When I was younger, I felt like I didn’t have a voice or say in the world, even within my own life.
I moved several times throughout childhood, switching from school to school. And I never really understood why. All I knew at the time was that making new friends was hard enough as it was, and everything just felt like more baggage that 10 year old me didn’t want to carry. Much less know how to carry.
For a long time, and even to today, I felt lost in who I am. And since then, I’ve been on a constant search for myself. For my soul. For the things that will bring me genuine joy and happiness.
And every time I think about changing directions, I look to everyone else around me and ask, “Is this okay? Is this going to keep me safe? Is this the wrong thing to do?" Because over time, I subconsciously learned that my decisions were not truly mine, but the world's to make.
I learned to ask for permission from everyone, but myself (the most important person of all). After all, who knows what makes me happier better than me?
On this journey, I’ve come to learn that it doesn’t matter if everyone else in the world believes in you and your vision if you don’t believe in yourself.
Because until you give yourself that permission, the self-approval to go forward, you will never be able to truly go forward.
And there will always be something keep you back, whether it’s fear, doubt, shame, guilt, or overwhelm.
The validation you're looking for has to come from you.
It doesn't matter if everyone else in the world is willing to give it to you, because trust me, their validation isn't the one you're looking for. It's your own.
It’s something you have to do for yourself.
To give you a fair warning - it is hard, it is scary, it may feel like it’s completely impossible, and you will want to give up and go back to bed. Please know that it's okay if you feel this way and know that you aren't alone in this, but also know that it is absolutely possible for you.
I get it. It is absolutely terrifying to say to yourself, “Yes, this change in direction is okay. I will not die from it. I will not end up homeless. And I will not ruin my life. It’s going to be scary, it’s going to be hard work, but it’s also going to be absolutely amazing and so worth it. I can do this, and I believe in myself." Because guess what? You absolutely can do this and believe in yourself.
Think of your struggles and failures as learning opportunities, because that is exactly what they are. That is also what I call my wins and successes - learning opportunities. No matter what happens, you will have many wonderful and exciting opportunities to learn something new and to be a few steps closer to where you want to go.
the freedom and permission to live freely and with purpose can be scary.
Giving yourself the freedom and permission to live a fully meaningful and vibrant life can be a frightening thought, because you are also acknowledging the fact that you are now held fully responsible and liable for your own actions and decisions. Not anyone else but yourself. The ball is in your court now.
What happens next is your own responsibility, and that can sometimes be a scary pill to swallow.
One of the reasons why we feel the desire to ask for everyone else’s advice before following our own is because we can later come back and say, “Oh. That’s not what I really wanted to do. This other thing was what I really wanted to do, so..."
Asking for other peoples' permission to take action in our lives can often be a cop out for not doing what we truly desire. The truth is, more often than not, we already know what it is we want in life, but we're afraid of going after it. We're afraid of failing, we're afraid of looking dumb, we're afraid of what our people will think, ...we're afraid of so many things. So not doing anything at all seems like the safer option.
We're afraid that we might not get there, because so many others have tried and failed. And that's true. They have tried and failed, but have you? Have you tried and failed? If so, how many times did you allow yourself to fail? Because failing once is not enough. Even failing a hundred times may not be enough. There is always more for you to learn.
Don’t be afraid to take responsibility for your own life. Responsibility is not a bad thing; it may be scary and overwhelming at times, but it also means you are in control of your own life. Until we start taking responsibility for our own actions and decisions (as scary as it may be), we will never be as fully invested in ourselves or as insanely passionate as we could be.
It’s time for you to stop asking for permission from everyone else to live the life you want.
Give yourself the permission and complete freedom to live, to feel, to try, to fail, to succeed, to love, to experience life and joy, to go through stormy weather and heartache, over and over again, as many times as you need. If there is anything that I’ve learned, it is this: True validation and love will not come from others, but from ourselves. It doesn’t matter if the whole world believes in you, if you don’t believe in yourself.
Give yourself the permission and freedom you’ve been looking for to live a truly meaningful and fulfilling life, because you deserve it and you do have a voice in this world.
** This post was originally written back in October 2016.