“To come to the end of a time of anxiety and fear! To feel the cloud that hung over us lift and disperse – the cloud that dulled the heart and made happiness no more than a memory! This is at least one joy that must have been known by almost every living creature.”

– Watership Down (Richard Adams)

There are two things I love about this quote:

  1. its expression of  joyful relief that comes with the lightening of a heavy burden
  2. its expression of (or rather, of my experiences of) of anxiety and depression

2013-11-11 21.30.20

I’ve become well acquainted with my own personal cloud lately, the one I insist on carrying around with me, the one that I suffer under at least partly of my own choosing. My cloud is the ever present and insistent judgement that I am not enough. Usually not good enough but there are numerous variations on the theme.

It has been a while since I’ve suffered as loud and persistent a negative self-judgement as the one I’ve ‘enjoyed’ over the last couple of months. Two people who I respect and admire have advised me recently that lessons (or sufferings) are repeated until we learn from them so I’ve been reflecting on what it is I need to learn from it. Not a terribly pleasant pastime, I have to say, and I put quite a lot of effort into busying myself to avoid reflecting on why I might feel a bit pants …

My conclusion – I am too busy looking to other people for validation that I am enough. That I do enough, that I am productive enough, that I am good enough, that I am a good enough human being, that I am a good enough colleague, a good enough friend … the list goes on. With a sense of mild shame, I’ve just realised that I was desperately hoping to get this validation and reassurance from my last romantic relationship and when it ended I was left feeling that I would never get the reassurance and confirmation that I sought.

Being unwilling to give myself permission to feel that I am enough, just as I am, causes me problems. It causes me to push myself unreasonably hard to try and persuade other people to give me permission to stop, slow down every now and then, to believe I am enough. Oops. That’ll explain the exhaustion and unwillingness to admit I was unwell for about 6 weeks then …

*sigh* we live and we learn. At least I try to. And the dispersal of the oppressive cloud and the realisation that the world is even more beautiful than you remembered, when you take a proper look around again, is a joyful thing. Forcing myself to write and share this has pushed me to be crystal clear about my story and what I am going to learn from this. Just to make sure I’m still on the road to being better or good enough in some way 😉

Think it is about time I stop, relax and read a book for a bit before bedtime …


12 thoughts on “Permission

  1. Wow! That’s a powerful blog.

    I understand where you’re coming from. It’s lovely to hear others telling you you are “good enough” – but you never quite believe it yourself.

    Self-image is not a quick or easy thing to change, it can take days, weeks, months, years… and if you’ve had a particularly difficult past, it makes it even harder.

    However, do remember, there are those of us out here who are there for you when you’re down, when you need reassurance, when you feel you feel everything is against you.

    Ashley x

    1. Hello Ashley 🙂 and thank you. Thank you so much for reading, for taking the time to make a comment and for the lovely compliment. I am blessed with having people around me who care about how I am.

      I am a firm believer that the more people open up and talk about their struggles the easier it gets 🙂 It definitely works for me and I also hope that me talking about my perspective maybe helps other people in some way. Regardless, thank you so much for listening.

      L x

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us Louise, you really are an exceptional person with so much to give both to yourself and others. It is really brave of you to share yourself with us. x

    1. Hi Patricia – thank you for your kind words 🙂 It is my pleasure and privilege to have people to share with. It really helps me to talk and write about the difficult stuff – it helps me crystallise my findings and learnings and it also opens up the most wonderful conversations with people 🙂 I am so glad you took time to read my post and thank you so much for taking time to respond.

  3. I had a huge lump in my throat reading this. It’s as though I wrote it myself. Not easy being your own harshest critic, is it? Someone wise once told me that I am perfect. A perfect example of a James Galpin. It’s a useful thought. And I sometimes treat myself to it.

    This is a great post. Humble, reflective, honest and gives us a chunk of your self. Thank you.

    1. Hi James. Thanks for sharing that this made such an emotional connection with you. I guess I really can’t tell myself I am the only person who ever feels like this now, can I? 😉

      It is hard being your own harshest critic, agreed. Especially when there are areas of your life where you don’t seem to get a lot of encouragement from outside either! I love the thought of being a perfect example of just who I am, thank you. I will take that one with me.

  4. Well my gorgeous, wonderful, talented friend. You know how I feel about this and I’m so proud of you for putting this out there. Not that you need my validation in any way 🙂 these are not easy habits to break but you’ll get there xx

    1. Hey you, reading your comment made tears well up in my eyes. Thank you so much for your friendship and your support. It really is hard to break those habits, but I’m working on it and I’ll keep on picking myself up whenever I stumble until I get there 🙂

  5. This has really surprised me as I always thought you were really interesting, funny, intelligent and great company. Not sure how to say it but you sure don’t need validation as you rock.

    1. Cheers Luke, what a lovely thing to say 🙂 I need to remind myself that there is a bit of a distance between what goes on in my head and what everyone out here in the world experiences.

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