Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Give Yourself Permission

Last night was a late night.  I knew I'd face some big adjustments coming home from our vacation.  As it turns out, my son rather enjoyed sleeping in the same room with mommy, and decided we should continue it at home.  A three and a half hour battle ensued, after which I was finally victorious; and he fell asleep in his own room.  If I could have turned in a resignation slip on my life, I would have. I was that worn out and frustrated.  I knew at 11:30 pm, that waking my son up for preschool at 7:45 the next morning was going to be a challenge, if not impossible.  When the alarm started going off at 7, I made the decision.  I gave myself permission to forgo our normal schedule and let him sleep in.

Setting aside a schedule? Missing preschool?  Canceling a business meeting? Nine months ago I would never have let myself out of these commitments.  And if I had, I would have beat myself up for days about being irresponsible, wasting money, or being lazy.  Yet over the course of the last year I have learned sometimes I need to give myself permission to back out, for something more important.  After a long and crazy busy week on a cruise, both my son and I were overtired.  And it showed in our emotions and interactions with each other. Add to that the cold we were both fighting, and a little extra sleep was probably the wisest choice.  I wasn't being irresponsible or lazy. In fact I was doing the opposite.  Setting aside a commitment and schedule for our best interest: our emotional, and our physical health, was the right choice.

I give myself permission to rest when I need it. I give myself permission to stay home from events when I need it.  I give myself permission to take extra time for me when I need it.  I give myself permission to recover and to heal!  After all, I just walked out of tragedy, three years worth, and it takes a toll on a person.  I'm in a healing process.  Think about your physical body.  When a muscle is injured, it hurts.  Not just at the moment the injury occurs, but even after.  The mobility and use of that muscle is limited.  The impact of that limitation comes on suddenly, and with time it slowly improves.  But it is gradual and it is a process.  The same applies to tragedy and loss.  When tragedy hit my life, my mobility was impacted dramatically.  And as time goes on the pain subsides, and I begin to regain mobility.  But it doesn't happen overnight.

 I remember vividly the first time I gave myself permission, without feeling any guilt.  It was last May when I was experiencing an emotional meltdown.  I was completely overwhelmed.  I had lost my husband, and repressed my grief.  I was teaching, running a business, and trying to figure out single motherhood.  I was involved in 2 moms groups, and serving weekly in a healing ministry.  It was so much more than I should have been doing, and more than I could handle.  It was the equivalent of running a marathon on a sprained ankle.  My mobility was limited, but I just kept going.  It hurt. And I crashed! I rolled over that Thursday morning as my alarm went off, and I knew I didn't have it in me physically to go to the last moms meeting. So I texted in that I wasn't coming.  I went back to bed without even flinching. Even though I was the leader of that small group, I knew I needed to take care of me at that moment.  And I did.

Since then I've become better at giving myself permission.  I can't say I'm perfect, or that I don't miss opportunities to step back, but I'm better.  Today was one of those days where I did what was right for me, and my son.  And I'm proud of myself for being bold enough to make the call.  I proud that I've learned to give myself permission.

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