When I initially thought about blogging, I was very apprehensive and overwhelmed by the thought of taking on this task. I am mostly unfamiliar with blogs, blogging and bloggers. While I knew they existed, I wasn’t really sure how these things worked. I needed to give myself permission to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new. And so far so good!! The concept of permission is noble and worthwhile but in reality, we are rarely allowed to give ourselves the gift of permission. I will speak from my viewpoint in saying that I previously felt a high level of guilt for allowing myself permission to put me first, not assist someone with a task, not attend a worthwhile event, and/or be there for everyone, but never for myself. This guilt pushed me to never say no, always find a way to attend, assist, participate, plan and while I was at it, make sure my superhero uniform was always clean and pristine. After many years of doing this, I found myself wondering why I was always tired, not able to sit still in the moment, nor appreciate the small things that were going on around me. I mean, I was truly stumped. Then it hit me; I was exhausted. After allowing myself permission to actually sleep and get rest, I still wasn’t very present in the moment or happy. I found myself starting the cycle all over again. After hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall so many times I can’t count (if you haven’t noticed, I may be a bit stubborn and hard headed), I realized it was a bit more than exhaustion. But I still didn’t quite know what it really was. After much soul searching and hitting a few other walls, I learned about permission. Permission is saying, I matter just as much as anyone else and I choose to do things for me. I know, I know. You might be thinking, “It’s selfish to put myself first”. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not and in fact, I will give you permission to do so. I like to equate giving permission to flying. Anyone who has flown on a commercial aircraft is very familiar with the emergency instructions provided by the flight attendant. After pointing to the emergency lighting on the floors and the emergency exits, the flight attendants talk about the mask. This is the most important part of all the instructions because if the plane loses altitude or cabin pressure the masks will release for use. The most important of all of these instructions is to place the mask on yourself first. When I was younger, I would travel with my mother for the most part. I couldn’t imagine not placing the mask on her first! When I expressed this to my mother, she immediately corrected me and told me why. She simply said that the reason I needed to place the mask on myself first was because I needed to be able to breathe in order to help her. At first, it didn’t make sense. I thought I was an invincible child and nothing could stop me. But as time went on and life began to happen, her words became more and more clear. Permission is the gift I now want to grant you, my favorite readers. It is okay for you to now breathe. Breathe by saying no to unfulfilling and/or unnecessary events, tasks, or obligations. Permit yourself to breathe by doing something fun, nice, kind, fulfilling and/or important to and for yourself. Most of all, you have permission to enjoy putting yourself first and to not feel any guilt. Isn’t permission amazing!!! I hope you feel the same.