Giving yourself permission

There’s been a theme this season, and it’s been called ‘giving yourself permission’.

It’s come up in three different spaces, but the thread has been the same – sometimes we actively have to ‘let ourselves off the hook, and give ourselves permission to do something differently.

Permission to stop and enjoy the view

I was teaching a workshop and one of the topics that we covered was motivation, and ‘beating the brain’ when it comes to running…

Now, I always say that the best part of running is the stopping! And I mean it! I don’t mean – when you arrive back at your front door having slogged your way round your route…I mean, stopping during your run.

If you fancy it, of course.

If you need to re-adjust your body – to stretch out some part, perhaps; if you want to have a baby-breather, or if you simple want to take a moment to check out the view. And I’m serious about that – I love stopping to appreciate the gorgeous place that my route has taken me to…

When I suggested this to the women on the workshop, they all said, ‘oh, that’s interesting…I’m not very good at giving myself permission to stop.’

And yet, is this not why we run? To be connected – both to ourselves, and to the environment?

Yes, there’s a time to run hard and to ‘push on through’ (again, if you feel compelled to), but stopping and enjoying the vista and the moment before it’s passed us by, is hugely important.

And it’s ok to do so too! But we need to give ourselves the permission.

What’s more, your running will feel easier for it too – smoother, more fluid, and just easier. I can almost guarantee that.

Permission to run your own race

On another occasion, I was talking through some tactics for increasing your energy levels during and after your run.

Actually we were talking about racing, and the lady mentioned that when someone in front of her stops to walk during a tough old race, it makes her feel that perhaps she’s tired too, and that she ought to walk for a while as well.

Two things came out of this because the subtitle to ‘permission to run your own race’ is ‘permission to overtake’! On those occasions when someone else has become weary, rather than succumbing to the idea that I too must be weary, how about using the opportunity to gain a little in the pecking order?! How about re-energising yourself with a minor win as you plough on through the field…? How about giving yourself permission to run your own race…

Not hanging back because you promised that you’d run with someone else. Not trying to hand onto someone who might be passing you by, because your ego doesn’t want to be bruised…(perhaps they’ve been training harder than you? Maybe you’re in a low energy point in your cycle?)

Running your own race is a powerful game. It enables you to be satisfied with your result, regardless of where you finish in the field.

But you have to give yourself permission from the outset to do just that…and stick to it.

Permission to have a break

Permission to thoroughly enjoy a ‘well-earned break’.

When you’ve been working your socks off, as we have a tendency to do for (rather too) long stretches of time, giving yourself permission to fully relax is super important. This is otherwise known as having a day-of, and feeling that you deserve it!

Personally, this requires a shift in mind-set from ‘work-mode’ to ‘down-time mode’. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who finds this transition slightly challenging. And I find that taking three steps to getting there, helps me –

Firstly, acknowledging the work that has been achieved, and allowing in a sense of satisfaction from that.

Secondly, and no surprises, giving myself the permission to wholly and completely shift out of work-mode for the given period of time. (Sometimes that’s just an evening, or one day at the weekend if I’m giving a workshop or seeing some clients…and sometimes it’s a whole week! ; )

And lastly in this process is the commitment to fully enjoy the given rest. This is the real shift of mindset – to fully engaging with self-full pursuits and being present with those with whom you’re sharing the time. Because this is true self-care.

It all involves giving ourselves permission.

Why do we find it so tough sometimes?