The default permission slip I wrote to my old self was “Permission to Be Perfect!” This kept me stuck for years because my message was – if you can’t do it right, don’t bother doing it at all.
What IS helpful is giving myself permission to suck… permission to have fun… permission to be silly… permission to practice.
Think about something you feel like you are awesome at right now…
What comes to mind?
Maybe it’s walking or talking… or doing both at the same time! 🙂 I’m guessing that is not what came to mind. But there was a time when both of those activities were difficult.
There is not a good parent on the planet that pushed their baby down when they tried to walk for the first time and said, “Forget it! You’ll never get there so don’t even try!”
That’s crazy, right? But… we do this to OURSELVES!
Have you ever thought about what kind of permission slip you are subconsciously writing when it comes to your health? Is it permission to be perfect or is it something more gentle, like the permission to practice and have fun?
When I try new things, I want to go from zero to sixty overnight. Or as least be Pro by the end of the week. I don’t allow myself time to get my feet wet. I can’t tell you have many times I’ve jumped right in and then been instantly frustrated that I didn’t “get it right.”
When I was younger, I learned to play the violin. I started at the age of five and took lessons through college. An almost daily question at my house was, “have you finished your practicing?” Practicing meant 60-90 minutes of scales, technique work and learning my pieces. Inching a little closer each day to mastery. (Although I play well, I am still far from being a “master” on the violin.)
When we give ourself permission to be something other than perfect – to be our beautiful, silly, perfectly IMPERFECT self – we allow ourselves a safe place to make mistakes and grow.
Children are great at practicing or trying new things probably because they do it often. Sure, they learn at different paces, but that is part of their world.
As adults, we lose that. I am SO guilty of not giving myself permission to practice or be silly. I want everything I cook to taste amazing, I don’t want to look like a goof when I go to kick a soccer ball and miss! and I would like every blog post to be what I really want to say. Amazing meals, physical coordination and finding your voice takes patience and practice.
Can you relate to this?
Sure! No one wants to look like we’re the rookie.
One of the things I notice with others when they are trying to change their habits is that they struggle to be “new.” Maybe because exercise seems so ordinary we feel like we “should” be good at it. But we aren’t born knowing what to do or how to do it.
And let me tell you, I’ve been there!
I did not intend to become a personal trainer after I graduated from college, but I applied for the job because I needed flexible hours. And after teaching human anatomy for two years in the lab and lecture hall I thought I could pass the test without too much fuss. (Oh ya, and I went running every once in a while so I figured: I’ve got this! 🙂 )
Then the real test came: stepping into the gym, working with real people and making sense of all the equipment.
It was intimidating. I felt like such a fraud! I REALLY was supposed to know what I was doing – I just got HIRED to be a trainer!!
Nothing spells “newbie” like walking up to an exercise machine and reading the description for how it moves and which muscles it works with my “TRAINER” t-shirt on!
But guess what? Trainer or no – EVERYONE has a 1st day at exercising and everyone gets better with practice. Myself included!
Now, I feel like helping others with their fitness or leading others through a workout routine is like drinking water from a cup or driving a car. (There was a day when both of those activities were difficult too!)
And let me be clear: there are STILL machines in the gym I would have to stand and read the description before using, but I don’t mind at all because I know that’s part of the game.
Each day you forget about perfection – and you focus more on having fun, practicing wellness, embracing the mistakes – you get one step closer to mastering your health!
When was the last time you got frustrated with your expectations for perfection in your life (you may just be realizing you do this) and what new perspective can you take on when it comes to your health to give yourself permission to be imperfect? Let me know what you think.
And don’t forget, if you found this article helpful, please share with your friends.
All my love,