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You have my permission

Did you give yourself anything this year?

I don’t mean a present. Not the PlayStation you justified by saying, “Well, it’s Christmas.” Not the purse you told your husband was half price at Kohl’s.

Did you give yourself a real thing? Something you keep inside you.

I gave myself permission to let go of the past this year – not to put it down and walk away but to look at the memories, feelings and thoughts I carried from before. To look at them as truthfully as I could once and for all.

I had hard conversations with people I’d wronged or felt wronged by. I got back into counseling and set down inaccurate core beliefs I held – beliefs like “I am unlovable” or “I am incapable.”

I found forgiveness for things I did to others because I couldn’t bear the burden of my own pain. I discovered I’m as capable as anyone else, and there are as many reasons to love me as there are not to.

My therapist said our goal was to get to a point where I could comfortably say, “I’m an important person.” I grew up around too much Midwest humility and find the idea any of us are important silly, but I did get to a point where I can say, “I’m not that bad after all.”

I gave myself permission to heal this year. I made doctor appointment after doctor appointment until I had answers. I did my treatments.

I stopped when I was full. I slept more. I ate better. I didn’t push myself to work every possible minute.

I finally gave my body what it’s been begging for: healing.

I gave myself permission to be me. I grew my hair out, shaved my beard weird and bought a bunch of wrestling shirts. I asked my wife for Converse Chucks for Christmas, knowing she hates them. I asked anyway.

I’m wearing them as I write this. We’re terrible about waiting to give gifts.

I said “no” when I could tell I was only going to say “yes” because I’d feel like a bad person if I didn’t.  I said “yes” when I knew the only reason I had for saying “no” was the fear of what people might think.

Maybe these are things you gave yourself long ago, but we always have the opportunity to be better to ourselves for ourselves.

Maybe someone in your past has made you feel like you don’t deserve these things. You do.

Maybe they have made you feel like you can’t get to a better place. You can.

Maybe they twisted your idea of who you are and what your life should be into something that makes you feel like you don’t even have the power to give yourself these permissions. You do.

Until you know you do, you have my permission to use my permission. Permission to heal. Permission to let go. Permission to be you.

Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville. To connect with him email wcstults@yahoo.com.

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