?

If saying yes takes you closer to that goal, then say yes. If saying no takes you closer to the goal, then say no. Always do what moves you closer to your goals.

Sometimes, that means taking a break and drinking coffee while reading a book you can get lost in.

I’m still working it all out. But one thing’s for sure – this blog has helped me to hone in on what makes me feel most alive. It’s helped me to say yes a little more often. As I write this, I’m sipping tea in a cafe, which took a lot of permission for me to get out of the house and stop working for a while.

What do you find difficult to say no to? What should you start saying yes to more often?


9 thoughts on “Give Yourself Permission

  1. This is a great post. I’ve been saying ‘yes’ to carving out time for myself for the past couple of years. However, I’ve found it’s even harder to drop the guilt about ‘me time’ than it is just to take it in the first place. I guess this comes back to the idea of permission (maybe I haven’t REALLY been giving myself permission) or self-compassion. I also feel like there’s an element of socialisation at play – I am sure that somewhere in my subconscious is a voice telling me I need to be busy/helping someone/cleaning etc that my husband is completely deaf to! Lots of food for thought.

    • Thanks Meryl! Wow, I know exactly what you are talking about. We need to be nicer to ourselves! Self-care is so important, but it’s so easy to put off/feel guilty about. Thanks for reading and for commenting 🙂

  2. Pingback: Friday Roundup: 7/3/15 - GEN Y GIRL

  3. new to your blog (found it today via Becoming MInimalist) – and I really appreciate this post! It’s offering a fresh perspective that is needed. I hadn’t realized until I read this how often I will think I’ll get to those little things later, but of course I never do. I did take a walk the other day without my phone which was quite freeing. 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  4. My husband and I own our own business. Saying yes to anything that doesn’t help to build that makes me uncomfortable. But, as you say, self-nurturing is hugely important. And even when you know that it’s important, regular reminders help.

    Thanks for this post – I just discovered your blog today and have added it to my list of blogs to check regularly!

    • Thanks for reading, Barb! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. And I think self-nurturing is especially important for entrepreneurs – taking care of yourself means taking care of the business in the long run. Glad to have you along for the ride!

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