Do you know someone who always seems to have it all together? You’ve never seen them with a hair out of place or a wrinkle on their polished clothing. The smile on their face never fades. They hold their head high with enviable confidence, and you wonder if they’ve ever made a mistake. I’m here to tell you that those people have just as many problems and self-doubts as you. They just haven’t given themselves full permission to be human, or at least not to show their humanness to others.
Research has shown that perfectionism comes from issues with self-esteem and anxiety. It heightens the risk of depression, eating disorders, and even suicide. It’s easy to look at someone who seems incapable of making a mistake and is always in control of their emotions with envy. What I want to help you see today is that the lack of emotion, the lack of mistakes, is really a mask that hides the most human elements of a person.
Today, I want to dig into the importance of giving yourself full permission to be human, flaws and all. So, let’s break down what ‘being human’ really means together.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has an open submission form online that allows people worldwide to answer the question, “What does it mean to be human?” The responses are all different, but most center on the following elements:
- Emotional Experiences
- Emotional Expressions
- Learning and Growing
- Unique Abilities
- Planning and Complex Thinking
These are all things that make us unique animals here on earth. We have dynamic brains that allow us to think with great complexity. This means we can plan for the future while acknowledging when it’s time to pivot or change plans. We have the ability to feel and express a wide range of emotions and relate to one another on an emotional level using empathy.
Humans have good days and bad days. We have years of tremendous success, and then suddenly, we’ve hit rock bottom and are determined to bounce back. We will make mistakes, but we will also learn from those mistakes, forgiving ourselves along the way. Our emotions may feel as though they’re out of control which can lead us to make poor choices in those moments. It’s all a part of the human experience.
We’re complex. We’re not intended to live perfect lives.
We are all human. We entered this world as Homo sapiens and will exit this world as the same. There is no changing that, so what does giving full permission to be human really mean?
I’m talking about giving yourself full permission to be who you are with the rest of the world watching. It means fully embracing the wide range of emotions that we’re blessed to be able to experience, including all of the less savory ones like anger, regret, and shame. It means expecting that we will make mistakes and turning those same mistakes into personal growth, learning from the experience rather than dwelling on our faults.
I’d like you to take a step back and say, “I have permission to show my humanity, whatever that looks like. I will make mistakes. I will slip and fall. But I will also get a lot right. I will correct the course and pull myself back up from the ground. I may lose control of my emotions, but I will feel each one and be thankful that I can experience those emotions.”
When you believe those words and show yourself mercy in daily life, you give yourself full permission to enjoy life as an authentic, one-of-a-kind human being. It’s incredibly liberating to drop the mask of perfection and let the world see you in all of your authenticity, taking the good with the bad.
There are just as many ways to give full permission to be human as there are definitions of what it means to be human. You may come up with your own ideas on how to give yourself full permission to be human as you journey through the process of taking full ownership of your true, most authentic self. To get you started, here are some of my ideas.
All humans make mistakes. Yes, that includes those who seem to have it all together flawlessly. Because giving full permission to be human means acknowledging that you will make mistakes and, when you do, being able to embrace and take full accountability for them.
Don’t stress over covering them up or trying to explain them away. Admit you’re human and will make mistakes, learn from them, and then move forward with your life.
Emotions are part of being human. They aren’t always pleasant or pretty, but they are authentically you. Give yourself full permission to experience those emotions as they arise. You don’t have to announce every emotion that comes up publicly, but you do need to acknowledge them for yourself. Feel them and move through them rather than hiding or denying them.
The day you stop holding back your emotions is the day you give yourself full permission to be human.
Your abilities, interests, desires, and goals are unique to you and you alone. You’re a one-of-a-kind creation. Instead of trying to blend in with everyone else, embrace and openly display what sets you apart from the crowd. Our differences are NOT liabilities or weaknesses; they make us who we are and are, therefore, a large part of our humanity.
How would your life change if you gave yourself full permission just to be your unique, human self? It sounds much easier than it is to practice in daily life, especially if you’re accustomed to putting on that mask of perfection and beating yourself up for moments of weakness. That said, practice makes perfect, and the more you work at it, the more naturally it will come to you.
Only you can give yourself full permission to be human, but together we can peel off the mask to appreciate all that has been hiding underneath. I’m always here to help if you need guidance in uncovering and unleashing your authentic human self, so please reach out to me now to get started.