Have you ever felt that you need permission to do something you want or need to do?
I’m not talking about general polite permissions or legal permits, like “May I have this dance, please; may I borrow your lawnmower? May I give your child a lollipop?”
I’m talking about permission to be yourself, to care for yourself, to want something, to dream of possibilities for yourself.
I’m actually talking about permission for one of the most basic needs in life. Permission to rest!
There was a time in my life that I must have believed that I had no rights or needs, because it was my job to take care of everyone else. I think I might have thought I’m a robot, or Wonder Woman or perhaps Mary Poppins. I don’t know how I got to that place, but it was so bad that I actually needed permission to rest, from whoever was around, even if that was a child. Really. “I’m exhausted, may I rest?” So lame!
My son, who was 10 at that time, remembers an incident when he tried to straighten me out.
It was 4:30 pm and I had just come home with my sons from their piano lessons. I knew I had to start on dinner preparations but I couldn’t keep my eyes open, my body ached and I needed a nap, a rest. So this is what I said to my son:
Michael, I’m so tired. I think I might lie down here on the sofa a bit. Maybe I shouldn’t. Don’t let me fall asleep and not get up in time to make dinner before dad gets home. I’m so tired. I had to get up early to do the grocery shopping, then you know I was at your school making books in the publishing center all afternoon, then we had to go to piano, I didn’t sleep much last night either… I’m so tired. I should really start cooking but maybe just half an hour? Please come wake me up if I fall asleep, OK? Or maybe it’s better if I don’t…
Michael clearly irritated by my ramblings: Mom! You don’t owe me or anyone else an explanation why you need to rest! You can rest. You don’t need permission to rest. If you don’t make dinner, we’ll order pizza! Who cares about dinner! Just rest.
So Michael gave me permission to rest that day, and I did. Just for that day.
Some years later, I read an article in O magazine by one of my mentors, Dr. Martha Beck. I don’t remember details but basically she was giving me permission to go hide in the cornfields and rest. So I took a nap and dreamed of cornfields that day.
But it was a long time before I gave myself permission not to ever need permission to rest. I rest all the time now and I enjoy it very much.
How about you?
- Your primary responsibility is to yourself. Did you know that?
- You don’t have to please anyone else.
- You don’t need permission from anyone!
- If you don’t care for yourself, love and respect your needs, you won’t be able to do your best for the others you love in your life.
- Not sure whether to rest or not? Just ask your body. Your mind will try to give all the reasons you should not, but trust your body.
- But if you feel you absolutely need it, I GIVE YOU PERMISSION to rest whenever you’re tired or even whenever you simply want to. And that includes you too, Michael!
Leda Asmar is an endorsed Mind Body coach and a Certified Martha Beck coach. She helps people though transitions in life. She specializes in helping hardworking midlife women get unstuck, make authentic choices, and take charge of their lives by tuning into their inner voice and reconnecting with their true Selves.