If I could, I would____ (fill in the blank).

Oftentimes, I find myself in conversation with a dear friend seeking out something I cannot put my finger on. It's not a problem to be resolved, nor a need to be heard (I have fabulous friends who do this beautifully). It's something more subtle, an answer I already have that I cannot see, even though it is standing plainly before me. And then she breaks into a grin as if the Wizard has stepped out from behind the curtain to grant me what I had all along: permission. A big thumbs up. An unadulterated 'It's OK.'

What makes 'It's OK' tricky to spot is that it stands alone. Whereas 'It's not OK!' has so many accompanists (it's not healthy! It's not right! It's not kind! It's risky! It's just plain dumb!), 'It's OK' offers little more than trusting yourself and giving yourself permission to do, feel, have or want whatever it is that is true of you.

That might mean feeling kvetchy when you wish you were feeling grateful or bitchy when you wish you were feeling loving; it might mean being in the mood for pancakes when you wish you wanted a baked-egg-in-avocado or wanting to watch TV when you wish you were yearning to work out; it might mean saying 'no' when you think you should be saying 'yes' or doing anything other than what you think you should be doing.  

Sometimes, what you want is hidden. Like, when you want to just eat pancakes in front of the TV, but what you really want is to feel good, in which case a protein-packed breakfast following a good workout will give you that high. So you push yourself over the momentary want to get to that deeper yearning. But when you have been pushing and pushing and pushing and you still want pancakes over Paleo, then maybe what you really want is to stop being pushed. Maybe what you want is a break from being pushed into all of the things that you think you want and trust that what you want will dictate what you do. In other words, maybe a week (or month, or year) of Pancakes and (TV) Programs will drive you back to the gym more than a constant internal 'go, go, go!' Maybe.

The space you allocate yourself to veer from your routines is indicative of how much permission you give yourself in the moment. It's also indicative of how much you trust yourself. Of how much you are willing to try something new with the faith that if it isn't what you wanted, you can always go back to Paleo and (workout) Programs. 

That's not to say that doing what you want doesn't come with consequences. You might gain weight. You might lose muscle. You might lose money. You might lose friends. You might lose your marriage. You might lose it all. Following your heart's desires can have devastating effects.

But so can not following it.

A deep consideration of what you want with a fabulous friend (or therapist or parent or spiritual guide or life coach) can help you discern the difference between what you should want and what you really want. It might unearth that what you really want is permission. Permission to want what you want in the moment, with no need to do anything about it but hear yourself out with the trust that your want has something to tell you. And whatever it is, it's OK.