Sometimes when I meet Second Gens (those of us born and/or raised in an extremist environment) from my cult, they ask me, “Why are you so healthy and whole?

“I’ve been at this healing thing since before you were born,” I invariably reply. “It’s been a long, long time.”

I have been at this healing and self-wholing thing for decades. I will probably be at it for decades more. Hopefully, because I intend to be around for decades more and I don’t think this self-wholing thing every really ends. Now, don’t get me wrong. I used to think that I had a bottomless pit of pain and damage inside me that I would, therefore, never get to the bottom of. I no longer believe that. I now “know” that my pit of pain is not bottomless, that I’m damn close to the bottom, and that I don’t have to get to the bottom of it anyway.

That being said, it always seems like there’s another layer of realization and ease and self-love that I can find. And that I intend to be at forever.

My newest realization (or perhaps re-realization) is my engrained impulse to need permission to be and do. To just need permission. “Am I allowed to think that?” I ask my therapist. “Am I allowed to feel that way? Is that okay?”

Even with my coaching clients, I find myself telling them that we’re allowed to stand up for ourselves or to make a choice even if others don’t like it or to take care of ourselves first. And then I stop and notice my use of the word “allowed.” I’m still asking for permission or giving permission or thinking (and teaching) that there’s an inherent need for permission. An inherent right and wrong. That inherently we need to make sure we are allowed to be or do.

There isn’t. We don’t.

I’m noticing my language and the belief system it highlights. I’m noticing it with self-compassion and gentleness, because I was intentionally, systematically, and repeatedly taught that there were rights and wrongs and that I did need to hyper-vigilantly watch myself and check myself or I would think, feel, and do the wrong thing. That I would be wrong.

I can’t be wrong. We can’t be wrong. There’s not that kind of wrong. We don’t need permission for anything. We don’t need to figure out what we’re allowed to do.

We can just do and be.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Catalin Pop on Unsplash

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