Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Granting Myself Permission to Succeed

The thought process that resulted in "An Indistinct Guessing of the Soul" did not end with a reflection on the fact that I tend to shy away from things as if I were seeking approval.  It went further as it continued to percolate in my mind.

Why is it, I wondered, that I continue to seek the approval of others for things that are really activities that I do myself?  Why do I so cherish this level of approval - which may or may not come - that I am willing to sabotage myself in the doing of these activities?

And then the thought hit me - I have never given myself permission to succeed.

The concept almost seems intuitive.  It is a foregone conclusion that if a person has undertaken anything they have given themselves permission to succeed, correct? Otherwise, why would they undertake the activity in the first place given the true difficulty of accomplishing anything?  But as I continued to dwell on the thought, I realized that this was precisely my problem.

Why do I fear success so much?  Is it that I truly believe myself to be that unskilled?  Do I believe that I am inferior in ability or deed by nature?  Or is simply the unspoken belief that I am unworthy of success unless someone else approves it?

This is subtly different from the believe that one can succeed.  That is a belief in one's ability to accomplish something.  I believe that with great presence of mind and determination almost anyone can do this.  But the thought of giving one's self the permission to succeed is the "Fifth Column" of achievement, the hidden foe that will ultimately drain our efforts and cannot be overcome by simply doubling down on effort.

So I gave myself permission to succeed.

It was not a particularly extreme ceremony - there were no natural phenomenon, no crowds roaring, no sense of time standing still for a momentous occasion.  I simply made the choice - a vocal one - that I give myself permission to succeed in whatever I choose to do.  And the weight that rolled off of my heart was amazing.

Suddenly I do not need the approval of others to succeed.  Their help, possibly.  Their support, definitely - but I do not need them to grant me some permission to go forward and be successful in what I do.  What I simply need, as much as the believe I can do it, is the acknowledgement by myself that it is okay to do it - and do it well, to the point of being very good at it.

We always own our failures instinctively even if we say nothing - now it is time to permit ourselves to own our successes as well.

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