I once overheard a respected colleague refer to someone as having “high permission levels”. While I never directly sought a definition for that term, I was delighted by the imagery it evoked and have continued to develop my own theories about the meaning and application of this concept. Let’s begin with a definition: Permission levels can be likened to an internal barometer measuring how much bliss, well-being, success, and love we allow ourselves. In other words, a person with high permission levels is one who is generally having a positive life experience. An individual with relatively low permission levels would feel an overall sense of dissatisfaction. They can be likened to an internal and unconscious control mechanism that modulates the enjoyment that we permit ourselves to experience.
Permission levels are directly related to the amount of self-esteem and self-love that we have developed. They are ultimately the results of the programming that we have received in our childhood. Repetitive and traumatic events occurring in the significant years between birth and twelve years old form subjective impressions and perceptions of reality that follow us into adulthood. Core beliefs about ourselves, life, and the world that are fear-based, tend to inhibit our capacity to embrace freedom, responsibility and joy.
Consider the various aspects of your life. Do you feel fulfilled in the area of career? Have you achieved a level of satisfaction in your relationships, romantic and otherwise, in that you feel loved and appreciated? How is your health, or your levels of energy and well-being? Have you been able to provide yourself with certain luxuries of life that you long for, such as travel or free time?
Dissatisfaction with our present circumstances and a sense of frustration at not being able to achieve our desires are an immediate red flag that your low permission levels have been obstacles to achieving your desires. Your permission levels can be high in some areas and lower in others. The good news is that they can all be raised!
This is a direct correlation between permission levels and self-nurturing – our ability to be kind to ourselves. According to Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul, “When you can do kindly things to yourself then you know what it is to be able to love yourself.” Self-nurturing, or what Sarah Ban Breathnach, creator of the Simple Abundance path calls “the hardest thing you’ll ever do” demands that we regularly give ourselves permission to take time off, to indulge in simple pleasures, and to provide what is necessary to feed our heart and soul as well as our bodies. I know a few hard-working and dedicated women who can never allow themselves time off and have to wind up with a flu or sheer exhaustion as a way of taking a break. A good indicator of where your permission levels are in relation to self-nurturing and well-being is the degree of anxiety or guilt you experience when you are not being productive, or just spending a day in bed or other forms of indulgence. As Breathnach sums it up, “Perhaps we are all Scrooges when it comes to self-nurturing, because if we were kind to ourselves, our creativity might begin to blossom like a plant moving toward the light.”
While it is certainly possible to raise our permission levels (see the exercise below) I feel that it’s important to point out that higher permission levels require higher levels of responsibility. For instance, raising your permission levels for health and well-being means that you have to come to terms with what is non-negotiable for maintaining a vigorous body. Allowing for more satisfactory relationships means that you have to acknowledge that it is your responsibility to commit to better communication skills.
First, we’ll start with a technique for measuring the degree of your overall permission levels. Then, I’ll share a simple exercise for raising them through intention; however, I recommend that you start with an increase of 5-20 degrees. Naturally it would be ideal to have your permission levels at 100%, but that doesn’t mean that you are ready for that dramatic of a change in your life, or that you are currently equipped to handle the heightened responsibility. Another point that I feel compelled to make is that while some of this work can be done on your own, you may want to consider working with a professional schooled in subconscious dynamics and hypnotherapy in order to discover some of the core programming beliefs that have been limiting you.
Just have fun with this and use your imagination. Not all of us are visually-oriented (as I point out in my book Your Mind: The Owner’s Manual) but you can pretend, imagine, or invent as you go along.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing any distractions, preoccupations, discomfort or worries to disappear. Feel your mind and body relax more with every breath. Imagine that on the wall in front of you is a gigantic thermometer with the number 100 at the top and going down in increments of 10 all the way to 0. Make this image very real to you. Now, in your imagination, look away from the thermometer. Ask internally, “What is my current permission level?” Remember, this is not what you would like it to be or hope to achieve, but honoring where you actually are at this moment. Now count mentally to three and look back at the thermometer. A pink mercury line will have risen to a certain number. Look closely and identify that number. How do you feel about it?
Would you like to raise that number? If so, take a deep breath and as you exhale allow the pink mercury to rise 5 degrees. Do you feel good about this level? Are you open to all of the gifts and blessings of this level? Are you willing to accept the responsibility that accompanies this raise? Allow this increase to imprint on a cellular level, throughout all the aspects of your being (You may repeat this until you have achieved the level in which you would like to remain for the time being).
I wish you a pleasant journey as you discover the wonders of a lifestyle with higher permission level. Blessings.