Are you old enough to remember this game?
One kid stands away from the group with their back to their friends and becomes the Mother or Father (Parent in Charge).
The others ask questions like “Mother May I take 5 giant steps forward?” Or “Father, may I run for 2 seconds?”
To which the PIC either says “yes you may” or “no you may not, you may take 2 giant steps backward”.
The goal is to get to the Parent as quickly as possible so as to become the PIC.
One thing about this game that I find interesting is how much each of the kids playing wants to be the Parent in Charge.
When we are kids we think that other people, like our parents, teachers, older siblings, principals, older kids on the bus, bus drivers, and what seems like anyone else who thinks they are the “boss” of us, have The Power.
Games like “Mother May I?” gave us moments to practice having The Power over our friends and neighbors and cousins.
What happens when we grow up though?
Who is in charge then?
For some of us it sure does seem like we can spin our wheels looking for someone (besides ourselves) to give us permission to do what we want to do.
Now some of us don’t seem to have any trouble being like the Mother in “Mother May I?”! We are great at bossing around our kids, husbands, and any one else who may (or may not) be looking for some good bossing around 😜
However, we are also looking for a Boss. We have an idea and we immediately look for someone, whether it be a friend, family member, or coworker and we ask them to validate (or give permission for) our idea.
I notice other therapists all the time who get caught up in asking other therapists (myself included) whether they "can" do this or “should” they do that!
Please don’t “should” on yourself, it’s rather messy 😜
My answer when I get questions like “How do you keep it “clean" with insurance companies?” is “Before I answer your question, please keep in mind that I am a Dirty Girl” 😳😬😂
I notice people all of the time who do not trust themselves to make decisions and who seem to constantly be seeking permission from others. Seeing others as having more power or more knowledge or more skills or more _______ (fill in the blank with your insecurity of choice).
Here is what I think is really going on. Anxiety loves an opportunity to be the one in charge.
It’s answer to “Mother May I?” is always “NO”!
So when Anxiety shows up as VOD (remember a few weeks ago when we talked about your Voice of Doubt) or any other form it likes to take (like Imposter or being Sensitive) it convinces you that you are Incompetent, that you must do more to prove yourself worthy, and that your ideas are either dumb or that you must have more training in order to be even considered to know what you are talking about 🙄
Most importantly it convinces you that you don’t have The Power and so you have to listen to Anxiety and shut it down or you have to find someone else with more Power than your Anxiety to reassure you that you have permission to move forward.
Are you starting to see how Fucked Up this way of thinking can be?
OK, maybe "Fucked Up” is a bit harsh here AND it got your attention, didn’t it?
Bottom line , YOU ARE THE BOSS OF YOU!
Not your mother or father or principal or boss or kids or best friend or bitchy neighbor or husband or person in the check out line at the grocery store or Me or Anxiety 😳
YOU ARE YOUR OWN BOSS for most of the decisions that are made every day.
Let that sink in for a moment….
Scary ain’t it? 😬
Now don’t go freakin’ out on me here!
I’m not suggesting that you not have a friend, mentor, or even a coach to support you in making big decisions.
I’m not saying that you are no longer allowed to ask your spouse or parents or friends or the person in the check out line at the grocery store (although I would stay away from the bitchy neighbor) for their OPINION.
I AM saying that YOUR OPINION is the one that matters the most and that instead of coming from a “one down” position (assuming that the other person is the one with the power) which leads to “asking permission”, that you approach the other person as an equal and use the information that they share as just data in your research.
This includes your Anxiety.
It is not in charge.
Your Anxiety has an opinion and does sometimes give you signals (rather than just shitty static noise) that may be helpful data in your research.
You are the one in charge and you get to decide!
Do you see how changing the way you think about who has the Power can be so powerful in and of itself?
So, I want to know who you give your power over to AND your plan for taking it back!
Hit reply and tell me who you play Mother May I? with! 😍
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor