SARK is a big fan of these handy tools and uses them liberally. Most of the time you give Permission Slips to yourself. Though they are a generous and often most-appreciated gift to another.

A Permission Slip simply states that you have permission to be who you are and do what you do.  You have permission to mess up, take risks and fall on your face.  You are allowed to feel cranky and tired or elated and enthusiastic. Sometimes I find I have a harder time allowing myself to feel good, to be successful.  It’s good to have a Permission Slip at those times, too.

I’ve been trying to write letters lately. It seems my only way to keep in touch these days.  But between the weather, car issues, life in general, they haven’t been forthcoming.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, for goodness’ sakes.  But there’s something that’s keeping me from doing it.

When I give myself permission to not do it, suddenly, I feel more open.  In this frame of mind I can hear more clearly the fears, doubts and concerns that are haunting me.  I  begin to distinguish the issues: “What if they don’t respond?  What if I say the wrong thing?  What if everyone responds at the same time?”  These are the kind of thoughts that clutter up the mind and mush together into “I doan wanna.”  I can’t really work with that. But when I can see the individual concerns instead, I can let some go as silly and address others like: “I don’t know when I will find the time.”

So, the lesson is that giving myself permission to feel reluctant or unsure actually helps me to do it. Give a child permission to pout or have a fit and eventually she’ll grow tired of it. If you’re not putting up a fuss, she has nothing to be angry about.  Sooner or later you can have a more rational discussion.  Our inner chattering is no different.

So, I send out a blank Permission Slip to everyone who reads this:  It is okay.  No matter what you’ve done or didn’t do.  Whatever you feel or don’t feel.  It’s all okay. You have permission.