Permission To Change

It’s okay to change. It’s even okay to *want* to change. While this seems like a given, I find that many of us are stuck in old patterns because we think that we “should” be doing what we are doing. Whether that’s the place where we live, the home in which we live, the job we hold, the way we are raising our kids, or the food we eat. There are even more ways in which this can show up in our lives, but these are just a few of the common examples I tend to see in my clients’ situations.

I know that we often talk about fear of change. But what if it’s not just fear of the new thing that stops us? What if we need permission? I don’t mean permission from others, but I mean permission from ourselves. What if we need to hear, “it’s okay.” It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to change what you eat. It’s okay if you said you liked swimming but have decided you hate it and would like to be a runner instead — or a cross-country skier. It’s okay if you used to love salads but you don’t anymore. And it’s also okay if you realize that just this one time, you don’t want dessert just because everyone else is having it.

Often we come from a place of fear when it comes to making changes to our lives. Not sure what I mean? Well, have you ever thought:

1. There’s no way I could ever run. I’m too (fill in the blank with negative term, such as slow, old, out-of-shape). What if I can’t even run a mile? Should I even bother?

2. I’m having health problems and I know I could probably benefit from a change in what I eat. But I don’t like most vegetables. I don’t want to have to try any new foods. What if I won’t like them?

3. I want to off-load a lot of the things I own, because I’m tired of trying to find a way to store/clean/maintain them. But what if I need something after I get rid of it? What if the family member who gave it to me asks about it?

You could be right. Maybe some of your fears will come true. But maybe you’ll find that you’re okay, even if they do. Maybe you’ll be able to push through some of them (for example, you could start small with running and work your way up rather than giving up if you can’t run a mile right away). Here’s my philosophy. You can almost always go back. When we left our huge house with the big backyard and the in-ground pool and the full finished basement in order to move to the 950 sq. ft. loft apartment Downtown, I took a deep breath and said, “If this does not work, we can always buy another house.” When we sold our cars, I said, “If living car-free does not suit us, we can always buy another car.” When we moved to eating fewer animal products, I said, “If we miss them, we can always start eating them again.” You get the idea.

So what do you need permission to change? Give it to yourself. NOW. Because life is short — why keep yourself from true happiness?

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