Can I Get My Own Permission?

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Saying No

At the end of the day, you come home and you’ve fought your battle.

You were on the front line, tackling all those to-do’s, fulfilling obligations, and you’re worn out.

Feeling tired, the word “self-care” comes up in your head and you are reminded oh yeah, I need to meet my own needs.

And suddenly you feel a sense of guilt, thinking about some meeting or event you were going to attend. Your instinct tells you to say no.


But, what if they say…? What if there are dire consequences if I don’t go? What if I’m missing out on something important and I regret for the rest of my life?!

Somehow you get through the mind-shit and say no, or perhaps you make an excuse. “I don’t think I can do it.”

And then the other person doesn’t take no for an answer. And you have to go, you have to do this.


What do you do?

You barrage yourself with — Why did I…? It doesn’t work out magically like I’d think. Who do I think I am? Stupid! I can’t take care of me. I have to be the last. I don’t deserve. I’m not worthy.

All the criticism. All the self-hating talk.

All just because you need time for yourself.


The thing is, all you really need is just permission.

Not permission from someone else – like that person who said no to you. Forget that person.

But YOU. You need permission from yourself.


Yes, you can give yourself permission to be selfish.

Yes, you can give yourself permission to feel disappointed about stuff that you think you should suck it up.

Yes, you can give yourself permission to feel sad that it’s so hard to protect yourself.

Yes, you can permit yourself to feel the pain of all of it.


At the end of the day, all you need is permission.

Permission to make mistakes. To stumble. To be broken. To be lacking.


Who is the permission-granter?

I feel like we’re all just elementary school kids. We’re just physically bigger…but have the mindset of a 6 year old.

Really. Remember the days when we had to raise our hands and politely ask, “May I go to the bathroom, please?” No, not “Can I go to the bathroom” but “May I.” (I remember I got this from this annoying teacher who was very literal).

See the difference between “may” and “can.” We say “may I…?” because we’re asking permission; we’re not asking if we’re able (“can I…?”) because obviously, we are able to.

Let that sink in. It means that we have the ability. But we’re stopping ourselves because we’re trying to get permission.


When we were little, we had to ask permission to do ANYTHING. To pee, to run, to eat, to play, to learn.

It was as if we did not have the autonomy to do these things on our own. It was as if this thing called a will of our own did not exist in this universe.

Someone else – an adult – told us what to do and who to be. We were kind of like marionette dolls. Doing what we’re told. Having the voice only when given a permission from “authority.”


So saying “no”to something and making time for yourself means that you have found the voice within you that have been buried deep for many years (more like, your whole life).

It means that you recognize that you CAN do anything you want. You don’t need permission from someone else.

I could only imagine what the world would be like if everyone recognize this ability within oneself. Everyone will be empowered.


No more asking for permission.


You already had one from the moment you were born. Look inside.

– Y Jung