If there has been one recurring theme emerging over the last few years for me, it has been the power of giving 'permission'... to adults!
This came into sharp focus last year when "Lady Penelope" (my pet name for the lovely lady who keeps me grounded) paid me the best compliment in my life. She said, "You bring out the 'Me' in me!"
It took me a few nano-seconds to realise what she was saying. She was saying that something I was doing was giving her permission to be herself.
Lest it sound like I'm bragging, let me hasten to add that I wasn't aware of doing anything. So, sensing something exciting, I thought to myself, "this requires some thought!"
Computer says, "No!"
I knew the cause of the shift in Lady Penelope. Her marriage had been one which followed a pattern established early on in life where every time she began to shine, an aunt, a friend, or even her husband 'put her in her place'. Shining was 'boasting'. Boasting was 'bad'.
I was something else! Every time I saw a spark of personality or ingenuity, a glinting ember of creativity or of 'naughtiness' - I would gently blow on it. I gave her permission to play - to be - to experiment - and to risk failure. Her programming said, "No!" but this new guy said, "Yes!"
Since this wonderful moment, I've been watching people's behaviour and language. There is a lot of 'No' in our culture. I remember studying Accelerated Learning for my book on Accelerated Training. Colin Rose shared some research on how many 'No' imperatives the average child has in a day compared to a positive affirmation. Please understand that all the 'No' messages had a positive intent. I'll have to dig out the study again but it was something like 642 'No' moments to 17 'Yes' encouragements.
No wonder we are positively bankrupt!
If the average child, after 10 years of conscious education, ends up with an emotional bank account with 2,343,300 negative deposits and 62,050 positive inputs, it's not surprising we're all not feeling brave enough to be ourselves.
So you and I need to commit to 'giving permission'.
And this will be 'against nature' (small 'n' in the sense of really being 'against nurture') - given that we, ourselves, have been programmed to mimic all these nay-sayers.
Saying 'No' is what psychologists call an 'Empathy Blocker'. I see these killers of liberty on a daily basis - a rolling of the eyes, a 'tsk', a negative statement, a put-down.
Let's leave the putting-down to the vet as an act of mercy.
You and I can be part of the Positive Revolution - or, as I prefer, the Possibility Revolution.
Your mission, should you choose to accept such a bold challenge, is to bring out the 'Me' in others - to give them permission to be themselves - turned up to 11!
A Moodscope member.