Permission to fail, granted.


Charlottetown Harbour, Sunrise © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2011

Charlottetown Harbour, Sunrise © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2011

Five weeks ago, I began the process of healing my body and mind from past sexual abuse.

Some people in the comments have assumed it happened as a child. It didn’t. It happened 5 years ago. I was incredibly naive and had no idea what was happening to me or how to explain it. I blamed myself.

It hasn’t been until the last couple of years that I’ve been able to start letting that blame go, and have started to acknowledge how traumatic it was and just how much my body has been damaged.

The last 5 weeks have been pretty hellish. Good, releasing, healing, painful, and hellish.

Most weeks I’m functioning at barely half-capacity. It’s been emotionally exhausting to say the least. It doesn’t help that my chronic illnesses are triggered by emotional stress, reducing my energy levels even further. Some days, I have to give up the fight by noon and admit that what I really need is a nap.

This is my gift to myself – by working through so much of this now, when I’m studying in France this summer, my head will be clearer and I’ll have the tools to deal with the emotional uprisings.

But then yesterday I woke up and was filled with panic.

I realized that I leave for France in 5 weeks – a mere 35 days (ummm, now that’s 34.)

And I still need another $13,000 to pull off the trip.

I forgot about my commitment to my healing and my only thought was, “I’m going to fail.

Wrong-sized advice

When I first started this healing process, a well-meaning friend insisted that my healing wouldn’t be complete unless I made all of the money I needed for France by the time I left (at the time, $18,000). They said that I needed to prove to myself that I could do it and that I needed to throw myself into a project instead of focusing all of my attention on the grieving and healing.

I got really upset because this felt like too much pressure for me – facing the trauma of the past and trying to heal the damage to my body was hard, scary and exhausting enough without dealing with all of my money issues and doing what it takes to make a lot of money in a short amount of time. I felt doomed to failure; that I would never heal because I couldn’t pull off this monumental task.

But then I readjusted my crown and realized that this is my healing process and no one else gets to dictate the terms except for me. (Sovereignty rules.) No matter how much they love me and want to help, I’m the only person who knows what’s best for me. If borrowing the money I needed was what I had to do, then so be it.

And then I felt fine, and we all tra-la-la-la’d on our way.

I have a sneaky brain, though.

I have a pretty severe internal critic (who may or may not sound exactly like the guy who abused me.)

He heard the words of my friend, and saw my internal turmoil and he filed this away for future reference.

He unfiled it yesterday morning, when he released this little ditty into my early morning wake up:

“You know you leave 5 weeks today, right? That’s only 35 days. And you’re going to borrow that $13,000 you still need? Pathetic. How weak. A successful person would easily be able to manage this healing process, their chronic illness, their regular duties, and overcome all of their less-than-helpful money beliefs all at once to do all of the promoting necessary to make $13,000 in 5 weeks. But obviously, you’re just useless and a failure. You’re just never going to succeed. You’ll be stuck here forever, broken. Pathetic.”

And I felt embarrassed, humiliated and ashamed. How could I borrow the rest of that money? I thought. But I’m so tired. I’m not superwoman. I’m doing the best I can here.

What we need are some heavy-duty-sized doses of permission, and STAT.

I’m giving these permissions to myself but I’m also giving them to you. We all get bogged down by unreasonable expectations. We all try to be superhuman every day, and then beat ourselves up when we discover for the millionth time that we are still only human.

Need permission to not conquer every monster you have by tea time tomorrow? Granted.

Want to take 10 years to grow your business to the level that it can fully support you at? You got it.

Want to take 5 years off to study your craft instead of trying to force money out of it straight away? Done.

Want to focus on only changing and healing one part of yourself at a time? Hell yes. You so get that permission.

Want to take a nap every day at 3pm because then you function so much better? Do it.

And I give myself permission to borrow all of the money that I need. (And I still get to be a great person who can have success in her life.)

Faster is not always better.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am only 23 and I have an entire lifetime to sort myself out. I don’t need to be a millionaire by tomorrow. I don’t need to be famous by October. Sure those things would be great, but do you know what’s more important?

Doing what you can manage. Not burning yourself out. Not beating yourself up.

Being happy and living with joy and bliss. And if the thought of doing all of the work necessary to be a millionaire by 2012 makes you want to throw up and hide under something, then you don’t have to do that.

You are still marvelous and magnificent and lovable. I am still marvelous, magnificent and lovable, even if I borrow every last cent that I need to get to France.

Here is your permission to fail wildly by the standards of the society but to be blissfully happy in your $100/month business.

I’m not condoning debt, or saying be broke forever or that there is nobility in poverty. It’s not really about the external factors at all.

What I’m trying to say is – trust yourself and trust your instincts. If going slowly is what you need, then go slowly. Give yourself what you need. And screw all of the people who tout faster as better. That’s great for them – they know that going fast makes them happy.

But if going slow makes you happy, then go slow.

At the end of the day, you know yourself best. I’m still learning that every single day. Trusting yourself is hard work. But in my experience, life goes better without the guilt of trying to fit in.