Stop Doing This


It was Women’s Day on the 8th of March. I counted my blessings. I felt emotional. Thank you God for my home based on trust, respect and communication, love, affection and truth. Both women and men in my family are treated equally. Women are adored, valued and supported in their life choices. My mother speaks her mind freely and has always modelled courage, gutsiness and blunt truth. And as I’ve basked in that ambience, where women are allowed to just be(come), It’s agonising for me to see other women (and men) struggle for their basic rights as human beings.

Today I explore Permission.

Before I do, I want to share with you a little story as an opening act.

At the beginning of the year, I went for a photo shoot with my friend and star photographer Carine Badr. We chose a stunning location towards the North of Lebanon in the Port of Jbeil- Byblos. I insisted to take a photo by the sea- a particular spot that looks strangely like the moon. We got down the jetty, walked that stretch, avoiding the slippery semi-moist algae, sharp stones and broken glass scattered here and there.

We were feeling our way through to get to the right spot. We found it. Settled down. Soaked in the energy of the winter breeze.
A few moments later, from a distance, I could hear a woman saying: “if they can go there, so can we”.
And another one replied “but the coast guard is here.. i don’t think we can go down there.”
And a third one assumed: “They probably have a special permission.. Look, they’ve got a professional camera. They’re reporters maybe?.”
All three were wearing very long dresses and platform shoes which made it quite difficult for them to jump down and walk the stretch to where we were- But they did.

I turned to Carine and remarked: ”they completely ignored the military officer standing at the entrance. They disregarded that they don’t have the right outfit to move around freely. They gave themselves permission to get to where we are just because we had ‘done it’. So that means they can too.”

And so that stuck in my head. Even if our act seems meaningless and un-heroic, we blaze a path for ourselves and others when we dare to go. We dare to be. We dare to speak.
At this very moment, It made me think that as the road had been blazed FOR ME by the many men and women in my life who persisted for their rights and dared to go. It also becomes an invitation to surpass. A constant invitation to go beyond. To push further and continue to blaze ‘the path’.

So to you who want to make this year a transformational one. A year that’ll make you truer to who you are- here’s what I have to say:

Stop doing this:

Stop waiting for permission. Like someone has to give you that validation. Stop waiting for that permission to be given to you. The permission to express yourself in the way that best represents you. To make your choices. To lead an unconventional life. To start a business.
To wear that outfit. To love someone.
To end an experience and to start another.
To take a leap of faith, to create and to travel, to demand, to explore, and to trespass.

No permission needed.
Permission granted- for life!

Stop doing this:

Stop waiting to feel confident. To feel like you don’t have everything it takes to go for what you want. Confident to ask a date out, to quit that job, start that business or expand your work. Confident to speak a truth, ask for a raise and share your opinion.

Stop waiting for that illusionary moment of being confident. Confidence will never come.
We build the confidence muscles by putting ourselves out there, by actively learning and growing. It’s always a work in progress- to All of us.

Stop doing this:

Stop waiting for the right time. And it often comes masked as these thoughts:
“I’m too young. too old. too slim. too fat. too pretty. too ordinary. too inexperienced. too overqualified. too weird. too arrogant. too subdued. too crazy. too dull. too shy. too wise. too slow. too undecided. too dependant. too afraid.”

You’ll never feel ready. We’re never really ready.
It’ll never be the right time.
In fact, NOW is the best time there is.
The right and the only time.

Stop waiting. Period.

[catching my breath]

NOW BACK TO YOU! I know you have your own ‘Stop Doing This’ ideas. Write them down somewhere in your beautiful little notebook to remind yourself. It’s a commitment.
You’ve got to let that go to grow. Seriously.

It’s time to allow yourself to be present and available to answer your yearning and your burning desire to be fully You.

I count on you.

N.B. I spent some time reflecting on some of my personal ‘Stop doing this’ that I decide to let go off. Here they are:

:: Stop chasing perfect.

:: Stop doing it right. There is no right way. There’s the way that is right for you.

:: Remember to stop doing anything that doesn’t serve you in any way, shape or form.

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