I was talking to a client this week about something seemingly simple like her daily schedule and I made a suggestion to tweak it a bit. In my view, the tweak was trivial, but in hers it touched the “should nerve.”
(Let’s agree to suspend the obvious truth that I am not a doctor, have minimal understanding of anatomy and there isn’t any such “part” part of the anatomy called the “should nerve.”)
The “should nerve” is that piece of us that is triggered whenever we hit against something contradictory, often called a “want,” but could also be something practical or logical.
“I want to go to the movies, but I should do my homework.”
“I need to get my oil changed, but I should go see my dad.”
“Chipotle is on my way, but I should eat the groceries I already have.”
The list is endless and VERY creative! And while the above might make us chuckle, we have to admit, that much of what drives our daily habits and choices comes from these ancient stories of what we “should” do. The thing that is acceptable or expected. The expectations we have from our upbringing and relationships.
“Should” is powerful.
In the case of my client conversation, her idea of “should” and mine were world’s apart. This could have created a conflict as it might in any relationship. Yet in the moment, we transformed it into permission. Because sometimes when you think you should, what you need is someone to give you permission not to.
Sometimes the stories we have told ourselves for decades need to be rewritten, edited or thrown out all together. It could be as simple as walking the dog in ill-matched clothes and un-brushed hair or as complicated as not going home for Thanksgiving. In little moments and big ones we give ourselves permission to make a different choice for reasons that go beyond the judgments - or approvals - of others.
Is there something you need to give yourself permission to STOP doing? To START doing?
What do you wish you had permission to do? To NOT do?
Whose approval is more important than your own?
Are you mixing "approval" and "permission?"