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Give to Get Permission: Allowing Yourself to Say Yes to You First

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

A few months ago I was at a Speaker Slam[1] and one of the speaker's[2] spoke about giving permission and how we are so used to asking for permission. I am not sure if it was purely her message or the way she said it, or both, but it really resonated with me. It is something that we usually don’t talk about but how many times did we ask permission growing up?

“Mom, can I have another scoop?”

“Can Sheri come over?”

“Can I go to the washroom?”

A lot of us have been conditioned from an early age to ask for permission and often times we do not shut that off as adults.

“Honey, is it okay if I go out with the boys?”

“Should I get dessert?”

“Are you sure I can buy that?”

I think it is so habitual that we don’t realize we do it. I am not suggesting that checking in with your partner or spouse about your plans and whereabouts isn’t a good idea, but, unless you feel it will conflict with pre-made plans, why ask? Why do we continue to give others the onus or our agency? I recall I initiated a break up with a partner years back but then allowed him to have final say. At the time I was not steadfast in my decision or confident to execute it; I was afraid to hurt his feelings. Now I am like, “What??? Hell no!” I still feel the upset of potentially hurting another’s feelings but I put my feelings and needs first. One might call it selfish, but I call it integrity. The more I give myself permission, the more I get. I get to be aligned with who I am, what I want and value. I can say no to others to say yes to myself and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, it is downright permitted.

Can you relate? Are there areas or times in your life where you ask permission? If so, what are they? And why? We often feel constrained in some way so it is good to identify what that is and work through it. It can be that you are still living out the obedient, compliant child as an adult, seeking approval, and are not aware of it. Well, it’s time to give yourself permission…first. Give yourself permission to take time off. Give yourself permission to say no to others. Give yourself permission to get a raise or make more money. Say yes to the dress, have the cheesecake and tell your honey you are going out with the boys but will be back later. April volition brings May fruition so get on getting your power back!


[1] Where speakers compete to inspire and win a prize with their stories and lessons

[2] Julia Katsivo

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