Granting ourselves permission and acceptance.

Giving Ourselves Permission

As adults, we no longer need to get our permission slips signed by someone else.


There are seasons we trudge through where we often mistake permission for acceptance; where we misplace the authority that we ourselves have had all along. We misplace our ability to grant ourselves the permission we seek and the reprieve we desire.

There are days when I wish that I could leave myself (the inner, nagging roommate in my head) at home while I float out the door and into the day surrounded by light and wrapped in golden warmth with a glowing grin on my face. There are days when I wish I could separate the dark clouds in my mind that cover that light so that I can get out of my own way and find joy in the mundanities of a Tuesday morning. Find joy in the way the bubbles from a sponge become effortlessly suspended in air while you wash out the remainder of some cold coffee left in a forgotten mug. Find joy in the incredible murmuration of a flock of birds soaring through a bright blue sky.

These days of wishing I could leave myself at home are the days when I am fruitlessly seeking out permission from an external source to tell me that it's okay to enjoy the moment. Or to tell me that sabotaging a perfectly beautiful Tuesday is no way to live through a Tuesday at all.

"Cognitive dissonance" is a term that has been imprinted into the cemented structure of my mind as accidentally and randomly as the pawprint in between the two blocks of concrete outside on street in front of the coffee shop. Both accidental, yet both now integral to the structure itself.

"Cognitive dissonance" is a term that gives a voice -an explanation- to the discomfort that we all at some point experience. We become frustrated with ourselves when we can't seem to will our way into enjoying a moment when we know that we should be exploding with gratitude. It's a matter of holding contradictory thoughts and not understanding which is yours and which is just the plus one to your bad mood party.

Although the drive to find joy is always inevitably more appealing in any situation, there is a piece of me that becomes curious about the negative, nagging roommate in my head. I wonder why she's there, what she wants and how I can evict her with little to no rebuttal.

These are the days when we think a situation might be "too good to be true" so we build a fortress around ourselves and don't bother creating any sort of drawbridge to connect us to whatever lies on the other side of the alligator-filled moat.

I think it's perfectly human the way we try to protect the awareness within us; the way we become scared to let ourselves get too happy because as science has taught us, whatever goes up, must come down.

We look for permission to believe in a world where whatever goes up, can keep going up and can multiply and fly and soar and we could be blissfully happy.

However, we also require a dose of acceptance for when we're soaring and hit a stent of rough air. We're still up there, flying high but what's different between hitting turbulent air and hitting a roadblock is that in the air, you can still see the way ahead of you because turbulent air is not solid and can be seen through. With a roadblock, your vantage point is limited.

To live beyond roadblocks and to see beyond turbulent stretches is to give yourself permission to enjoy a moment. It's leaning into discomfort, leaning into a sense of dissonance and re-centering yourself back to where you need to be: peaceful, accepting and in control of your own permission slips.

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40 Small Things That Make College Students Happy

It doesn't take much...

1. When class is canceled.

2. When the coffee shop you stop at five minutes before your 8 a.m. has a short line.

3. Coffee, coffee, coffee.

4. Open note tests.

5. Or even better, take home tests.

6. The unofficial assigned seating process that that takes place after the first week or so of classes.

7. Thursday nights. (because in college, Thursday qualifies as the weekend.)

8. Sales.

9. Or once again, even better, free things.

10. Specifically free food.

11. Dogs.

12. Dogs on campus.

13. Tailgates and Saturday afternoon football games.

14. Finding an already completed Quizlet for your exam.

15. Having an extra 30 minutes for a nap, and if you're lucky, an hour.

16. Netflix.

17. When your roommate takes out the trash.

18. Weekends after test weeks.

19. The rare blessing of a curve on an exam.

20. Getting out of class early.

21. How in college, it is socially expectable to wear a t-shirt everyday.

22. Being able to walk from class to class or eat in the dining hall without having to see anyone you know. (and thank goodness too because you probably don't look too good.)

23. Crossing things off of your to-do list.

24. Your best-friends that you make in college.

25. A full tank of gas.

26. Seeing a new face everyday.

27. Crawling back into bed after your 8 or 9 a.m. (or after any class that ends with a.m.)

28. Care packages.

29. No cover charges.

30. When adults tell you that it is okay that you have no idea what you want to do with your life yet. (regardless of what parents or your advisor may say.)

31. Pizza.

32. Finding out you weren't the only one who did poorly on the exam.

33. Deciding not to buy the textbook, and never needing it.

34. Finding the perfect gif to express how you're feeling. (Michael Scott just get it.)

35. Weekends at home because...

36. Pets.

37. Mom's home cooked pie and Dad's steak dinners,

38. Spring Break.

39. Road trips.

40. When it finally starts to cool down outside so you can show up to class dry instead of dripping in sweat.

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Wideman

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.


I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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