This article is written in partnership with Regina Louise—she’s dedicated to helping us bootstrap our way to unconditional self-love, and we’re honored to work with her. ~ed.
“Anything you need, Queen.”
I felt the words as they burnt a blush across my cheeks and then burrowed within me, becoming icy in repulsion.
I paused, right where I was, to process.
I’d just read about this in Regina Louise’s book, Permission Granted: Kickass Strategies to Bootstrap your Way to Unconditional Self-Love, and here I was getting this email from Regina herself, honoring my process, permitting me to take what I needed—and doing that thing that I just can’t ever seem to bring myself to do: she nodded to my bigness, my taking up space.
To call myself a queen has always seemed obnoxious. When others own their majesty, I love it. I get jazzed up that someone has the confidence to forever wear an invisible yet palpable crown.
But when I imagine myself walking around wearing that crown? It’s ridiculous. Take that off and stop pretending. Get back down there with the normal folk and get to f*cking work. Sheezus. Who do you think you are?
I should have known that I was in for some serious ish when diving into Regina’s pages.
I’ve been through some things that folks might call trauma. I’ve dealt with abandonment, witnessed substance abuse and dependency from a young age, survived sexual “stuff,” and endured the shame of poverty.
Sometimes I look at these things and think, “I’m doing pretty damn good!” Other times, I feel flat-out victimized and blame all those things for an inability to rise up in life, be happy, confident, and thrive.
Then I read a story like Regina’s. A story worthy of the Lifetime movie based on her life having survived 30 foster home placements, a year in a level-fourteen residential treatment center while being administered antipsychotic drugs, and having been thrown into solitary confinement as a child.
I look at the success she’s carved out for herself as an author, child advocate, coach, and motivational speaker touring the globe and offering up spunk and specific actions to help us redefine the ways we choose to show up and be in our everyday lives.
I look at how she did all that and—despite the seemingly insurmountable load of trauma she endured—how more than okay she grew herself to be, and I think:
If she can do it, anyone can.
But where do we start when we feel beaten down so low? When we feel we’re more a peasant in life, destined to cinders on our cheeks than a queen or king emanating all the mightiness that is the fullest, unapologetic manifestation of our authentic selves?
Start with these words: Permission Granted.
Grant yourself permission for, well, anything you need, Queen.
Permission Granted is oozing with examples of how to overcome adversity that are followed up with invitations to zoom into the teaching’s most important asks, takeaways to ponder as we break from the pages and absorb their wisdom, and questions to journal about when things tap on our triggers.
The first requirements Regina insists we need, though—even before introducing us to her first kickass strategy—is to…
Put away the Microshaming.
Microshaming: those “harmless” phrases you tell yourself when you’re frustrated. The self-deprecating “jokes” you make with others in those moments your brain labels as “failures.” The “I suck at _____,” or “I’m damaged goods,” or “I’m not brave enough to…” thinking.
Reframe them as Lovefirmations.
We’ve all heard that, “You have to love yourself first…” saying. Well, that’s what we begin to do with what are called, in Permission Granted, lovefirmations (little affirmations of self-love).
This is one of the more potent and portable practices that I’ve taken with me since reading Permission Granted. But I gotta confess: I’m embarrassingly blind to my own microshaming, I do it so often. So transforming that thinking into lovefirmations at first had me in a deep freeze.
Not to worry.
Here are some questions to help guide your microshaming exploration and lovefirmation crafting process:
>> How often have you given everything you have to another person: lover, family member, or friend?
>> Who have you given chance after chance to show you some form of reciprocity?
>> What will it take for you to be for yourself the kind of person you’ve been for others?
That last one’s what really got me goin’. It led me to my current favorite lovefirmation: I am worthy of self-prioritization.
Now, time to level up.
>> Write yourself a permission slip & treat yourself to these 14 seriously kickass self-love strategies.
Kick-Ass Strategy #1: Bring Your Own Permission
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have a life coach in your bag to refer to everywhere you went, this book might give you a pretty good idea. Its pages hold 14 strategies to bootstrap ourselves into next-level self-love.
As a part of her first kick*ss strategy, Regina begins to explore the importance of making PACTs with ourselves.
The components of making a PACT
Through these four actions combined, we rise above and take up the fullness of ourselves.
We check in with, evaluate, and ensure our presence within a moment or project, looking at how we are showing up and how we’d like to.
We accept the reality of where we are—the good and the bad and the in between. We meet ourselves where we are and love ourselves anyway.
We move into conjuring up the bravery to be the way we’d like to be or to take the necessary actions to stop being the ways or in the situations that we find no longer serve us.
We decide to place within ourselves unwavering trust that this path—this right action—will be of benefit to our reality and lead us to a truer sense of self-love, authenticity, self-ownership and self-respect.
If that sounds like a lot to you, you’re not alone. I re-read this section three times. How difficult it can be to do the things that in an ideal world would be so simple. That last one, in particular—trust—can be a big one.
Here are a few questions offered for pondering in Permission Granted.
>> What might it take for you to consider stepping into your presence, acceptance, compassion, and trust as a way forward?
>> In what ways do you trust yourself?
>> What does trust mean to you?
>> What interferes with your ability to trust yourself? What happens instead? How would you like to be different in this area?
>> What is your working definition of permission?
>> Why do you think we give ourselves away?
>> When have you given yourself away, believing you’d receive something better in return?
>> What are you really hoping to get from a one-sided relationship?
>> How do these patterns of self-abnegation show up in your life?
And then, for the pièce de résistance…
Write a Declaration of Permission.
Let me tell you, this one’s a killer practice that just might have you placing your crown on your head or, at the very least, picking out your tiara and placing it on layaway.
And, damn! Talk about being big instead of small, and about taking up space?
In 28 words and a two-sentence invitation, this woman’s energy and power traveled all the way from California, across the Pacific Ocean to the Big Island of Hawai’i to come right through the freaking computer screen and sit. me. down:
Some questions she poses to help us get on our journey are:
>> What is it within you that wants a certain type of justice established?
>> How do you see yourself becoming what you want?
>> How would you use your permission to promote your well-being, your dreams and desires?
>> What forgotten desire is beseeching you to set it free?
>> What needs your blessing in order to blossom?
>> What does your permission legacy look like?
>> From whom or what do you need to declare freedom?
>> What will you allow to fall away in order for you to become your own permission?
I wrote my Declaration of Permission by a white Christmas light glow while listening to the ocean waves lapping on the black lava rock shore just down from my lanai. Addressing each question, I let my mind flow in imagination. I let myself imagine I wasn’t contained by sociological—erm—“logic” that tells me I’m not supposed to make it more than a hierarchical rung or two above that of my parents, and I just let. that. sh*t. go.
By the time I stood up from the table, I felt like my whole being had expanded and kissed the water a couple hundred feet outside of my body.
I felt empowered and less ashamed of my desire to own a term like “Queen.”
I felt called to accept my life coach’s offer to consider that I might be divine. So, I wrote it on a sticky note in words I could feel; words that helped me to see a seedling within myself ready to stretch and grow toward the sky—one that I was sure I could water and nourish.
I wrote, “I am feminine divinity.”
And that’s when I discovered I don’t have a crown; I have a halo.
>> Reframe your shame and claim your crown with every page of Permission Granted. Get your copy now.
“We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love