I guess we tend to use "should" and "shouldn't" a lot more than is good for us, when it comes to what we think or do under certain circumstances. Because it seems for every permission there is an equal and opposite permission.

Permission to hope, and permission to not hope. Permission to be sad, and permission to have fun. Permission to get out there, and permission to stay in and crawl under a rock. Permission to give up, or to keep going. Permission to make your own choices, and not follow everyone else's - and I'm talking about those who have been in your shoes (those who haven't we obviously ignore because how do they know what they'd choose?).

Permission to indulge and nurture yourself, whatever that means today. But also permission to scold yourself and tell yourself to buck the hell up.

Permission, in short, to do what you need to do, instead of what you imagine you should be doing.

And here's one to add to the list - permission to change and grow. To start reacting differently to certain situations.

It's easy to fall into patterns of behaviour and, having established them, to repeat them ad nauseum well beyond their period of relevance. To choose an example - I think we all know what it's like to carry on as if we still like talking about other people's pregnancies. When people expect you to be "Pregnancy Sympathiser Person", it's easiest to play along. But if you eventually break this pattern, it's just as easy to get stuck in the new rut. People expect you to be "Don't Talk To Me About Your Pregnancy Person" and it can be just as awkward to move on from there.

Why do you (ok - let's switch to "I" at this point) feel the need to automatically respond the way I did before? To save myself the energy of coming up with a new behaviour, and establishing new social patterns? To meet the expectations of others? Whatever the reason, I'm sure it's not a good one. This is, apart from a shitty, fucked-up situation, also a life-changing series of events. I need to give myself permission to grow, to change, to adapt, to accommodate - to become the person I'm going to be because of, or despite it all.

I hope she's nice.

I also want to say thanks for all the thought-provoking comments. I feel I'm really learning something here. If anyone has any more, I'm all ears. Meanwhile, I'll be working on Strategising - Part Four.

Oh - also - I started temp charting today! I'm a little bit excited. Do you think "first thing on waking" means upon becoming "consciously aware" or "able to perform the brainstem reflex of hitting the snooze button and tying yourself up in the sheets for half an hour before realising it's morning"?


Thalia said...

I think the most important permission I've given myself is the permission to do a half-assed job at work and (mostly) not to beat myself up about it.

The permission I wish I'd give myself is the permission to break up with my so-called best friend.

Bea said...

It's interesting you mention work, actually. There will be some angsty career-related posts before the year is out, let me warn you now.

Sorry to hear you have friend troubles.


Meri-ann said...

I tend to be the person that acts as others expect - but have many little implosions when the facade gets too much for me! But on the other hand, I don't feel 'safe' being exposed and vulnerable, I prefer some modicum of control.

I was totally crap at temping sodid it for a few months and gave it up- so I'm definitely not the best person to ask!

oh, and I'm sure she's nice. :)


Bea said...

Meri-Ann - I guess acting against other's expectations does make you exposed and vulnerable. Instead of going through the motions and being forgotten, like a how are you/fine exchange, you flag yourself as a subject for thought, analysis and perhaps also gossip.

It's interesting you also equate it with giving up control, though. From one standpoint, you could say acting within the expectations of others is the opposite of having control. Although from another standpoint giving away information is like giving away power.

There's a vey tricky psychology at play here. I haven't quite worked it out. I've got a feeling it has a lot to do with how comfortable you are about yourself, or your situation. And as we know, in the land of IF, there are some pretty uncomfortable days.



Meri-ann said...

Definitely thought provoking. I think I'm comfortable showing a certain 'face' to people around me, and only those closest to me (and my blog friends) get to see the real, raw stuff.

Too tricky for me right now, I'm off to catch some zzzz's....

'night x

Bonnie in SoCal said...

This is a terrific discussion! It is so important that we give ourselves "permission" to do and feel whatever we need to feel fully. I have spent most of my life trying to please other people and be everyone's friend. One of the important things I have learned is that I don't need to be everyone's friend. In regards to the situation you mentioned about other's pgs-- I give myself permission to respond in any way I feel like responding at that time. Usually it is guarded, and sometimes I am friendly. But, while I am polite to (almost) everyone, I don't need to be friendly to everyone. I am in grad school right now and most of the students in the program get married and have kids right away. I used to worry about how I would respond to all of them wanting to talk to me about their good news-- because I felt like I couldn't stand it if they didn't like how I responded to them. Now, I have permission to not care. If they don't like how I respond that is not my problem.
Thank you for continuing this discussion-- it is really thought provoking!

serenity said...

It's often hard to figure out what it is that you NEED to be doing, instead of what people expect you to do. For me anyway, my responsibility to others is a BIG part of who I am; so it's not often easy to separate what I want/need and what others expect from me.

But I really think you're onto something! The permissions are situational and how you are feeling this very minute - not overall rules which can be rigidly followed all the time.

I think she's going to be fantastic.

I am like Meri-ann - I am crap at temping, so I can't help you there. I did it for a couple of cycles and then stopped. Way too much stress for me.

Lut said...

It's not all in your hands when it comes to interacting with others.

There are people that I just prefer to stonewall, by all means available.
If that means nodding politely and then moving away at the first opportunity, I do that.

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