Whose Permission Do You Need for Self Care?

Whose Permission Do You Need for Self Care?

I’ve been really sick this week. I’m not telling you this because I want sympathy. (Okay, I want sympathy. But that’s besides the point.) I’m telling you this because it took me three full days of dragging my ill body around before I gave myself permission to get in bed and be sick.

I noticed on day three of this raging cold that I was journaling yet again about how sick I was and how much work I had to do. How I didn’t have time to be sick. How I really just wanted to climb in bed with my Theraflu and the new season of Grey’s Anatomy.

It’s funny how we get to be adults, dishing out permission left and right to others, yet we still forget to give ourselves permission for self-care.

Get out your journal and think about what you really need right now. Try the following prompts:

  • What do you need to give yourself permission for?

    – Self care?
    – Time to journal?
    – Money to buy those new paints?
    – An hour alone?

  • Who is it you really want permission from?

    – Your mother?
    – Your conscience?
    – Your partner?
    – Your kids?
    – Your boss?

Identify whatever it is that you truly need in order to take care of yourself right now.

What feels like an indulgence is often necessary for survival.

Who’s in Your Fan Club?

Who’s in Your Fan Club?

I’ve been writing about community a lot lately. This is a communal time of year. Because of the holidays, we spend a lot of time with one another. Parties at home and work, social events, dinners, celebrations.

But not all company is created equal.

I’m not the first to stand in a room full of people and feel alone. Being in a room full of warm bodies and being surrounded by loving forces are not necessarily the same thing.

Having people who believe in you is essential to your survival. We can flourish and grow when surrounded by people who support us unconditionally. I’ve got a small group of individuals in my life who think I’m something special. And they’re vocal about it. I collectively call them my “Fan Club.”

I couldn’t survive without my Fan Club.

I don’t rely on my Fan Club for business advice or writing critique. I have an accountant and a mentor for that. It’s not my Fan Club’s job to be rational, strategic, or objective. In fact, they are fiercely subjective. They come to my defense unquestioningly. They always give me the benefit of the doubt. I can count on them to say, “you can do it!” Whatever it is.

When I fail fantastically, they pull me up, dust me off, and make me some tea. Then they send me back out into the world to try again.

Get out your journal and write about the following:

  • Who’s a part of your fan club?

Journal about the people who support you unconditionally. Write about what they’ve healped you accomplish. How you value them. Then journal about a way to show them gratitude for being in your fan club.

  • Whose fan club are you a part of?

If you’re lucky, you get to be in someone else’s fan club, too. Don’t take this honor for granted. This is your chance to give back for all the fabulous support you’ve been given.

(And if you haven’t received the support you need, this is your chance to model the way you’d like to be treated.)

Being part of a community helps us accomplish so much more than we could alone. It’s important to nurture these communities and keep them going strong.

Thank you for letting me be a part of YOUR fan club!

What if You Couldn’t Fail?

What if You Couldn’t Fail?

I was in my acupuncturist’s office Friday and she had a silver paperweight on the counter that said,

“What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

I’ve heard this question before – it’s not exactly groundbreaking. But for some reason, it stuck with me on Friday. I felt like I was hearing it for the first time.

Maybe because I was finally ready to hear it.

I’m a perfectionist. My mom was in labor for 38 hours and I joke that I was trying to achieve perfection before emerging. Perfectionism can lead to procrastination (“I’m not starting unless I can do it flawlessly”) and paralysis (“If I can’t do it flawlessly, I’m not doing it at all”).

For a perfectionist, “knowing I cannot fail” offers a breath of intoxicating freedom.

The important part is movement. If you think you’ll fail, you’ll never start at all. If you know you’ll succeed, you’ll put in your best effort. Self-fulfilling prophecy, really.

My life’s purpose is to fully express my creativity while connecting with others and helping them grow with me.

How would I approach that if I knew I couldn’t fail? Would I give more of myself? Would I get more personal? Be more authentic? Be unafraid to push you a little, to administer tough love, to be brazenly honest?

And what is failure, anyway? Failure is throwing in the towel. Failure is saying, “it didn’t work.”

The common trait shared by the most successful people in the world is not intelligence, good genes or luck. It’s perseverence. It’s falling down and getting back up. Over and over. It’s believing you’ll get it right – that it’s just a matter of time.

It’s knowing you cannot fail.

What about you?

  • Is perfectionism stopping you in your tracks?
  • Are you afraid of failure? Of “doing it wrong?”
  • Is your true calling hanging in the shadows, waiting for you to to figure out how to do it without stumbling?
  • What would YOU do if you knew you could not fail?

Because I’m betting you’ll succeed.

Try Something New!

Try Something New!

I just love spring. Everything is so NEW. Maybe it’s the thick bloom of fresh fauna bursting out into the city all around me. Determined wildflowers pushing up through cracks in the sidewalk.

Nature’s doing her thing, and it’s time to do ours. Let’s try something totally new.

Trying new things makes us grow in so many ways. It expands our sense of self, gives our brain circuits a jolt of fresh juice. Our goal for the next couple of weeks is to try something we’ve never done before.

So get out your journal and at the top of the page, write:

  • I’ve always wanted to…

Set a timer for 10 minutes and just write until it goes off. Any desire, big or small, is fair game.

Now pick one of the items on your list. One item on your list should jump out at you. Maybe it makes you a little bit scared. Maybe it makes you super excited. Perhaps it will stir up a little guilty pleasure (those are my favorite!).

After you embark on your new adventure, write about the experience in your journal.

  • How did doing it make you feel?
  • Are you eager to try something else new?
  • Do you need to tweak the experience to make it more enjoyable?

New things can be a little bit scary, too – but that’s okay. We always grow from having done it. We expand our sense of self. And expansion is what we’re after.

Okay, What Do We Know?

Okay, What Do We Know?

I’ve got a fun prompt for you this week. It’s going to have you doing a little detective work.

I don’t watch much television. I do, however, enjoy an occasional police drama on Netflix. Law & Order is one of my favorites.

If you’ve ever watched this type of show, you know that when a new crisis hits and nobody is sure where to start, they call a big meeting. All the crime-fighting team members congregate around a table, usually standing up and pacing. And one of them calls out:

“Okay, what do we know?”

This question provides a great leaping point for cops and detectives to start outlining the details that will help them catch their killer. If you’re watching NCIS, they’re probably capturing these details on a dimly-lit glass wall in metallic sharpie.

Why do you think this question works? Because it has a solid answer. The alternate question, “What don’t we know?” is the perfect formula for a meltdown.

Yet that question is the one we most often ask ourselves when faced with a large dilemma or crisis. The answer is limitless, endless, abyssmal. It paralyzes us with the gravity of our situation. We feel small and powerless.

But when you invert the question, you get a confidence-boosting selection of information that helps you hone in on what you need to discover. Detailing what you already know about the situation narrows the field of focus.

It helps you zoom in on the solution, instead of floundering around in the unknown.

Next time you find yourself at the cusp of a crisis, take a cue from our fearless crime fighters. Find a table, pace a bit, and ask yourself:

  • What do I know?

Then get out your journal and amaze yourself with your grasp of the situation. Your next move will become obvious, a natural progression of what you’ve already figured out.