Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Giving Yourself Permission

I'm re-visiting the Fantasy of Being Thin with some friends right now, and thinking about when I gave up the one fantasy I had used as an excuse to hate my body.  When discussing this new round of examining all the people we would be if our bodies were different, JD used a key phrase that really stuck with me.  He said that you have to give yourself permission to be the person you want to be. 

He's right.  Right down inside all the fantasies is the idea that we have to conform to someone else's idea of perfect before we're "allowed" to live.  But there isn't an actual fashion police keeping me from baring my arms.  I don't have to ask permission from my friends to be confident.  Attractiveness isn't something given to you by others.

The year I blogged about my wild summer of giving up the "acceptable fatty" paradigm, I felt like I was really daring the disapproval of others by wearing tank tops and not covering up at the beach.  In retrospect, I realized that other peoples' disapproval wasn't really my problem.  They had no authority to tell me what was and wasn't okay to put on my body or show the world.  I was the only one who had that authority.  So what I was daring was my own disapproval.  What I was doing was giving myself permission.

Make a list of your fantasies...you know, the whole "when I am thin (or strong, or in less pain, etc.) I will be or do......" list.    How many of those things could you have right now, in the body you're in, if you give yourself permission?  Could you flirt more?  Dress differently?  Feel good about yourself?  Do more?  Do less?  How much of your fantasy is just you making your permission contingent on your weight or other physical attributes?  What is really stopping you from giving yourself permission right now, instead of in some hypothetical future body?

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