Give Yourself Permission to...Become Yourself!

Expand Your Life This Summer!

It’s summertime! Time to get outdoors, head to the beach, fire up the grill, eat on the patio, float down the river, hike into the mountains, or sleep under the stars. The normal rules of our lives seem to get relaxed a little, come summer. Maybe it’s the longer daylight: we get up earlier, stay out later, linger longer over dinner with friends. After all, school is out; the kids don’t have to be in bed by eight. The weather is wonderful, and many of us are planning long-awaited vacations.

I’m all in favor! It’s good to mix things up, take life a little easier, maybe a little riskier, rattle our routines, and try something new. Summer is the perfect opportunity.

Many of you who receive my Daily Insights (a free app on Apple) are familiar with my saying, “Give yourself permission to… [fill in the blank].” This summer, I’m combining “Give yourself permission to” with another of my Insights: “Become yourself.”

This summer, “Give yourself permission to become yourself!”

My years of medical practice, caring for more than 50,000 patients, have convinced me that no two people are identical. Every single person is unique. That means that no one else can tell you how to live your life. No one else really knows what combination of factors will create the conditions in which you thrive. At best, they can tell you what has worked for others. That’s why, letting go of your need to live up to other people’s expectations and instead reconnecting with what makes you happy is really the only way to live a fulfilling life. It’s also the most important step in managing Cultural Stress (as my own research confirms).

Since no one else is qualified to be an authority in your life, you must give yourself permission to do what you need or want to do. There’s really no one else to advise you. Unfortunately, many of us have unconsciously given our authority away, which means we’re waiting for someone else—and usually, we don’t even know who—to give their permission. And often, we’re waiting for permission to do the biggest, riskiest, most important things we secretly want for ourselves, whether that’s a career change, a new sport or hobby (stand-up comedy anyone?), or a relationship or lifestyle change.

The good news is that if you have given your authority away, it’s never too late to get it back. Usually all it takes is making a decision for yourself and then communicating it to others. You’re not asking permission; you’re simply informing them of what you’ve decided.

Try it! You may be amazed at how easy it is to liberate yourself from a lifetime of thinking you needed someone else’s permission.

The second Insight, “Become yourself,” reflects the fact that we’re not born fully formed. We grow into ourselves. And of course, growth requires change. The conditions that suited us as infants are not the ones we need as toddlers. Our optimal conditions change again by the time we enter school, and again by the time we enter puberty. Even as adults, we’re not static beings. Ideally, we continue to grow and develop—as individuals, partners, parents, empty-nesters, retirees, and elders—throughout our lives. We might move to a new community, develop new interests, acquire a new group of friends, embark on a new career, discover new pursuits and passions, build new skills and talents. The activities that once excited us can lose their appeal, and we’re drawn instead to new aspirations and inspirations. Although change can be scary, I believe it’s all good! As the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan wrote, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” This means that being born is not a “one-and-done” activity, and so we must give ourselves permission to continually evolve.

So, what will the newest version of yourself look like this summer? How can you become yourself and “allow the unique you to blossom?” Are you still waiting for someone else to give you permission? What challenge or adventure can you give yourself to inspire and support your latest evolution?

For Loralee and me, there’s nothing else we’d rather do these days than visit our children and grandchildren. That wouldn’t make everyone happy—it’s just what makes us happy! I’ve also recently had a new idea for a research paper: exploring the difference between extracellular water in connective tissue and ECW that is “waste water.” I don’t know what will become of this research, but I’m giving myself permission to find out.

In a similar spirit, my oldest daughter traveled to Italy with friends this summer. She had a great time, while I’m happy to not be going to Italy this summer.

A friend of ours has joined an outdoor adventure group. Every week, she heads off for a new experience with her new group of friends. So far she’s gone horseback riding in Griffith Park and had a windsurfing lesson at Marina del Rey.

Another friend, who recently divorced, has found out that she loves volunteering at a local daycare center.

I read about a woman who has made this her “popsicle summer.” She bought a freezer, put it on the porch, and filled it with frozen treats for anyone who wants one: the neighborhood kids, the UPS driver, the postal carrier.

What would make you happy this summer?

Take my advice and “Give yourself permission!”

That’s #ModernWellness!

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider, who should also be consulted with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.


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