Friday, October 29, 2010

Giving yourself full permission

Are you revealing, even reveling in, the undiluted you? Or are you hiding your light under the proverbial basket? Yesterday I was listening to a colleague talk at a conference about the concept of full permission. I'm not printing her name here for reasons that will become evident as this idea unfolds.

When you are afraid, when you feel at risk, do you work to conceal yourself, to adapt yourself to the expectations you think that other people hold for you? Or do you allow yourself to walk around in all your glory whether somebody else likes it or not?

When you give yourself full permission you don't dilute yourself - rather you reveal yourself. Instead of walking timidly and carefully you stride into the room with purpose and the light heart that comes from being congruent with yourself.

My friend and colleague described her most embarrassing moment ever - when she was fourteen and competing in a speech-making event. She was walking toward the stage ready to take her turn in a completely quiet room when she was surprised by a rather loud digestive backfire - and realized that it had come from her! There was no denying the source of the sound, nor the origin of the delightful fragrance that wafted through the room immediately afterward.

She told us that she thinks about that occasion when she considers giving herself full permission. Why not live out loud? (No pun intended, but I find myself chuckling anyway.) Perhaps from time to time there is the potential for embarrassment, but what about all of those other occasions when you might be tempted to edit out the very behavior, attitudes and attributes that help you bring your unique value to the people around you?

When a friend asks you for your opinion, do you really help them by not telling them what you think? When you're in a meeting and you've got an idea for solving a problem, do you sit quiet because you have the shortest tenure and least authority in the group? When you feel like dancing do you settle for tapping your feet? None of these approaches helps you contribute to the well-being of the world around you.

When instead of fearing, editing and hiding you give yourself full permission - you embrace yourself for the complex and wonderful person you are. You show up with all flags flying, wearing no disguises. You put it out there. Certainly some people might not like it. But there are those who will treasure you for those exact same traits. And you will be able to use all of the energy you used to expend on the editing and hiding and diluting - on manifesting the results you'd like to see in your life. What a breath of fresh air!