A couple of years ago, I believed there was never any reason to give myself permission just to be myself.
Fear ruled me and perfectionism soothed me, even with ten years of recovery. So: No! The permission to just show up and be myself was never allowed.
Around this time, I was given an opportunity to talk. I was asked to speak for the Eating Recovery Foundation conference.
However, I had to kind of audition first. I was scared and excited. "What if he doesn't like me?" I fretted. "What if I act like I have absolutely no idea what I am doing?" "What if he can see who I really am?" "What if…" "What if…"
I was going down in flames of “not enough” and getting ready to sabotage everything. I mean... the pressure was way too much, and I wanted to bail. But I couldn’t even give myself permission to do that.
So I called a friend — it's a tool that never fails me in my recovery. She suggested that I start giving myself permission. What? Come on! But I was desperate (sigh) so I tried it.
I wrote a permission slip for myself and placed it in my purse to carry with me when I met the employer. The paper read: "I give myself permission to not hustle for my worthiness." For someone who was so desperate to be liked, it was a frightening permission slip to write and to honor.
I showed up: nervous, excited, and carrying my permission slip. I reminded myself not to hustle and I even showed the employer the permission slip. We both laughed.
I got the gig.
Giving myself permission liberated me so much that I incorporated it into my talk as a tool in recovery. I asked the audience to give themselves permission for one thing that the eating disorder would tell them they could not do, be or experience.
Giving ourselves permission sets our truth — and our spirit — free.
The truth is: it is the acceptance of self — as we are — perfectly imperfect — that creates a foundation in which we grow. We just need to get out of the way and give ourselves permission when required.
What will you give yourself permission for today?
Robyn Cruze, MA is the National Recovery Advocate and online community manager for Eating Recovery Center.