I am back to running on the elliptical again. I had to face it – my hip was not getting any better. The beginning and end of every run were painful and even a short car ride was excruciating. The exercises from the physical therapist, which I have faithfully completed twice a day, every day, do not have an impact on my pain level.
Elliptical training is not my favorite thing. The smile you see me smiling in the picture is totally fake.
While on the elliptical, I was used to watching the built-in television and reading the closed captioning as I ran. Old sitcoms were my shows of choice, followed by home improvement or cooking programs. When even that got to be too boring, I turned off the TV and allowed my mind to wander.
I thought about a hauntingly beautiful poem published by a fellow blogger called “Lull“. In this poem, Ali, the poet, used the phrase “living without permission“, which has been stuck in my mind for a month or so. I began turning this phrase over and over, trying to determine its significance.
We are wired to seek permission from the time we are children. We need permission from our parents to cross the street, from our teachers to speak, from authorities to walk on the grass in a public space. From the time we are very young, we are taught to seek approval from others before acting.
We need rules, of course. Society could not function without them. Rules help keep children safe and give them a sense of security and order. The problem comes when we, as adults, are afraid to make a move in any direction without asking for someone else’s permission.
As adults, who has the authority to grant us permission to be our true selves? At some point, each individual must give herself (himself) the authority to issue that permission.
It is scary to give yourself permission to live the life that is right for you. All kinds of terrible things could follow. What if people don’t like you? What if they talk about you behind your back? What if they think you are crazy? What if it turns out to be too hard and you have to backtrack? What if you’re too scared or too tired or too old?
Yes, all of those things could happen. To live life without asking for permission, you must convince yourself that those things bother you less than living a life of not being true to your own heart for one more day.
You must give yourself permission to fail, not once, but lots of times, in order to succeed. When I first began writing this blog, I was not a very good writer (I am still not great, but I am learning.) After I wrote my first blog post I submitted it to an online writers’ group. The leader of the group tore it apart, made dozens of corrections.
You know what? He was right. I made those suggested corrections and wound up with a much better post than I originally wrote. Thank goodness the only ones reading my blog at that time were close family members. I had to give myself permission to fail without thinking of myself as a failure.
If I hadn’t given myself permission to be less than perfect, I would never have embarked on this writing adventure. I would never have met my eclectic group of blogging friends, whom I have learned to admire and trust, and who have taught me so much in such a short period of time. I would not have experienced the satisfaction, and sometimes joy, of creating. I would not have had the opportunity to express myself and to encourage others.
As an adult, I must accept all the blame and make no excuses for my decisions if I fail. I am responsible for my own actions and my own happiness. Having positive role models, or even heroes is good, as long as we understand that we cannot be our heroes, we can only hope to incorporate some of their good traits into our own repertoire.
Learning to live my genuine life was like learning to exhale. So much stress came from trying to become the person I thought everyone wanted me to be. It felt good to let that stress go, to advance toward my own fragile image of my authentic self. As I matured, I preferred to accept the disapproval of others rather than to be untrue to myself.
Of course, to be true to yourself, you must first get to know you. You must have an innate sense of your principles, values and moral code. You must have a good grasp of which rules you will follow and which ones you will choose to ignore. Yes, we all ignore some rules. Some are actually best ignored, like the weird “i before e except after c” rule (see what I did there)? Or the “don’t start a sentence with a conjunction” rule? (I could do this all day!)
To live without permission you must know which people to hold close to your heart and which are best kept at arm’s length, then have the strength to act on that knowledge. Taking action is the most demanding part. But, by acting, you are giving yourself permission to be you.
As a runner and a writer, I know that the hardest part in reaching your goal is taking that first tentative step, writing that first shaky word. Showing up is half the battle. You can do it. Make it happen. Live without asking permission.
I am linking up with Clean Eats Fast Feets for her Week in Review, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging, Mary-andering Creatively for LMM, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, blovedboston for Weekending, Oh My Heartsie Girl for Wonderful Wednesday, Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday, Purposeful Faith for RaRa link up, Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Shank You Very Much for Dream Team, Shelbee on the Edge for Spread the Kindness, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner, Worth Beyond Rubies, Kristin Hill Taylor for Porch Stories, Amelia Gilliand for Words That Inspire, Create With Joy for Wordless Wednesday, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Be Thee Inspired, Lori Schumaker for Moments of Hope, Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Crystal Twaddell for Fresh Market Friday, Spiritual Sundays for Welcome, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, and Nanahood.