How to ‘allow’ my personal growth journey was the question I needed to answer. I wanted to start my personal growth journey with the word ‘allow’ as it is not only the first letter of the alphabet, but also an important one. I started by practicing a feeling of allowing empowered me to ‘allow’ myself to be kinder to myself and others. It also gave me the freedom to start creating a life worth living which prevented me from falling into the inevitable ‘hole’.
Reasons I needed Allowing as a personal growth tool.
I wanted to start my personal growth journey with you in an easy, manageable way. Starting with A was a logical sequence however, the amount of words beginning with A that make an impact on how I do life was astonishing. Words like, awareness, acceptance, affirmation and appreciation. Well guess what? I am not using any of those! I am going to tell you about the word ‘allow’ and what allowing did for me? It might sound strange, well, a little. Like a small voice coming from the background that no one hears.
For starters, a personal growth journey beginning with A might not even be your word that makes the most impact on you, and that’s ok, however, I am sure you will come across your word if this one holds no impact. We are all in different places on our journey, so if allow is not yours, I have many more. Right!
The Oxford dictionary’s description of Allow:- let (someone) have or do something. Permit, let, authorize, give someone permission to, give authorization to, give leave to, sanction, grant, grant someone the right, license, empower, enable, entitle, qualify.
Finding ‘Allowing’ and how it creates a life worth living
Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s way, writes this sentence: ‘We must believe that we are allowed to ‘catch the bus’. In other words, you are allowed to start a personal growth journey enabling me to create a life worth living.
Brene Brown mentions giving ourselves permission to be imperfect and finding self worth despite our imperfections or she uses permission slips.In my first blog ‘A ‘hole’ lot of living”, http://lovinglylivelife.com/2019/03/05/a-hole-lot-of-living-creating-a-life-worth-living/
I explain a little of my personal growth journey, in A hole lot of living, but in a nutshell, if you have not read my previous blog – I found that all my life I kept falling into the same hole and battled to get out of it. Once I fell in, due to lack of coping skills growing up, I could not get out until I remembered the skills I had learnt. That was the tricky thing, I could not remember them when I was in the hole. This is a blog that reminds us of how we ”got in the hole” and start to create a life worth living.
The beginning of Allowing as a personal growth tool
Being a stay at home mom most of my married life was a true gift and I loved every minute I had bringing up my children, however, in a goal focused, materialistic, career orientated world I found that this helped towards me feeling inadequate, ill equipped and filled with loads of guilt. This created a busy syndrome in me which ensured I was busy doing something important all the time instead of becoming my distinctive self and improving who I was meant to be.
I was overworked, over anxious, over everything, as are many moms with small children; a fact of life, consequently I felt that I had to rush through everything in order to get to the next thing – so that I could rush through that. This caused me to enjoy very little of any one thing that I had achieved.
Worry was my friend, believing it would prevent any catastrophes. This was incredibly debilitating as, of course, the more I worried about something, the bigger it became, and it certainly did not help me in any way. I thought that in trying to control every little aspect of my life I would be able to see what was coming on the horizon, sum it up, analyse it and be ready for it when it arrived. No. None of that really helped me.
How I found that ”Allowing” created a life worth living.
I had an epiphany one day when I read a specific chapter in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artists way which was that I was allowed to ‘catch the bus’.
Once I could start putting into practice a sense of allowing in my life I realised that I could start understanding and applying all the other A words that I previously mentioned. This allowed myself to accept, be aware of, affirm others and appreciate life more. Having fun was allowed, being in a struggle was acceptable, being creative or sitting and doing nothing without the guilt that came with that.
My 3 helpful tips:
- Am I allowing myself to be/do … whatever it is.
- Do I feel the allowing. Literally, I must feel that sense of allowing.
- I ask myself if I am feeling a sense of guilt, and if so, why?
How Loving others helped in my personal growth journey
The camping gear saga.
We have just recently placed our camping gear on Gumtree, however late one night we received a phone call from a prospective buyer. His camping gear had been stolen and he was needing a tent the next day for a regatta he was in. He was coming from Simon’s Town and it was already 8.20pm consequently, it would take him an hour or more to get to us. Could we wait up for him he asked?
Now I don’t know about you, but my immediate thought was, how inconvenient it would be to stay up late and ‘is this some sort of scam’? My first thoughts were about myself. He arrived at 10.30, extremely grateful that we had stayed up and were able to help in some way.
We felt good and I was grateful I had ‘allowed’ myself and him a little leeway. It took courage, effort and a belief in my fellow man that not everyone out there is out to get me and I had to ‘allow’ myself, firstly to trust him and secondly to look at my own thoughts.
Seeing people as you see yourself.
Allowing myself to see people as people just like me, going about their day, just like me helps me connect with who I am, also just a person, doing the best I can. Brene Brown says, believe that everyone is innocent and doing the best they can as a result I allow myself the freedom to love others just as they are. In loving others, I feel better about myself consequently when I feel good about myself, the hole slips away.
Footnote:- We do use our common sense though as we live in a world where people might take advantage of your goodness. Its when the negativity becomes over powered that we know there is a problem.
How Loving myself helped me feel unique in my journey
Finding self compassion
This kind of compulsive concern with “I, me, and mine” isn’t the same as loving ourselves… Loving ourselves points us to capacities of resilience, compassion, and understanding within that are simply part of being alive.
Sharon Salzberg, The Force of Kindness.
Extracted from Kristin Neff’s Book – Self Compassion
How many books, articles and blogs have you read on this subject? I have read many.
Giving yourself permission to love yourself.
It seems ironic that we need to be given permission to love ourselves however, Kristin Neff says that self-criticism makes matters worse and by beating herself up only caused her to feel more inadequate and insecure. She maintains that there are three core components; self-kindness, recognition of common humanity and being mindful by not ignoring her pain or exaggerating it.
Allowing myself the right to be kinder to myself, gave me freedom to start creating a life worth living. In allowing myself create a life worth living, enabled me to accept myself a little more which in turn prevented me from falling into the hole so easily when things became difficult.
How Loving God gave me a distinctive characteristic
Allowing God into my Life.
Henri Nouwen stated on twitter and I quote:- The question is not “How am I to find God?”, but “How am I to let myself be found by Him?”. “The question is not “How am I to know God?”, but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” and, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?”. Very powerful words.
Once I started looking at how much I was or was not allowing God in my life, came as a monumental surprise to me. I was limiting myself to how I was having a relationship with Him.
The Power of God
Julia Cameron mentions in her book, The Artists Way that many of us never consider how powerful the Creator really is and so we decide how powerful God is. I was not allowing God to be God as a result I would pray about something and then promptly forget that I just asked for God’s help and would continue to try and solve the problem on my own terms.
Once I stop limiting God in my world, I started living my life in a completely new way. Instead of looking at everything in a negative way, I started seeing things in a positive way, seeing the good in everything. This prevented me from falling in the hole as easily.
A lovely blog to find great reading material is https://www.counselingbycarissa.com/books
Next week I move onto B. My B word links very well with my A word. Believe. Believing I can do what I finally allow myself to do….
I am truly loving unpacking my ideas with you and do hope my blog has been helpful.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
Brown. B. 2007. I thought it was just me, Women reclaiming power and courage in a culture of Shame. Gotham Books.
Cameron, J. 1994 The Artist’s Way, A course in discovering and recovering your creative self. Pan books.
Neff, K. 2011. Self Compassion Stop Beating Yourself up and Leave Insecurity Behind. Hodder and Stoughton.