In spiritual and therapeutic circles we talk about “giving permission.” We give ourselves permission to do this or that, be this or that. We give other’s permission to be or do this thing or the other.  We release unnecessary boundaries that are holding us back from being authentic and fully experiencing all we can be and what is possible.  Yay!!! At least, we try to, when we get there, when we are brave enough to be vulnerable, to realize we’ve lost our authority along the way and we struggle to find it again.

I love that and I’m all for it. I sometimes point out to my clients that they are asking me to give them permission to do something they don’t need permission to do.  I laugh and comedically put on the “Hat of Authority” for them for a moment and use the “Wand of Permission” to bless them and allow them access to the kingdom of what they already had and already were.  We all get a kick out of it and it allows for healing.  But there is also a level of giving permission that has nothing to do with words, with perceived roles or power.  It has to do with actions.

Often we want to empower those we love, to give others permission to be vulnerable, to take chances, so we wait like spotters at the gym, available to support them in doing this difficult task and to keep them safe. Meanwhile, they are waiting for us to go first.  They are waiting to see how it works, what it looks like to be vulnerable, to hear our stories and see our beauty before they are willing to expose their own. And so like two people at a door we say “No, you first,” while they say “No, you first,” and neither of us goes through the door.  Leading through our actions isn’t just about the courage to do something, many times its about the courage to be something. To be that something in public where others can see. It’s about being vulnerable. Our actions create the path that others can walk. Our examples create the template that others will use to build their lives, one vulnerable step at a time. So don’t wait to give someone permission to be themselves, show them they don’t need it.