You have permission to make a change

I am giving it to you.

Not that you need me to.

You were already allowed.

If something is not how you want it to be, if you are not getting what you need, if something else would make you happier, you are allowed to change it. You are allowed to try something else. You are allowed to quit, or have a go, or say no this time even though you have always said yes.

You have permission to make a change.

Life is big and busy and full and it can feel easier to stick with the status quo, to not upset anyone or anything.

Or maybe you don’t know there is an alternative, you have always played this story on repeat, believing this is the only way it can be.

Whatever.

We are creatures of habit.

We behave in a certain way because it is easy, or good for us, or causes the least resistance, or makes other people happy. Then we repeat these behaviours over and over again for the same reasons.  Then we get stuck with habits that have become the norm. A week, or a month or a few years can pass and we think this is how it always has and always will be.

But it doesnt have to be.

You have permission to make a change.

Maybe you are reading this and for a second you allowed yourself to believe that things didn’t have to remain as they are. Your heart woke up and for a brief second you felt light invade, you saw a change that could be possible. But before you could enjoy this illuminating feeling, your practical (and many times disappointed) soul shut it down. The inhale of possibility was expelled fast. It left you winded.

Or maybe you have tried to change some area of your life before and it failed. You were brave enough to risk a conversation with that person who was treating you badly and they didn’t hear what you were saying. You asked for more: a title, a pay rise, greater responsibility, and were laughed at. You tried to quit a certain responsibility but somehow you left even more embedded in the obligation than before.

Hope can be painful if you are convinced it is a fantasy.

Could I speak for a second to your disappointed heart?

Maybe change isn’t a fairy tale.

Maybe there is a chance you won’t always feel how you feel, you won’t always have to pull yourself through the day only to end it exhausted.

Let me tell you a story to blow on the hope-embers.

I lived with low level anxiety and disappointment as a way of life for a long time. The best part of a decade.

It was just how life was.

Flat. Mundane. Routine. Hard.

Getting through the day took every ounce of my energy. I couldn’t see how it could ever be different. My marriage was brittle, my children were demanding, my energy non-existent. I had no hopes for the future because I couldn’t see past my present reality. Life had crowded in. When I acknowledged I felt trapped, I felt guilty about it.

I didn’t know I was depressed. I didn’t think my situation was fancy enough to have a name or diagnosis that came some way to explaining the lethargy and hopelessness that had crept in on me.

But then one day someone told me that change was possible. They pointed out my life didn’t have to be as it had always been. This was not my lot. My portion. They told me it was possible to get well.

Over the next weeks and months they gave me courage to take charge of my life. They gave me permission.

All it took was an idea to begin the process. And the volition to start to think about who I was and what I wanted. Not what the kids wanted, or my husband wanted. Not what my church wanted or my parents wanted. Not even what my friends wanted, or my employer wanted. I began to remember I also wanted things.

I had desires. I had needs. As I built the muscle of volition I gave myself permission to start making some changes.

These were not huge or life-altering. I started small. (It was all I had the courage and energy for).

I quietly slipped out of responsibilities I had previously thought inviolable.

I held my breath to see what would happen.

Nothing.

Nobody died. No-one disowned me.

I built the courage to say ‘No’, when I was asked to contribute or serve. When someone asked me to lead the singing at Mums and Tots, or help in school, or pray in church.

When someone asked me to put myself out for their convenience.

Sometimes I had to say no three times before I was heard. When you have always said ‘yes’ people ignore your ‘no’ because they assume you are persuadable. I learnt not to be persuadable. I turned down work if it didn’t excite me, even though as a freelancer I feared I would never be asked again.

Slowly these little changes began to bear fruit in my life. I created a small margin, a buffer zone.

And that was all I needed. I had nudged the door enough to wedge it open and through the crack I started to see what was possible.

What was possible if I believed I had permission to create the life I wanted?

If you are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. If you can’t see how anything could ever be different. If you feel as though you are buried under the weight of ought, should and must. If you feel other people have more say about how you spend your time than you do. Maybe it is time to start to think about making a change.

What would change look like?

And what is stopping you from making that change?

You don’t need it, but let me give you permission: you have permission to change you life.

Start today.

Big love x

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