As adults, self-permission might bring up shame, uncomfortableness, and a feeling of possibly “getting in trouble.”
Childhood conditioning is most prevalent between 0-7 years old.
During that time, our brain waves are slower than adults. We absorb information that sets the baseline for the beliefs of our subconscious mind.
Everything decision, belief, habit, and behavior is sourced from your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is that part of the brain we have to reprogram if we want to change.
Our lives are a reflection of our beliefs about ourselves. If we can’t ‘see’ ourselves as something (a business owner, a homeowner, a good friend), it’s unlikely we will become it. The subconscious mind is the ceiling for what you know to be true about yourself and the world.
If you want to ‘be’ someone else — and have a new experience of reality — you have to reprogram the subconscious beliefs running the show.
When we’re young, our brains are forming complicated neural pathways that shape the perception of our experiences.
If we were not given a firm foundation of self-permission, we may find ourselves struggling in later life to create the experiences we truly want.
The way we see ourselves matters. It’s the basis for the habits we form, the actions we take, the behaviors we attach to, and the beliefs we strengthen and adhere to.
What you believe matters. It’s the basis for everything in your current experience.
Why Self-Permission Feels Uncomfortable and Unsafe
The average child hears the word “no” about 40,000 times by the age of five.
How about the word “yes”? Around 5,000.
Everyone reading this heard “no” eight times more than they heard “yes” before starting first grade. Whoa.
Is it any wonder we have a problem trusting ourselves? Our training since birth is to follow and listen to someone outside of us.
As kids, we learn quickly who and what authority figures are and what we are and aren’t allowed to do. This information brands itself into our subconscious mind and stays there until we reprogram it.
Authority figures come in all shapes and sizes: familial, cultural, societal, generational, and personal.
Some of those ‘no’s’ were for our own good. A child can’t distinguish between a “no” said for their protection and a “no” because of a parent’s limitations or personal conditioning.
Most children will eventually have to exist in a society with other people. Learning what is appropriate and what isn’t starts almost immediately, killing our gut instinct and setting the stage for making ourselves small and quiet so we can blend in and be good citizens.
This doesn’t mean all conditioning is bad — it means it may not be resonant with who we want to be now.
Most of us won’t remember hearing “no” 40,000 times, but our brain does.
Our brain is built to learn, evolve, and grow through our experiences, which is called experience-dependent neuroplasticity.
What do you think happens to a child’s developing brain when they hear “no” that many times?
It changes and forms connections based on fear, lack, and stress.
Have you ever noticed how quickly children absorb and learn information? That’s because of their slower brain waves as I mentioned in the beginning.
As adults, those 40,000 “no’s” can start to compound into feelings of unworthiness, shame, mistrust of others, and a feeling of isolation. We’ve learned to hate the word “no” because of its impact on our development, imagination, and sense of self.
No wonder it’s challenging for us to use “no” when it can serve us. We have a complicated relationship with it.
Many times, “no” kept us from self-expression, self-trust, and self-exploration. Understandably, we feel a bit yucky about it.
How can we help ourselves going forward?
Can we form a better relationship with “no” and begin afresh? (Answer: of course, we can!).
How can we become our own authority figures and create the lives we desperately want?
We can work on self-permission.
Telling yourself, “yes,” is viscerally effective. Why?
Because many of us were not taught self-trust — we were taught to trust someone or something outside ourselves.
Self-permission is like kryptonite to the brain. It arouses the frontal lobe to ask new questions and seek new information, It helps to form new neural networks. The more those networks are repeated, they develop into complicated neural pathways, thus changing your subconscious mind and helping you take new actions, form new behaviors, and think new thoughts.
When we give ourselves permission to buy a new car, look for a new job, or start dating again, we change who we are on a cellular level. We think new thoughts, create new chemical signatures, and express new emotions.
I don’t know about you, but all those “no’s” had a specific impact on me: they created a belief that I needed permission from some authority figure before doing, creating, or being anything.
Maybe you feel the same.
Who is an authority figure? It can be anyone we give our power away to. Inside, we are still those innocent children. We are still seeking approval, affection, and love. And we are terrified that someone will say, “No, you are not worthy of that.”
We have to feel worthy within ourselves.
For me, an authority figure was anyone I deemed to know more than I did (even if they didn’t). It could be an editor, a teacher, a friend’s parent, a guy I liked, or even a random stranger! I was always seeking outside permission and approval, even with people I didn’t like or respect much.
Those “no’s” taught me that I wasn’t my own keeper. They taught me I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) trust my inner wisdom and gut. They taught me to shrivel, shrink and shut my mouth.
Maybe you feel the same.
Self-permission has to be one of the most powerful forces there is. To allow yourself all you desire and not apologize for it? That’s someone I want to be, emulate, and grow into.
10 Effective Affirmations for Self-Permission
Try these affirmations if you’re feeling shame, guilt, or fear around self-permission.
Remember, you must include an emotional charge with affirmations. Allow the words to emotionally affect your body so you memorize this new feeling in your cells. When you say each phrase, take a moment and let the new belief sink in. Relish in the new version of you.
It is safe to trust my intuition.
Self-permission makes me feel confident.
I’m allowed to do, be, and have anything I desire.
My soul knows the way in all situations.
My intuition shows me the path of least resistance to what I want.
I am a powerful creator when I give myself permission.
I authentically choose what makes me feel good.
When I give myself permission, I become a powerful attractor.
I am my own authority figure.
I am allowed to take up space.