Happiness Is Waiting! Give Yourself Permission To Go After It.

woman looks out at world

Why do women still think they need permission to claim happiness in life? Why, in this progressive age, are women still tentative about proudly being all of themselves? If I had to describe the women who surround me in my personal and business life, those whose words, actions and ideas enlighten and inspire me, I would call them "women who dare." These are the women I work with in my coaching and brand consulting business—women who are daring, disciplined, focused, trendsetting and committed to new enterprises.

They are unapologetic about bringing a higher purpose to their business and personal lives, and they see the bigger, global picture. They believe in themselves and are determined to influence the world. These are women who support each other, setting their personal bar high and making time available to guide others.

Nevertheless, despite all of these "women who dare", I see even more women who continue to judge themselves harshly and put themselves last. In our lives so filled with purpose and duty in our community, family and workplace, we have a hard time giving ourselves permission. Permission to be the individuals we are, permission to shine within our peer groups or colleague circles, permission to cast aside labels and generalizations about our age or appearance. And most importantly, permission to dream, to be happy, to put ourselves at the top of our own priority list.

Martha: "I Give Myself Permission To Be Proud Of Being A Doctor."

When Martha came to me for life coaching, she was in a rut. She was a medical specialist in her early 30s living in a small community, with two young children and a fabulous husband. Her problem was that she didn't want to alienate the community by disclosing that she was a doctor. Yet, somehow, she still came across to neighbors as arrogant and presumptuous, the opposite of what she wanted.

Why did she feel compelled to keep her profession a secret? Martha saw herself as an impostor. She believed she only made it through medical school with luck. She couldn't accept that it was her own hard work and discipline that had made her a successful professional. As a result, she disliked her job because she didn't think she deserved it. But when I asked her why she became a doctor in the first place, she immediately began talking in a grounded, expert confident voice that swept me away. And things began to change once she finally heard herself.

It wasn't long before she let go of this negative self-judgment and gave herself permission to embrace who she is. She began acknowledging that she is a doctor (and a good one) and gave herself permission to love her job again. She then began coping better with family and work and is enjoying the changes that have come her way. Getting past her self-judgment allowed her to be in the present and make the choice to be the best doctor, wife, mom and community member possible.

Denise: "I Give Myself Permission To Cut (And Love) My Hair Short."

Blessed with perfect long hair, Denise had almost become a slave to it. Her mother forbade her to cut it while she was growing up, and her former boyfriends and current husband continued with that line. "My hair is not who I am," she told me, "yet I feel paralyzed about making a decision that would go against everyone else."

Denise admitted she felt stupid about needing approval to cut her own hair and to allow herself to enjoy it. "I understand that some people have a real hurdles to overcome. But in all honesty, taking the step to cut my hair and enjoy it has been one of the biggest decisions of my life. And I'm not going to judge myself for it."

For so long, Denise's self-judgment had been the anchor holding her back from breaking the rules. Now she loves herself, in the present, and her confidence in her choice to finally cut her hair the way SHE wants it has caused everyone else to back down. "My mom jokes about why I didn't do it sooner. She hates my short hair but loves who I have become. Best of all, I love the new me."

What Permission Do You Want To Give Yourself?

How many times have you felt like you aren't owning your unique wants, wishes, needs, or accomplishments? 

It's time to let go of that self-defeating behavior. Where do you need to give yourself permission to embrace your own power and your own magnificence? No one is judging you as harshly as you judge yourself. The only one keeping you from being true to yourself is YOU. So, whatever you need to give yourself permission for—whether it's being proud of your profession or doing what you want with your hair—go for it! What Martha and Denise had in common was negative self-judgment, and the way they found their courage was to take a chance on themselves, even at the risk of others' disapproval. They gave themselves permission!

What do you need to overcome in order to give yourself permission to be at the top of your priority list?

Monica Magnetti is a Life/Business Coach, Brand Consultant and proud YourTango Expert. Find out how others gave themselves permission to achieve their goals by downloading Monica’s ebook Ignite Your Fire, Brand Your Essence. This free internet branding ebook is your guide to navigating your business and personal life with passion.