Permission Granted

Permission Granted

“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.” – Byron Katie 

When I was a kid, I always felt compelled to play by the rules. I walked throughout the elementary school hallways  when I wanted to run, waited for my parents to sort out my Halloween candy into rations before diving head deep into my pillowcase full of tootsie rolls, and even tried my best to control my self-expression (talking) throughout a decade and a half of schooling. Whenever I deviated from the particular socially accepted etiquette, I felt uncertain and uncomfortable.

As I got older, I noticed that many of the kids around me were breaking all sorts of rules. In the midst of the most awkward years of my life, middle school, bullying started to show its face. Cliques began to form and rebellion felt like a natural form of expression for others. Yet, I still was too damn chicken-shit to participate. I can still remember how I felt when I was sent to the principal for being part of a ‘food fight’ in 4th grade. My food fight participation had more to do with fitting in as I sneakily tossed my empty Yoo-hoo box across the cafeteria.

That experience was followed by another rebellious one… I got a detention for drinking water during my freshman year of high school. Yea, I know what ya’ll are thinking? This dude is an absolute REBEL. Well….not exactly.

While I did feel quite alive after ‘participating’ in the food fight and confused about my 9th grade history teacher’s water policy, I did know this: I was continuously looking for permission before I acted.

Moving forward, this behavior began to clearly seek deeper repercussions than the detention and short suspension for the chocolate milk throwing and the rebellious water drinking.

Imagine creating a belief that said behaving in a certain way would prevent you from being judged, getting in trouble, or face rejection? Would you be inclined to behave like this?

For about a quarter of century, that was a belief that I held closer than that pillowcase of Halloween candy.

I was constantly seeking permission. Am I allowed to do this or explore that? I needed rules…..I craved ultimate certainty that what I was doing was ‘correct’.

I believed that what I would see others do, wear, and act was how I was supposed to act. Everything that I was told, I believed. I was completely under the control of my environment and surrounds, or so I thought.

So what did I sacrifice in order to seek permission?

As I began to form my own thoughts around societal influences, I noticed how disconnected I actually was from my core truths. I sought permission from others to act in a way that they found ‘acceptable’ while looking for the behavioral choices that would lead me towards acceptance and out of trouble.

During year twenty six, I decided that it may be time to disrupt the rabblement. What would happen if I decided to grant myself permission?

What if I allowed myself to be: MYSELF.

Without allowing fears, doubts, or rules guide my actions. What would life look like?

I gave myself permission to:

Go to bed at 11pm. Give up alcohol entirely. Travel without plans. Speak before thinking. Be kinder to myself and others. Express my desires to women openly and honestly. Embrace my emo-bro side.

I gave myself PERMISSION to shine. I gave myself PERMISSION to be me.

I can’t grant you the permission that you’re seeking. Your best friend, parents, or significant other don’t have the power to give you this right either. That permission must come from within.

As a young brave girl from a dove ad awareness campaign said, “The things that make us feel insecure are the things that make us different. But the things that make us different, are the things that make us unique. And that is what makes us beautiful.”

I give myself permission to ______________.

We’d love to hear you courageously share what you are ready to give yourself permission to do in the comments below!

Photo by Garrett

Josh Barad

I'm Josh Barad, founder and CUO (Chief Uncomfortable Officer) at In The Middle Seat. I help the peeps of my generation lead more meaningful lives through living uncomfortably.

Latest posts by Josh Barad (see all)

36 Comments

  1. Hi Josh,

    Like you, i’m a rebel by heart. I always do things differently from my peers and friends. What I want to share that do follow your heart if you want to make a difference to your life as long as it makes you feel happy.

    I give myself PERMISSION to live a life freely without ever worry about money.

    What about you?

    Reply
    • Jeffrey, thanks for sharing! Lately, I’ve been giving myself permission to take GOOD care of myself. Sleep 8+ hours. That’s been on my mind. What’s inspiring you the most these days? I’d love to hear…

      Reply
  2. Hear, hear! It’s quite difficult to be authentically ourselves, and this is a beautiful call to action and reminder.

    Reply
    • Heck Yes! Thanks for reading, glad it resonates. ;)

      Reply
  3. I give myself permission to live my life by my own rules.

    That includes doing the work I want to do, following my dream and not submitting to get a 9-5 job that does not light my inner fire.

    It includes exploring my mind and how our universe works, when other mock and accept the world as it is.

    It includes making my own economy and not being affected by the world economy.

    It includes creating my own life based on my own dreams.

    Great post Josh, I think many of us went through what you have described, but some of us have seen the light, we gave ourselves the permission.

    Reply
    • Robert, great way of putting it: We’ve seen the light! We ALL have it within us, don’t we? Where there is light, there is usually also darkness? It comes down to choice. A lesson I learned over time. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  4. Good for you that you were able to “see” at age 26. It took me far longer. I refuse to think of the space in between as time wasted yet I can’t help but think how much happier I would have been had I “seen” as young as you!

    Reply
    • Dale, Thanks for sharing! Even at 27 now, I feel like I could’ve found it so much earlier. What i’ve realized, regardless of age, we find it when we’re READY for it, not a moment sooner. ;)

      Reply
  5. I’ve recently started thinking along these same lines too. I am giving myself permission to go after the dreams I gave up on a long time ago and to fight for what I want in my life. Thanks for posting as I think a lot of us live like this without realizing it.

