I’m curious: did 2020 ask permission to throw curveballs galore at you? I’m damn sure 2020 didn’t and it was full of them.

Things happen to us without seeking permission. Yet as women, we often look to others for permission to act, to think, to feel, to share, to lead and more. Even when we know deep down in every cell of our bodies that we’ve got it.

Whether in response to a curveball or to an expected happening, do you permit others to change, to adapt and to flex to the situation? Yes? So, do you give yourself the same level of permission? My gut sense is probably now – in fact, you’re possibly harder on yourself than anyone else, right?

There is a myriad of reasons why we behave like this towards ourselves.

To set an example.

To keep the wheels on the wagon.

To not burden others.

To avoid fear, failure, being vulnerable and every other challenging emotion.

To look the other way and hope someone else steps up.

To stay within the bounds of “expectations”, archetypes and norms.

To not fall apart.

To look like we’re ok and coping.

Whatever the reason, by withholding permission to yourself you lose the ability to breathe, to feel good emotions and to live your values whilst meeting your needs.


Woman with head in hands, looking frustrated and tired

I invite you to take a second, close your eyes, breathe slowly into your ribs and simply ponder for a few minutes what would life be like if you gave yourself a bit more permission to live, work, parent, feel, act with more space for compassion and self-love?

What could that life of granting yourself permission be like? I think there is more joy to be found by making this mindset shift.

Let’s think about permission to feel. Good emotional hygiene needs us to feel all the feels; yes, I mean all the lovely ones and the painful ones and the middle of the road ones. But, oh boy that can be hard in hard times.

How have you expressed the emotions of 2020? I’ve found it to be a rollercoaster of disappointment, anxiety, sadness, fear and hope. I’ve journaled, danced, done dynamic mediations, as well as having a good cry. I’ve connected with others near and far to feel connection and closeness despite the new lockdown situation. Yet, I’ve still found joy in the beautiful candles that arrived from a friend, the cute photo of my youngest goddaughter and the doorstep act of kindness from my neighbour.

Question: do you need to give yourself permission to feel, express and process your emotions creating space for more joy?

Women standing behind iron bar railings

Ever fancied doing something new, something slightly scary or perhaps outside of the norms? Like a life drawing class or be a life drawing model? Or to do a parachute jump? Or ask someone out? Then only to find real resistance to saying yes, a heaviness in your legs and the desire to hide under your duvet. Yep, me too.

The reverse is also true, saying no can be just as tricky without self-permission to honour ourselves, our values and boundaries.

When you pondered what life might be like when you grant yourself permission, perhaps you allowed yourself a mid-afternoon bubble bath, an extra chapter of your book, to take a promotion, or to sit out seeing that movie you’ve no interest in…….

Question: how can you permit the choice to act and be (or not) to create space for more joy?

These require us to find the courage and to be vulnerable in sharing our values, our needs and our innermost selves, as well as showing up differently in our self-care, our actions and our expectations of ourselves and others.

Woman staring into space, pondering a decision

Without self-permission, we miss out on being fully vital, fully aligned and fully saying “YES” to our joy. So where to start? Sustainable behavioural change is a series of small steps that build to significant life and mindset shifts. 

Question: what small permissions can you grant yourself this week and what support do you need to achieve this?

On that point, don’t forget I’m here to help on the end of an email and within the Haven group, we are all there ready to provide an idea, a different perspective and to cheerlead you on. (Not joined the Haven yet, click here to do it now.)