By Pennie Murray
All of us remember specific childhood games we played while growing up--for instance, Mother May I, Simon Says, or Red Light/Green Light. Consider this: In the game of Mother May I (a.k.a. Captain May I), you were told how many steps forward you could take and whether those steps would be big or small. But before you took those steps, you had to ask for permission. If you moved without asking for permission, you were out. In the game of Simon Says, you had to do exactly what Simon said do. If you did something Simon didn’t say, you were out.
On the surface, these were just silly games we had fun playing when we were kids. But oddly enough, many of us are still playing the adult version of these games. We wait for the green light (approval) from our parents, friends, siblings, or children before we make a move. We depend on the opinions (asking permission) of significant others to determine the choices we make. In many areas of our lives, we do what “Simon” says at the expense of our authenticity. We play it safe. We avoid. We dumb ourselves down to pacify the egos of others. We act as if we don’t know what to do to change the negativity in our lives when, in fact, we do.
Don’t get me wrong, we all need good counsel occasionally. But in many cases, we have become addicted to the opinions and approval of others, which leads you to distrust yourself. Before you know it, others have greater authority over your life than you do. Once this happens, fear and self-doubt begin to dictate whether your steps toward success will be big, small, or none at all. For a large portion of my life, this was my sad reality. Somehow, I had been conditioned to accept a lifestyle of mediocrity until a confrontation with God brought me to a higher level of self-awareness. During this confrontation, I realized that the reason my life was full of limitations, lack, and mediocrity was that “I” never gave myself permission to do, be, and think anything different from what I had been conditioned to do and think.
As individuals, we can be no more than our thoughts and beliefs permit us to be. Regrettably, when it comes to our efforts toward success or our endeavors to exercise our personal potential, the element of “self-permission” is never considered. What’s even more critical, if we don’t know the importance of giving ourselves permission to succeed by our own standards, our fears, negative conditioning, self-doubt, and addiction to the opinions and approval of others will sabotage our best efforts. The fact is that self-permission is a prerequisite to all of your goals. From experiencing success in health, love, or purpose to receiving the blessing of God, giving yourself permission to “succeed” and “receive” is the ultimate requirement for a greater quality of life.
At its core, giving yourself permission is a covenant you make with yourself to trust, implement, and depend primarily on your inner resources, which work in harmony with the Spirit of God, to direct the course and quality of your life. But before this can happen, you have to override your learned inhibitions and limitations, and put fear and doubt in their place. When you understand the power of these three words--giving myself permission--then the quality of your life will change.