I get asked frequently, "Is it ok to feel this way? Is it ok for me to think this?"
The questions are often asked with tentativeness, as if they are expecting to hear, "No. It's not ok. You are bad. I think you better leave as quickly as possible."
They're looking for affirmation, and I do offer it. However, I don't want to reinforce the need to seek permission for their thoughts and feelings to exist, to own them.
If people are asking for permission, it's pretty common that they are stuck in a place they don't want to be. There's often a secondary question that's hidden.
It's a question of validity.
"Do my thoughts and feeling count? Do they have significance? Do they matter?" The real doubt being communicated, "Do I matter?"
My answer is always the same.
You matter. Regardless of what's been said or done to you, you matter. Regardless of what you've said or done to others, you matter.
It's often the question behind the question.