You are an adult now. This is important because
you don’t need to be asking for permission anymore!
The permission is granted by you! Part of growing up is learning that we get to choose what movies to watch, what friends to have and what clothes to wear. This “not asking for permission” stuff is fabulous! We can stay up late, eat junk food, and play loud music if we desire. We have the permission and the power to make our own decisions and it feels fantastic. But eventually life settles down and very slowly we somehow begin to give this power away.
It all starts out quite innocently at first. Lets say you are out shopping and see a sweater (or something like that) but can’t decide if you prefer the green or the blue. You immediately picked up the phone to call a friend to get her opinion. “What color do you think I should get?” It all sound so normal, but when you really think about it… how in the world does someone else know what color you want?
It’s great to get a second opinion and you want to seek the advice of others and value their opinions, but you must be aware that the final decision is yours to make. Maybe you were leaning towards the blue, but your friend liked the green. It is important to be true to yourself and have the guts to stand firm, disagree, and let your thoughts be known. Too often we feel the need to have other people’s consent or approval before we take action. To wear the white hat I talk about in my book, you need to find the courage to give yourself the authority to make your own decisions. Again, yes please get the input of others, but if you prefer the blue let the final decision, let the permission, be granted by you.
To me permission is connected to power. When you feel the need to ask someone else if it’s okay to do something then you are assuming they have the power or authority to give their consent. It can be something as simple as: “Can I buy some girl scout cookies from the neighbor?” “Is it okay to buy these silly holiday socks?” “Should I go out for a drink after work?” Do you really need to ask someone else’s permission for small things like that? Again, you are an adult now so take the responsibility for your own decisions and stop allowing other people to make simple decisions for you.
I remember the first time I became aware
that I was giving away my power
One day I was in a grocery store and I remember that I couldn’t decide what type of brownie mix to get. My automatic response was to pick up the phone to get a second opinion. Then it hit me! “When in the world did I stop trusting myself and need someone else to validate my decision! I am a full-grown adult with responsibility and stress, and I make important decisions at work everyday. Why in the world can’t I make a simple decision about what kind of brownies I want to bring to the party? I’m a big girl now so hang up the darn phone and take back my power!” That incident may have been about a minor decision, but the awareness behind it was pretty profound.
I realize that life can be complicated, and if you have a partner or spouse, they certainly have influence in your life, but in the end you are responsible for your own actions. Of course you wouldn’t plan an event or go out of town without asking your spouse, roommate or friend if it interferes with something they had already planned. The advice of other people is a good thing so don’t stop asking, just remember you are asking for an opinion, not asking for permission. And yes you really should ask permission before you borrow a friend’s stuff or even pet a strangers dog. But if you want to catch up with an old friend or buy a new pair of socks, at your age, you shouldn’t need to be asking for permission. A big part of being a grown-up is acknowledging that you have the power to make your own decisions, so stop giving that power away.
The Life Lesson from “A White Hat and Rose Colored Glasses” is:
The permission is granted by you
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