Why is it that we need permission to put ourselves first?
It’s as if we’re walking through life on autopilot, waiting for someone to tell us that it’s ok to have what we want and enjoy life.
Or we stuff our needs down so far, and for so long, they can’t help but bubble to the surface and ask for their time in the sun.
Asking to have your needs met is natural. All you have to do is look at a baby to know that’s true. When we’re young, we move through the world free to express our emotions and ask for what we most want and need.
But at some point we learn that asking for things, or help, is somehow bad. Maybe it’s the child who asks her struggling parents, only to be told not to ask because money is tight.
Or we hear a story about an uncle who is always demanding to be taken care of and how selfish the rest of the family thinks he is.
We make a decision right then and there to NEVER be the kind of person who asks for anything or is a burden on anyone.
And often what happens is the world rewards us.
Take Gretchen for example. She grew up in a family that valued hard work but money was often tight during her early formative years.
More than anything, Gretchen loved playing with dolls and she remembered being around 7 years old when she overheard her parents talking about their close family friends’ daughter. They mentioned how Judy was always demanding her parents get her things and how it was putting a strain on their budget and relationship.
At that moment, Gretchen decided she wasn’t going to ask her parents for anything unless she had to. And, as a result, she got rewarded. Her parents would often praise her for never wanting or needing anything and would then surprise her with things they knew she loved.
And while Gretchen appreciated the gifts, she never really learned what it meant to have a real want. So, later in life, when she was in a committed relationship - Gretchen often found herself frustrated and resentful that her partner could always ask for what he wanted, but that she literally could not find the words she needed to get what she wanted from him.
It caused her difficulties in her relationship and completely eroded her self-esteem.
It wasn’t until Gretchen realized that she had actually set up a world that rewarded her silence that she was able to start to find her own voice.
And while it didn’t happen overnight, this idea that she had permission to ask for something without it seeming selfish or wrong, seemed to resonate.
In fact, she developed a daily practice each morning of telling herself that she had permission to ask for and receive the things she wanted out of life.
And although at first she was worried that her partner might reject her, it turned out that he was more than happy to accommodate the things she wanted and was actually excited to get to know her in a new way.
Giving yourself permission to have needs, desires and wants is crucial if you’re going to live the joyful, freedom-filled life you desire.
Whether it means creating a daily practice, reminder or structure you can put in place, the idea is that you can shift your thinking and start to put yourself first can be very exhilarating!
Remember, giving yourself permission means that you don’t have to ask others for theirs.
It’s taking the time to pause each day and simply remind yourself that you are deserving - without having to do anything for others, without having to be a certain kind of person, and without having to jump through spectacular hoops before you can ask.
Like Gretchen, you’ve had years and years of programming when it comes to NOT asking for what you need, so it’s going to take some time to undo your patterns.
You have to look at all the messages you might have received when you were young about asking for things and decide what is really true - for you!
You essentially have to wake yourself up from autopilot and start to catch all of the opportunities and possibilities to put yourself first!
I promise, when you do, you’ll begin to learn how to never have to ask for permission again and instead ask for what you want (from yourself and others) in a more meaningful, purposeful way.
This week, I want to start out by giving you permission. You have full permission to ask, and receive, for one thing that you want or need. I promise you deserve it!
P.S. One of the biggest ways you can give yourself permission to put yourself is by learning how to set boundaries. I’ve created Boundary Badassery, The Pocket Guide, to help you get started! This is the complete guide to having the tough conversations, and navigating difficult situations, so you can set effective boundaries with ease! And, since you can keep it right on your phone, it’s like having me with you in your pocket! Grab yours today!