This tip is really simple as a concept, but maybe more complex to implement:
Give yourself permission.
For me, giving myself permission is about letting go of competency and exactness. And a bunch of other things.
A month before having my son, I retired from a fast-paced career in workforce & economic development. My days were full of meetings with state legislators and policy pros, collaborating with endless stakeholder groups, and negotiating how policies would be implemented. Ten hours would fly by and my ego got stroked many times each week – “so detailed, so productive, so smart, so competent…” I was exhausted but felt really great about myself – this was where I “fit” in the world.
And then, there I was – a month later with a newborn baby, leaky breasts, postpartum anxiety and not an ounce of self-confidence about what to do from moment to moment. People would inquire: “What did you do today?” Ah…Um…Well…I changed a few diapers, nursed my baby, and asked my husband for lots and lots of help.
Another few weeks later, husband back at work, I’d try to account for my productivity when he arrived home. Um. Eight diapers, 7 feedings, and remembered to eat lunch…I’d make lists of all the things that needed to be done and never accomplished any of them. And I felt pretty lost many of those days.
My husband was great, telling me he knew how incredibly busy I was caring for our son, and that I never needed to account for my productivity.
So my husband gave me permission to just be. Just be with our son and care for him. No other expectations. Giving myself the same permission was so hard! It took me several more weeks of list making, diaper accounting, and wishing-wishing-wishing I could do more.
And then I came across this tip, somewhere – I don’t know where:
Give yourself permission…
And so I did. No lists. No accounting. No expectations except giving my son all the good loving I had to give him. And it worked! I slowly learned that, in my new “career”, accomplishment was to be found in subtlety – in a milk-intoxicated burp from my baby, in a shared nap, in peace of mind that I am present with myself and baby – each new moment washing over the last.
So why not try creating a mantra of giving permission to yourself? Repeat however often you need to.
Give yourself permission to:
- Not fold laundry, leave the dishes for your next visitor to do, ask a friend for a meal, not scrub the sink, not be perfect, not know what you’re doing, not worry about how you’ll get it all done.
Make a list of all the things from which you’re gonna let yourself off the hook! Put it down and walk away!