On permission slips, self-worth, and being present

When I was in high school, we had mint green hall passes that had to be filled out before use – and we needed the explicit permission that these hall passes gave in order to go anywhere during class periods. Including our name, where we we going, and the signature of the teacher. When I was a college student, raising my hand to ask if I could go to the bathroom was a hard habit to break. And I saw it resurrected when I was an instructor in college.

It was tough, learning that I didn’t need to ask permission to do something that was necessary. Sometimes, I think I still believe that I need permission. As I’ve been reading through my Google Reader feed this week, I’m finding a number of posts that resonate with me this week have a common theme: Permission granting. (Don’t worry, they’re being added to the Weekend Reads post for Saturday!)

C'mon, can you touch the tip of your nose with...
C’mon, can you touch the tip of your nose with your tongue? (Photo credit: 2-Dog-Farm)

After a great conversation with a friend of mine, I’ve been wondering about self-worth and permission slips. Because I keep thinking that there’s a link there, and I’m just not seeing it right now. That it’s sitting, right on the tip of my tongue, and yet, I don’t know what to say about it. I’ve been staring at this post for a few hours now, having it rattle around my brain. And perhaps, it’s not ready yet. So, I keep wondering the questions, trying to live into them, see where they take me….

Why is it sometimes so hard to give ourselves the permission to do what we love, be who we are, do what needs to be done? Why is it often easier to hear it from others, or to place ourselves in a third party position?

And finally, one of my favourite permission slips, given by one of my favourite writers, from one of my favourite books.


Some of this book [On Writing by Stephen King]—perhaps too much—has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it—and perhaps the best of it—is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.

If you could give yourself a permission slip to do something that you’ve been hanging back on, what would the permission slip say?


5 thoughts on “On permission slips, self-worth, and being present

  1. I love it. I’ve recently started giving myself permission slips after I realized that I’m then only one who can grant me true permission to do/be/say/feel anything. I believe this is kind if the best perks of getting older.

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