Granting Yourself [and Others] the Permission to Change

You are always moving, sometimes forward and sometimes backwards, if only momentarily. You are reacting to the world around you. You are learning your lessons, and you are taking them into account. You are striving to be a better lover, sister, mother, child, student, boss, person in the world.

You are busily digging deep, making repairs when you see fit, and praying to the courage to be better today than you were yesterday.

You are doing good work.

And yet? Your partner cringes when a topic comes up. Your sister doesn’t ask for your help, because you’ve never been able to give it freely, before. The world around you reacts to you, because while you might want to change how you would respond to a situation, you haven’t done it successfully yet.  Your mother tells you not to get so emotional like you always do.  Your best friend makes a side remark to someone else about you, stating:

She is always like this.

Always. Unendingly. Forever and ever. Every second of every day. You are just like that. As it if it is encoded into your DNA. As if you can’t help yourself.  As if you are nothing but your mistakes.

As if you will always be exactly what you were.

It goes both ways though, doesn’t it? How often do you find yourself knee-jerk responding to someone:

Well I just know that you are going to drink too much and embarrass me, because that’s what you always do.

I know that you’re going to let me down, because you always do.

I can’t trust you when you say you love me, because everyone who has said that to me before ends up leaving, in the end.

I am here to beg you to lay down your preconceptions, for they are no longer serving you.

How we be expected to change, to grow, to make space for new emotions, to widen our window of containment, to get sober, to learn how to be fiscally responsible, to become more attentive in bed, to learn how to dream, to learn how to be a person in the world who doesn’t feel so damn terrified and reactive all of the time when no one is making the space for us to change.

How can we expect others to rise to the occasion when we keep them tempered there – bumping up against the glass ceiling that we have instituted for them based on past experiences.

Yes, I know the risks.

I know that you trusted them before and they stomped in and fucked everything up. I know that you created those preconceptions out of an effort to keep yourself safe. But, if someone isn’t worth your time – don’t keep them around just to torture them with ridicule and rules.

If they are worth your time, forgive them for real this time.

Forgive yourself for real this time.

We are all a compilation of our own personal history, and that is guaranteed to include many moments that we aren’t proud of. The times that we reacted poorly. The times that we let someone down. The times that we let ourselves down. The times that we couldn’t be trusted. The times that we cheated. The times that we picked an argument. The times that we lied to get what we wanted. The times we stuffed our faces with food, because we we didn’t know what else to do.

You, just as much as everyone else, deserve the space to begin anew.

You deserve to create the space that encourages others in your life to begin anew.

You participated in those moments, but those moments don’t define you.

Give yourself the permission to grow.

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5 thoughts on “Granting Yourself [and Others] the Permission to Change”

  1. Mara,

    You just cut right to the heart of it. We *need* to grow and change. And we are all afraid of change–in ourselves and in those we love. That tension can get pretty overwhelming. I love the challenge you laid out there–to forgive ourselves and those we care for in a radical, complete way. You’re amazing! My Mid-Week Balance roundup seems to have a permanent slot for your posts. Thanks for writing things that I can’t help passing along.



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