you owe yourself permission to be
I recently read this post on Brene's blog that resonated deeply with me, especially where she talks about giving yourself permission.
Each year in my field there is a huge conference where you propose panels/presentations and through a peer-review process invited to present or sent a thanks, but no thanks letter. As a graduate student I heard from colleagues and professors about the prestige of the conference, how it was a coup to go, etc. I have been fortunate enough to be accepted several times and presented at the conference in its various locations (it changes each year). This year's is in Vegas and when my panel and workshop were accepted, I was initially thrilled.
A few months ago, M and I were talking, brainstorming and budgeting for the impending trip and I suddenly said, "I don't want to go." My niece's 1st birthday party was the weekend before I would be set to leave and my heart wasn't in the presentation or the hoopla or the hotel/travel etc. I crunched numbers and it seemed incredibly overpriced for what I felt I was getting in return. But I was torn because of the expectations of my panel members, the field, future potential employers, my own sense of "what will people think if I don't attend." But the instant I told M I did not want to go, the feeling reverberated through me. This was not a fear response or a worry/anxious response. This was a putting myself first response.
Frequently our vacations are built around conferences. The trips we take are usually for me to present and visit friends along the way. I desperately wanted a Spring Break that was for me. I wanted to see my niece eat cake and I wanted to spend time with my family. Then around my birthday M came up with a plan that involved her mom joining us on an Orlando visit to her aunt's and my heart said yes!
I gave myself permission to be selfish.
I am sad that I am missing some friends I have not seen in years. But I am not sad I chose to spend time with my brother and his wife and my niece. I do not regret choosing my financial well being and peace of mind over a professional expectation. At least not yet.
I so badly needed a break, room to breathe and exist and be myself which let's face it, is a little bit selfish. But this time, I think that's okay.
Besides how can one say no to this face:
What do you need to give yourself permission to do? To be?