When I was in high school, we had to get a pass to leave class and walk in the hallway. Need to use the bathroom? Get a pass. Spill something on your blouse? Get a pass. Cut your finger?
Take a pass to the nurse’s office.
The passes were red stiff paper with the words “HALL PASS” printed on them and a border around the edge. If you were caught in the hall without a pass, you were disciplined. Detention to start, sitting in the Vice Principal’s office, and eventually suspension if it happened often enough.
Now I got that the school had to know where the students were. After all, they were responsible for our safety. But I gotta tell you that by the middle of my senior year I was really tired of having to get a pass from the teacher and carry it around with me just to go out into the hallway. I was so ready to graduate and be part of a world where I didn’t need permission to pee.
No matter how responsible I was, I still had to carry that pass. And that June graduation date seemed a long way off.
Have you ever felt this way? Constrained by having to get permission? Knowing you’ve grown beyond the rigid rules? Ready to move on?
And what if the one imposing these rules – these constraints – is you? We do it all the time. Self-censoring. Waiting to be picked. Living small. Hiding behind rules of our own making…that we sometimes don’t even realize we made.
And for what? To feel safe.
As much as we may think we no longer need that hall pass, part of us likes the illusion of safety it provides. There’s certainty with the pass. Someone else has given us permission to walk the hallway. To show up. Be here.
But here’s the thing. There’s only one hall pass per classroom. And if someone else has it, you could be waiting a very long time for your turn.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to graduate again. I’m tired of asking permission. Waiting for the pass. I’m ready to break free. Ready for the next thing. I don’t know exactly what it is or when it will be. But I do know I’m ready. And I’m practicing giving myself permission even now.
Permission to speak up. Be myself. Take care of myself. Tell people honestly how I feel. Ask for help. All preparing me for the next thing. Whatever it is.
Are you ready to graduate? Give yourself permission to do – or not do – something? What might that thing be? What’s that voice inside you whispering? That feeling in the pit of your stomach saying? Your excited heart urging?
You don’t have to wait until someone gives you a hall pass. You have your own “get out of jail free” card. And you can use it any time you want.
Let’s practice together, shall we? Here are some ideas to get your imagination going.
- I give myself permission to not try and be all things to all people.
- I give myself permission to love my body just the way it is.
- I give myself permission to ask for help.
- I give myself permission to try something I’ve always wanted to do.
You get the picture. Start with something small to get warmed up. Work your way up to bigger and more important decisions. Let’s schedule your graduation date. And let the party begin!
What are you giving yourself permission to do or not do? Share in the comments.