I came across this Danielle LaPorte post a few weeks back on giving yourself permission. She writes a very whimsical list of things we can all feel free to do. Or, rather, not do. She’s waved the wand. We’re allowed! They’re rather cute (I’ve posted my favourites below).
It’s a little bit like the idea of being “thoroughly me” which I wrote about a while back. When you work out what makes you YOU, it’s so liberating. You can make firmer decisions. You don’t apologise for yourself. You steer your little boat towards things that count.
A way to do this (to work out what makes you YOU) is to actually go through your life and identify the things that shit you, or give you that hunched, gritty, grey, niggly feeling when you just IMAGINE doing them. Then you tell yourself, actually, there’s no need to do that anymore. I mean, really. No. Need. In most cases.
I’m doing that right now. After getting back from my holiday I realised a lot of my life is spent doing “low-rent” stuff. That is, things that are low-quality for me. I accept jobs that are not part of my ethos. I help people who are takers. I take part in after-work activities that are obligations, but don’t make my heart sing. I say yes to meeting up with people who don’t make me feel warm and heartened. And days can go by and I wonder why I don’t feel magnificent.
What stops me from dropping the low-rent stuff is
a) not having perspective – when I’m bogged down in the quagmire I don’t access my feelings to see if an obligation or whatever is making me feel grey and niggly.
b) I’m scared that I’m not allowed to. But, really, it is just about giving yourself permission. No one else will. Who really cares? Only you. So just choose. And see what happens.
Right now, I’m freeing myself of a few low-rent experiences that have been bogging me down.
* Returning calls and emails from people who only want something from me is one. If they need me, they can track me down. This is hard…I’m a compulsive follow-upperer…but, seriously, the onus is on the other person.
* Chasing up people who say, “we should catch up”. I always follow up. I’m letting it rest for a bit and allowing the tables to turn. To see what happens.
* Doing vigorous exercise. It’s just not suiting me right now. Walking and yoga it is, for a few weeks.
* Eating proper dinners…I’m kind of liking doing random meals. Like anchovies on toast with a side of spinach. For breakfast, I had rice the other morning with haloumi. I’m a bit “meh” about square meals right now. Sick of being so vigilant.
* Following important people on Twitter. I just can’t care.
* I also liked this one from Danielle: “Cut out the elements of your business that you don’t totally LOVE. The parts that 90% of the time make you say, “WHY am I doing this? I don’t WANT to do this.” This is taking some thinking. It’s quite fun. Something is going to have to get the chop…
The rest of Danielle’s list below (an edited version). Feel free to add to it, to inspire all of us out of any rut we might be in!!!
: not finish reading books that you’re not really enjoying. Don’t force it, close it.
: walk out of movies that suck (and hey, if you leave in the first twenty minutes, you can get your money back.)
: own next to nothing, live on a mattress, read and write and make love all day with no other responsibilities***
: return crappy products to their crappy manufacturers (because you can vote with your dollars.)
: tell your kids when you think that something an authority figure told them is bullshit (you need to be in solidarity with your child, not the so-called grown ups.)
: quit your job, even if you just started two weeks ago, or just got a raise, or are seemingly indispensable.
: cut out the elements of your business that you don’t totally LOVE. The parts that 90% of the time make you say, “WHY am I doing this? I don’t WANT to do this.”
: give away/recycle/get rid of stuff, stuff, stuff sentimental stuff that special people gave you (your home is for you, not them); stuff that doesn’t make you feel good even, if you spent a lot of money on it; stuff that has intense memories attached to it; stuff!
: say no to “free” stuff, like swag bags at fancy events and novelty erasers and pom-pom pens from the bank. (Because the only thing in life that’s free is love.)
: leave work early, get some ice cream, and sit in the hot tub at the gym
: focus more on creating your soul job and less on finding a ho’ job.
: check your email whenever the hell you want.
: start now, without the degree, without the funding, without knowing exactly where you’re going.
: walk away.
: fall in love.
: eat dessert first.