Why Are We Asking For Permission To Be Human?

When did this phrase become trendy to say? Permission to be human.

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I’m so confused when people say this because if we need permission to be human, what are we being the rest of the time? And if we feel as if we aren’t able to be human, who is the one forcing us to do otherwise? I understand that the concept means, permission to fail, permission to make mistakes, permission to be myself. But when did we feel the need to ask permission for any of these things?

I find it fascinating that you now have companies that claim that they give you the opportunity to be more human, to be more of yourself. The WeWorks of the world, who claim they understand how to truly bring people together to create an impact on this world. The claim to espouse the values of being human. Then they bill us a monthly fee to be a part of this community. They charge us to be human. How did we come to this?

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Language is important and when we say permission to be human, we are subconsciously saying that the rest of the time, we are not allowed to be. A few years ago, fail videos became quite popular on YouTube. They were compilation videos showing all the ways in which people fail. It always followed with the #FAIL. It carried over into language where people would call out “Fail” as soon as someone made a mistake. Through this, we were unconsciously policing each other to be perfect. We bought into the propaganda that we needed to be great all the time and anything less is horrible. No wonder we are so miserable if that is the perfect world that we need to live in.

That world of perfection is boring. You aren’t allowed to be you in that setting, and being you is what makes living exciting.

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The good news is that we have a choice going forward. We can choose to continue to hide our faults, our mistakes, our “fails,” and our idiosyncrasies that also make us who we are, or we can simply not buy into the perfection, BS culture anymore. How do we do that?

#1. Stop asking for permission to be human.

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If you need to say something to replace it, say, I’m human. When you make a mistake, own it. If you need to apologize for the action, do it without apologize for existing. No need to provide disclaimers like I’m a klutz, I’m stupid, or some other self-inflicted insult that justifies your behavior. You don’t need to do that. No one is asking for this.

#2. Remind others whenever they make a mistake that it is okay.

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Empathize and tell them that you have been there yourself. Remind them that they are human and that they don’t need to be perfect. Call out the perfection police. They typically are the ones that are pointing out other people’s failures or mistakes. If someone feels bad for something they did, they make them feel even worse. Call them out. Not in adversarial way, but simply pointing out that we are human and that each of us have been there.

Well, we have a choice to change this.

#3. Challenge the notion of a simplistic world where what you do is either right or wrong.

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Embrace complexity. Accept that it can be “Both And…” Something can be right for you and wrong for someone else. So, if someone tells you what you are doing is wrong, that is simply their perspective. It’s not to say that there isn’t actually right and wrong, but listening to someone’s else moral compass instead of deciding on your own is dangerous.

We spend so much time trying to persuade ourselves that what other people want for us is what we want, instead of simply spending the time to figure out what we want.

We live in a culture that is all about telling us what is right and what is wrong. We are so worried about being wrong, that we don’t have time to figure out what actually feels right for us. The world is portrayed as a black and white, myopic world, but the complexity and nuanced world is where you don’t need to ask for permission. It’s your life and you should live it however you’d like to. Anyway that tells you otherwise has their own demons they are avoiding facing and believing if they can persuade you to do what they think it is right, it’ll help them.

It’s now considered revolutionary to simply listen to your own voice and stop asking for permission.

So Simply Choose To…

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