The title of this post is a question I want you to ask yourself. Your response can be positive, like “I am allowing myself to feel joy” or “I am allowing myself to feel the wind”. Your response can also bring enlightenment such as “I am allowing myself to be in debt” or “I am allowing myself to be hurt”.

There are times we do not look at the situations we are in as something we are allowing ourselves to be in, yet we are doing it to ourselves. Even if it is someone doing whatever we don’t like to us because we are allowing them to mistreat us, use us, or input any other action verb you are allowing to be done to you.

Mirriam-Webster defines allow as: permit, fail to restrain or prevent, admit, concede. So when a wrong or a right is done to us, it is something we have allowed. Yes, I agree with you that people may have cheated on you, may have done you wrong, may have physically hurt you and the list goes on and on. All of that is accurate, they [insert name] did [insert action] to you. Did they do this to you more than once? If more than once, you are allowing them to continue to repeat the action you are not fond of to you. This definition helps us to understand that we are not the victim of the circumstances taking place around us, but that we can take control and guide ourselves where we want to be.

Review your life and ask yourself the question “What are you allowing?”. Write out what comes to mind, all the good and all the not so good. Go back to your list as each day goes by and new ideas of what you’re allowing comes to mind. Don’t hide from yourself the truth. Be transparent and honest. No one has to know what you determine about yourself. It is your secret and your roadmap at the same time.

The image for this post is a cracked open door. As it pertains to our lives we are in control of opening the door and allowing things into our minds, heart, spirit, and life. I sometimes say that I don’t want to open the door to certain things because I don’t want to deal with what may come. I may not be strong enough to handle the unintended consequences of opening a door that can majestically make itself appear appealing. I am choosing to not allow [insert whatever you want] in my orbit. I must be strong, or at least pretend to be strong, to get myself past allowing negativity into my life, either from people or from my own thoughtless actions.

I take full responsibility for me and cannot hold another accountable. I must protect myself, my family, and anything else I feel I am responsible for and not allow just anyone or anything to come near and essentially begin to tear me down. Again, back to what are we allowing, such a concept can be applied across the board in every aspect of our lives.

Pay attention to what has upset you in your life. How often are you allowing this unspoken thing to continue to upset you? Why are you allowing it to upset you? When are you going to make a change and stop allowing it to upset you?

Ask yourself the aforementioned questions for any area you want to change. Key word is want; do you want it to change or are you okay allowing it to be present with you. Determine which areas of your life you want the door open because you want to allow that or which doors you want to close because you no longer want to allow that.

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Dr. Chemika Burkhalter, LCSW, MCLC

Dr. B is a licensed clinical therapist and a master certified life coach with a client-centered emphasis and a love for helping people navigate their way to the “aha” moment.