In a recent interview I heard Glennon Doyle Melton say that there are two important steps to true freedom as a woman. The first:
Do it without asking permission.
I recently went through a series of painful events that helped me see just how detrimental the act of asking permission has been in my life. This seems to be a universal struggle for women, we’re constantly asking permission in virtually every aspect of our lives. We seek permission by way of asking advice, seeking approval, gathering opinions, requesting suggestions, striving to meet expectations and not “rocking the boat.” We ask permission from our friends, our husbands, the media, members of the gym, other parents and our favorite bloggers/pastors/writers. This is something I don’t see my male counterparts doing. I can’t think of the last time my husband called a friend to ask how he should handle something, yet I – and most of the women I know – do it almost daily. What would my life look like if I stopped asking permission? What would it look like if I gave myself the freedom to form my own opinions, make my own mistakes and act without approval or consent from others? Of course, doing so will probably raise a few eyebrows which leads to what Glennon says is the second step to freedom as a woman:
Do it without explaining yourself.
I’ve been asking permission my entire life, but whenever I do work up enough courage to color outside the lines society has assigned to me, I find myself doing everything in my power to explain and justify my actions. I need people to understand why I do the things I do, even if they don’t agree with me. I feel compelled to defend and rationalize my behavior or decisions to others. But just imagine for a moment what it would be like to stop explaining. What would it be like to do that thing you’ve been wanting to do, without first trying to determine how you’ll explain it to everyone? What would it feel like to make that dietary change, that lifestyle change, that parenting change, you’ve been wanting to make without feeling the need to justify your actions to those around you?
What would our lives look like apart from the self-imposed obligations of seeking permission and explaining ourselves? What if we were simply free?