Do you remember the popular song from the 1980’s by R&B singer Bobby Brown? The name of the song is My Prerogative. Its lyrics went something like this “I don’t need permission, make my own decisions, that’s my prerogative.”
When was the last time you made it your prerogative to do something that you wanted to do? Or perhaps it wasn’t a want but a need. Do you need to grieve for a lost friend or loved one? So often we may put off grieving until the bow breaks and the flood gates open. Do you need to take the mental health day to give yourself permission to feel and to just be?
When was the last time you said “I should take that yoga class” or “I should volunteer at the women’s shelter” or “Maybe I should go back to school and finish that degree?” Or something a little simpler, like finish that book you started, check out the movie that’s been on your ‘to see’ list for months, or get a massage or your hair color touched up? More so, to take a day to relax, take a nap, and stay in your PJ’s all day even if you’re not ill? It’s ok to give yourself permission to do these things. Repeat after me, “I ________________, give myself permission to ____________. Do you feel better? (That was YOUR prerogative!)
So many times we as women, wives, mother’s, sisters, co-workers, community leaders and friends have the desire to do something new, creative, innovative and necessary. But we feel guilty about giving ourselves permission. There’s never a shortage of something or someone that holds us back. Perhaps its fear, time, confidence or finances. Whatever it is, it’s important for us to overcome it and find a way to invest in ourselves, to heal ourselves, to say YES to ourselves.
If you are a parent, you know all too well the art of signing the field trip or the sex education class permission slip. In order for your child to participate in certain activities they must first have your permission. As adults we don’t have anyone that can sign our permission slip for us. We have to do it ourselves!
Life and children, jobs and aging parents, the list is long of the things that take priority in our lives. I don’t know about you, but there are days I find myself mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually drained. Left with nothing to give. But remember the old saying that “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” There is some truth to that. We must make ourselves a priority and give ourselves permission. We should move the ‘wish we could do’ things that land at the end of our list to the front of the line and “just do it.”
It’s important to invest in ourselves because it’s impossible to give to others if you don’t have anything in your own reservoir to give. When you deplete or let someone else deplete your personal reservoir of energy, time, and resources, it can leave you bitter and angry. When we invest even a little time in ourselves it can make a big difference in the helping to create something that resembles balance in our lives.
Several years ago, I learned of a place called the Well of Mercy. It’s a retreat located in the middle of beautiful nature preserve about 40 minutes outside of where I live. I learned of it from a friend who is a life coach who said that she would go there several times a year to get what she needed from The Well. I had never been to a retreat and was going through a time in my life that I needed to think, be still and re-center myself. My husband and kids were set for a weekend without. I didn’t mention this to my mom, who will call at any given time just to chat. When she called me at home and I wasn’t there several times, she called me on my cell phone. When I told her where I was, she immediately went into the mom questions: Why are you there by yourself? Are you sick? What’s wrong? You left your children behind? I had to catch myself from having to defend MY decision to take some much needed time for me. I know that she was just doing what moms do, but I had to be ok with giving myself permission and not feeling guilty for it!