This post is the start of my vlog series "Permission to be" - so called because that's the one phrase I've used with nearly all my clients... You HAVE permission to be: Happy/Neurotic/Bossy/Generous/[insert behaviour that you feel guilty about here]...the only thing you need to remain mindful of is the consequences of that action.
The video's transcript will begin the article, but I will then add quick tips that you can try which can be used to manage some of the issues raised.
Today I'm giving you Permission to Be - YOU!
I'm a psychologist, but I have no fixed abode. I write, coach and consult offering the "psychological viewpoint" on paper and in person. But to answer that question you get asked when someone meets me, or when my friends need to double check what it is I actually do - I say "psychologist". But this leads to a number of assumptions which I figured I'll address now.
1. I don't analyse my loved ones. It takes to much work, and in the last 45 years of what I've seen - I don't think any of them can afford me...I can barely afford the therapy myself!
2. I'm not as together in my life as I appear in your offices. It takes a great deal of work for me to not be "Bridget Jones" - which thankfully, some of you think is charming when she's popped out (mwah). A good example of this is I came home one day and mentioned to my husband that I think I lost an apple in my car. My reasoning was it was there when I left the car, and it's not there now. His reponse "Did you eat it?"
...because to the person who knows me best in the world, I am the sort of person who would eat an apple and not remember doing it.
But I have to ask - wouldn't you rather have someone who knows what's going on in that pretty little head and is working on it and advising you with, well, what works!...Or someone who turns into Hannibal Lecter when you least expect it...?
3. Although I was trained as a psychologist, I was head of psychology when I taught, I am a psychometric practitioner and my books are based around psychology...my friends will relate everything I do in my field to attention seeking. And they'd be right. They roll their eyes when I stage photos, they sigh and say "OK" when I ask them to be in my next video...hold the camera...or worse hold my bag while I hold the camera, and while they are pretty sure I don't make them run mazes, they are less sure I'm not lining them up for my next IGTV.
But you know what - those friends - my good friends - don't care...and that's the point. They've stuck around because the things that wind them up are outweighed by the things that don't.
You - like me - will have habits that you aren't proud of. You will have idiosynchrocies which would irritate you if you see them in others. But that's part of being human...and that's what makes you YOU.
Ok, so you're holding your besties hair back after a heavy night; you've booked the restaurant an hour later than you've told your pal because you know his clock functions differently to...the rest of the world; or you are once again listening to the on-off saga of that relationship...
...and don't just take it from me, here's what you had to say...
Then ask yourself - ...and what do they put up with in YOU!?
We are not perfect - and that's what makes us so interesting....and besides some of those "faults" are often the flip side of why we love someone, or why we are loved. Perhaps I am a little spotlight seeking, but it's brought a lot of people many experiences they may not otherwise have had. I have a friend who is so anxious she has more than she needs for any emergency...but it means in an emergency - I have her! And to all my friends who are high flying hot messes - you are still my first point of contact when I need legal, educational, medical etc etc advic - not to mention love, reassurance and a really good laugh! (Not at you!)
If it gets too much a good friend will call you out - just because they love you. A good friend sees it and it doesn't matter. A good friend - like a coach - gives you permission to be you.
So, respect that and value that and put any energy you spend feeling bad about those things that you suspect bug others into either tweaking it, or amping up all the good bits.
You have permission to be you!
If you do want to make changes then consider the following three tips:
1. Remember why you want to make the change - and do it for you not for others. Chances are people may not even realise...and if friends have already forgiven the "fault" they are less likely to recognise the change anyway!! You are the person whose validation counts...and if it seems like you are needing to change for others, it might be your salon that needs changing not your behaviour.
2. Don't forget that what you may see as a fault in one context may be extremely beneficial in another so try to think of all your behaviours in terms of "is this effective or ineffective" rather than "right or wrong".
3. Ask yourself the following...what are my:
- Temperament preferences (eg. fast thinking, slow thinking)
- Around the clock preferences (eg. am I a morning person or evening person)
- Life goals that I have found or would find meangingful
- Strengths (...in my eyes and in the eyes of others)
and focus on living those each day. You will find when you are being you, you will attract people who appreciate that to you, and faults and foibles may be less worrisome.
Audrey is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), and the author of "The Leader's Guide to Mindfulness" (Pearson & FT series) and "Be A Great Manager - Now" (Pub Pearson, 2016, Book of the Month in WH Smith Travel Stores). She is a CPD Accredited speaker, trainer, and qualified FIRO-B and NLP Practitioner. She is the founding Development Coach and Training Consultant with her training consultancy CLICK Training, and the resident psychologist on The Chrissy B Show (Sky191), the UK's only TV programme dedicated to mental health and wellbeing. She often presents at National and International conferences in the fields of leadership and team cohesion, and is part of the Amity University conference panel. She currently lectures in Personal Development and Mindfulness and offers psychological consultancy in these areas to organisations.