Permission vs Forgiveness

Are you an ask permission person or an ask forgiveness person? What I mean is this…is your life bound by societal rules, childhood subconsciously learned rules, social pressure rules…you get the idea. Or is your life a Katie-bar-the-door they can forgive me later kind of life? There isn’t really a middle spectrum in my opinion.

Me? I’m a permission gal. Always have been. Always want to do the right thing, say the right thing, or BE what everyone expects me to be. Even in my travels I’m asking permission – in a way – by discussing each trip with my circle before really taking the plunge. If even one person in that circle didn’t think whatever I had dreamed up was awesome my mind would immediately start to worry. Undo. Imagine worst case scenario. FEAR.

In a permission life there isn’t a lot of spontaneity. You are too afraid of going against the grain. Standing out. Being judged. What I failed to realize is that those rules (walls) were slowing moving in on me. Inch by inch, day by day, year after year. As the roles that literally defined me have disappeared those walls have closed in hard. Wife. Mother. Caretaker. Niece. Granddaughter. Employee. Friend. Some of these roles will always be in existence but either they have drastically changed or I am no longer content to exist solely as they have always defined me. It has gotten almost impossible to be content being every one else’s version of Amy.

My idea of a forgiveness kind of life is being free. The old adage “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” is ringing in my ears right about now. I imagine a forgiveness life means you are free to not think about every conversation in your head before you have it looking for and eliminating any landmines that might cause confrontation. Free to say (as Fred would have) “F*&$ ’em and feed ’em fish heads” if they don’t like it. Free from the stress of seeing all the bad (and only the bad) the world has to offer. Free from the anxiety of worrying about all the bad the world has to offer. Free to decide I want to go somewhere or do something without checking in with anyone to make sure it’s a good idea. Free to not let that sixth sense you have about people and situations completely immobilize you. Free to not apologize for my existence. Free to have the knowledge that I can am a smart, driven, capable person who can protect myself!

Along with recognizing my dissatisfaction of my roles I have come to realize that living a permission kind of life limits me. Comparing these two – both as I write this and in all the self work I’ve been doing – I can realize that a permission life was safe for me at one point in my life. It was what I needed for survival. It gave me stability and I knew what the rules are. As the universe is saying “stop hiding and start living” the permission life now feels like a concrete block pulling me to the bottom of the ocean faster than I can scream for help.

My real dilemma now is figuring out how to make the transition. My motivation app keeps me deluged in “greatness” and “chase your dreams” pep talks but my 43 year old brain hasn’t connected how to go from waiting on permission to figuring out and leaping towards my new “hell ya” season of life. I suspect the emotional weight I carry that keeps me feeling like I’m drowning is the insecurity of not knowing what rules I am living by now. What to do. Where I am going. Who my brain thinks it should be asking for permission. Who I freaking am for Pete’s sake.

My impatient immediate gratification self is going to have to learn how to just enjoy the journey. I know with work it will come in time. It’ll take repetitive conscious decisions to take actions different than I always have. Speaking openly and honestly on this blog is one of my “fuck ’em” decisions. (Ha! I didn’t do the expected thing and make the bleep ok!) You may not always like what I have to say but you damn sure are always going to know it came from my heart.

Blessings y’all – Amy

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