With Your Permission

Monday August 31, 2020

[To watch a video of this blog please click here: https://youtu.be/nfkeZzXBlOc and for an audio version please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/with-your-permission-the-monday-mindset-podcast]
Yesterday, would have been my 38th wedding anniversary. The day passed without drama… or regret. We were married for 11 years, with many happy moments. Nevertheless, I could never escape from a creeping sense of disapproval. I was never good enough.
Whilst my former spouse rarely made this explicit, her father showed no such self-control! Between them, they made me feel unworthy, living life under a cloud of criticism. Except they didn’t make me feel unworthy. They couldn’t. They didn’t have it in them.
The issue was in me.
In technical support circles, we use the initialism: PICNIC. It stands for, “Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.” For today’s blog, I’d like to adapt that to: “Problem In Consciousness, Not In Circumstances.” (Or, for this specific scenario, “Problem In Consciousness, Not In Criticism.”)
This is a life-changing switch of thinking.
This paradigm shift is summarised eloquently in a saying attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
The neurological truth is far more likely to be that no one can ‘make’ you feel anything. Like a conversation, or a dance, it takes more than one party! But if you give your consent, there are plenty of people who can feed an ever-increasing sense of inferiority. After all, the brain looks and listens for evidence to confirm the current belief system your mental software is running.
The fact was I had a very poor opinion of myself that my former father-in-law was in complete agreement with, and which my former-wife grew to agree with! PICNIC!
Here’s the really scary (or exciting) part – if I don’t change my opinion of myself, I am destined to play out the same sad game in other relationships. It does not end well!
Let’s play a new game.
In the new game, you and I will have a much more positive opinion of ourselves. Let’s drop mental concepts like ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ – and even ‘good’ and ‘bad’. I know from seemingly endless examination of my heart that my intentions, 99% of the time, are kind. That’s my preferred state of being: kind, compassionate, generous. Whilst there is a stack of evidence to suggest I have capabilities to be unkind, uncaring, and stingy, these never feel natural. I am reminded of the (probably apocryphal) claim that Edison tried and failed to create the lightbulb 1000 times. My research suggests Edison and his team explored over 3000 different theories of how to create incandescent light, and we know that Edison tried over 6000 tests of various materials to act as the filament!
Kindness, compassion, and generosity are my electric lightbulb. On the journey to the light, I have failed thousands of times, sometimes in a single day! But the goal, the intention remains. I now no longer give anyone permission to ‘make’ me feel inferior. I know that they can’t ‘make’ me do anything. I am grateful for all those who clearly intend to ‘make’ me feel loved or appreciated, but I know that the final signing of the permissive agreement lies within me… 
…the monsters under your bed, are far more likely to be in your head. Change what’s in your head, and the monsters will vanish!
What permissions have you given to others that you’d like to revoke this week? What permissions would you like to grant to others – asking for what you really want?

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