    Reply
    • Heck yes, keep after those dreams Carrisa! Let me know if we can support in anyway in your journey. ;)

      Reply
  6. I give myself permission to try all the things I’ve denied myself by seeking my Mother’s approval, for the past 50 yrs.

    Reply
    • Wow, Yolande. Thanks for sharing. Just remember, it’s never too late! Rock it. ;p

      Reply
  7. Josh,

    I have enjoyed reading your post. I love the word permission, which broken up says Per Mission. So you are so in the flow of allowing your inner sense of what your mission in life is so all according per mission.

    Susan

    Reply
    • So cool Susan! I never looked at it like that before. Thank you for sharing! ;)

      Reply
  8. I give myself permission to VOICE MY OPINIONS. Also, I give myself permission to CHANGE MY MIND.

    This article totally resonated with me. Living by the rules (which often also means being a follower or a coward) is such a difficult behavior to unlearn. I really appreciated this post. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Glad it resonates Ayidas! Thanks for sharing ;)

      Reply
  9. Really enjoyed your post, Josh. I have my own journey of learning to be myself + living by my own rules. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I’m so much happier pleasing myself rather than trying to please everyone else. Best of luck to you~

    Reply
    • Loving the love Marcy! Thanks for sharing the space with me ;)

      Reply
  10. Thanks for a great post. I give myself permission to believe that my blog will be a success and will sustain me financially.

    (I’ve been told several times that I write well but I have a lot of trouble believing that I can make a living out of writing)

    Reply
    • Keep the non believers further away than the believers. You’re well on your way Ash! Let me know how we can further support ;)

      Reply
  11. I give myself permission to live my life however the heck I want :)

    Reply
    • Rock it Olga. Rightfully so! ;)

      Reply
  12. I give myself the permission to fail, to be laughed at, to feel embarrassed, and to be wrong.
    I also give myself the permission to succeed, to be taken seriously, to not be embarrassed and to be right. I give myself the permission to feel my life sucks, and I give myself the permission to feel being alive is great. I give myself permission to be messy and I also give myself the permission to look great. I give myself the right to choose what I want instead of catering to other people. I give myself the permission to be timid and care about hat other people think. I also give myself the permission to be bold and not care about what the other people think. I give myself the right to get what I want despite what the other people think because this is my life and what I experience is up to me.

    Reply
    • Preach Yoyo, Preach. Love it! ;p

      Reply
  13. WOOP WOOP!

    Thank you so much for sharing that kick-!@# article Josh. I can admit I’ve been a rebel my whole life. Dad said “Play sports”, I said “HELL NO!” Teachers said “That’s wrong and this is right,” and I said “Why!?” Sure, it got me into trouble sometimes, but if we stand for nothing, we’ll fall for anything and I ain’t, nor will I ever be a sucka.

    I give myself permission to… DO ME – unapologetically.

    Much love.

    Reply
    • Do You Reno. Do You. And yes you are….

      Great to see you on board! ;)

      Reply
  14. Great post Josh, without the boldness to step outside of our comfort zones, life is lived according to someone else’s standards. I used to be the same way, afraid that “I’m not allowed to ______”…. and some sort of punishment in the form of rejection would happen if I didn’t toe the line.

    When I realized I was the only one “allowed” to set my rules it was liberating and scary and it took a bit for me to free myself of the shackles of fear – but so worth it! “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.”

    Reply
    • Lorna, Thanks for sharing. It’s great to step into that mindset of moving through your fears instead of being inhibited by them. ;)

      Reply
  15. Thank you for a beautiful post and one that has resonated VERY deeply with me, to the very essence and core of my soul.
    I give myself to grieve a disease I didn’t ask for and to forgive all the people over the years who have made rude remarks to me about how to “cure” it, without meaning to offend me.
    I give myself permission to cry whenever I want to, because I was never allowed to show emotion growing up. I can now cry any darn time I want to without feeling even a second of regret or embarrassment.
    I give permission to myself to let others’ songs, words and actions touch the deepest part of my soul on an almost daily basis without any reservation whatsoever.
    I give myself permission to forgive parents who did the best they could without meaning to intentionally wound me and my siblings.
    I give myself permission to let mental health providers help me with things that should have had resolution years and even decades ago.
    Thank you to all who have expressed thoughts on this blog who have touched me deeply.

    Reply
    • So deep and profound Christie. I’ve got chills over here. Thanks for sharing! ;)

      Reply
  16. I give myself permission to be liberated from needing the approval of anyone before doing what feels right. I give myself permission to laugh at my mistakes and celebrate my perfect imperfection…and try and do better with the knowledge I got from the experience.

    Awesome post!

    Reply
    • Larry..Love it brother. Always looking to improve, yet not worrying to much about needing that approval. Thanks for sharing man, let me know how I could further support you on your journey! ;)

      Reply
  17. I give myself permission to “live every moment of my life fully without any silly rules and frightening others.”
    i just wanna be myself.

    Reply
    • Shine Bright Megha, Be YOURSELF. Love it. Thanks for sharing! ;)

      Reply
  18. I give myself permission to:

    a) Ask for sound reasoning and logic for the behaviors people want me to align with
    b) I give myself permission to eliminate the “HAVE TO”s and “MUST BE”s and make way for choices of “FREE WILL”
    c) To live philosophical and sheer simple immaterial of anyone’s likes and dislikes

    Reply
  19. So cool, Karthik. Permission to make choices of FREE WILL. Love it. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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