Permission Granted“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.” – Byron Katie When I was a kid, I always felt compelled to play by the rules. I walked throughout the elementary school hallways when I wanted to run, waited for my parents to sort out my Halloween candy into rations before diving head deep into my pillowcase full of tootsie rolls, and even tried my best to control my self-expression (talking) throughout a decade and a half of schooling. Whenever I deviated from the particular socially accepted etiquette, I felt uncertain and uncomfortable. As I got older, I noticed that many of the kids around me were breaking all sorts of rules. In the midst of the most awkward years of my life, middle school, bullying started to show its face. Cliques began to form and rebellion felt like a natural form of expression for others. Yet, I still was too damn chicken-shit to participate. I can still remember how I felt when I was sent to the principal for being part of a ‘food fight’ in 4 th grade. My food fight participation had more to do with fitting in as I sneakily tossed my empty Yoo-hoo box across the cafeteria. That experience was followed by another rebellious one… I got a detention for drinking water during my freshman year of high school. Yea, I know what ya’ll are thinking? This dude is an absolute REBEL. Well….not exactly. While I did feel quite alive after ‘participating’ in the food fight and confused about my 9 th grade history teacher’s water policy, I did know this: I was continuously looking for permission before I acted. Moving forward, this behavior began to clearly seek deeper repercussions than the detention and short suspension for the chocolate milk throwing and the rebellious water drinking. Imagine creating a belief that said behaving in a certain way would prevent you from being judged, getting in trouble, or face rejection? Would you be inclined to behave like this? For about a quarter of century, that was a belief that I held closer than that pillowcase of Halloween candy. I was constantly seeking permission. Am I allowed to do this or explore that? I needed rules…..I craved ultimate certainty that what I was doing was ‘correct’.

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