Moodscope's blog



To Permit or To Forbid - that's a BIG question! Monday October 10, 2016

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.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Permalink  |  Blog Home


Duma Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 1:10am

Hi Lex.

As I child, it was drummed into me, that I was smart enough and 'enough' enough, to do anything I wanted to do, be anything I wanted to be.

I took my parents at their word.

I did EXACTLY what I wanted with my life...

...I like to think that it turned out for the best.

They described me as their 'Magnum Opus'. No pressure...

...mad (social) scientists, the pair of them.

Luckily, the cat was sweet and nurturing.

Because they 'built their monster', to go 'fix everything' that annoyed them.

A thanks would be nice, but oh! No chance!

Duma, out.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 5:48am

"Thanks" Duma - from one who is getting to know you better...

Duma Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 3:19pm

Thanks Lex.

Eva Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 7:10am

I love giving people permission to become who they want to be, I suggested that a friend work with animals she is now an animal rights campaigner and a vetinary nurse, another friend didn't want to return to her previous profession after having her kids due to inflexibility in working hours. She is very creative and I suggested that maybe she could develop that, which she has very successfully. I know that I may not have been the motivating factor, but maybe I planted, or encouraged a seed or seedling. It makes me happy.

Ratg and fiona's I left replies to yesterday's blog.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 1:56pm

Hi Eva - a friend I had breakfast with today may have used the perfect description for your skills, "a catalytic shift"! Perhaps that's part of your mission in life - to act as that catalyst - to plant the seed - to nurture - and to see shift. What a wonderful gift to others. I hope someone plays the same role for you. Lx

Sally Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 7:16am

Hi Lex,
What a super piece of writing. It really resonates with me. Consciously or unconsciously, we are constantly putting the dampers on people's wishes, hopes and intents....sometimes they defy us ( go ahead and do it anyway) but a lot of the time, it dampens their spirit ( perhaps that was a flight of fancy, too rash).
I came from a background where there could only be one winner , my father . He dominated and dictated, poopoohed and ridiculed my mother and us children. Frankly, it's a wonder we ever went on to make ANYTHING of ourselves! I have certainly had to reinvent myself over the years. Fortunately, I too have a facilitator, a marvellously positive and you-can-do-it other half, who has never lost faith in me even though the voices from the past deafened us at times. You, Lex, sound exactly right for Lady Penelope , as you call her. All I can say is LUCKY HER! Thanks for a super positive start to the morning/ week.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 1:58pm

Hi Sally, thank you for your kind words - I am encouraged. And I'm SO glad you have your own knight in shining armour who believes in you. Here's to Princesses like you and Princes and to slaying dragons (the bad kind - some are rather nice!) Lx

LP Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 7:40am

Morning Lex,
I also had to learn to let my light shine after alot of put downs. The first step was the light bulb moment as a teen when I thought "I'm not a BAD person." I have had to learn to accept compliments and not worry about negatives like "boasting" if I feel proud of something. I'll take any good feelings that are going! :)
Your blog reminded me about the quote by Marianne Williamson about who are we not to shine. It's wonderfully uplifting as is your Monday morning blog! Thanks Lex!
Sending warm wishes to all. LP xx

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 1:59pm

Oh I love that quote, LP. Thank you for your lovely words too. Lx

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 1:59pm

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

LP Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 8:40pm

It moves me every time I read it. Thanks for posting it for everyone.xx

Orangeblossom Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 8:09am

Thanks Lex for the great start to the week. Made me feel great today, extremely positive. All the best

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:00pm

Keep blooming, lovely, Orangeblossom, keep blooming! Radiantly yours, Lx

the room above the garage Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 8:41am

This is a work in progress for me as I'm still working out how to give myself permission to be me. And it's interesting to read that I've written that. Timely post after a weekend where my youngest daughter was badly treated by 2 'friends' (4th weekend in a row) and I wish to say no to the planned sleepover this weekend (I not only detest this trend but it mixes badly with my health) I need to let her be herself even though I've been so annoyed I've told her what I think of them! It's not my business, I should hear but allow her to 'be me'. Thank you Lex, much for me to ponder. Love ratg x.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:02pm

Ah, Parenting... you have my heartfelt empathy, dearest Ratg... and I believe you have the wisdom to prevail with the right choices... now you need the energy. I wonder what would 'give you strength'? Lx

the room above the garage Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 9:01pm

Well...running around like a loony burned out some stresses and bed for a very early, much needed sleep. I believe tomorrow I may be brand new with pants on top of tights :-)

Lex Tue, Oct 11th 2016 @ 8:04am

Send photos, please...

the room above the garage Tue, Oct 11th 2016 @ 9:33pm

I'm sending the emoticon with tears running out of eyes in laughter :-)

David Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 8:58am

A Big Question to answer with BI-Polar at 67, I ask myself every day, thank you. I do not always get it right.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:02pm

I always see myself as a "work in progress", David, so I understand... Lx

Andrew Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 9:51am

Hi Lex - your post this morning strikes many chords. My overriding emotion is one of guilt - as for many years I think (well, OK, I now know) I was that 'tsk tsking' frowning, negative energy in my marriage - not all the time, but enough to douse many a flame. And it worked both ways - many embers of enthusiasm from me were doused with a bucket of 'what's the point?' - no wonder we grew apart.
Self learning and a degree of self-knowledge have taught me to bring out the 'me' in others, and allow the 'me' in me to be brought out makes for a far more positive life. And as we know, positivity is the enemy of here goes! *turns volume up to 11!!

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:03pm

Hi Andrew, now I can hear you! Keep it up at 11!! Lx

Susannah Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 10:31am

I love this blog, Lex. Thank you.
I will try to recognize opportunities to encourage others, especially when someone else is trying to put them down.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:04pm

I'm smiling, Susannah, seeing you, in my mind's eye, fanning the flames that others are seeking to quench. Yay! Lx

Lou Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 12:28pm

What an excellent blog, Lex! I am learning a lot about giving myself permission and learning not to listen to all those negative "no" tapes I seem to have taken in throughout my life. Exciting, but slightly scary, times! Having more collaborative people around you who help bring out this inner me-ness definitely helps, so please keep doing it for us moodscopers & your friend!

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:05pm

Hi Lou... it's a great bunch of people here. I think we can continue to collaborate in the business of building confidence together! Have a GREAT day! Lx

Mary Wednesday Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 12:54pm

Oh yes. Currently I am trying to let my youngest daughter be herself. Realising that she is so much like me at the same age. Others made me come out of my shell and to engage more with the world. I don't know if this was altogether positive in the end.... I still wonder why on earth I became a chartered accountant when a journalist would have been so much more playing to my skills..... So - I should just let her be her and accept that she is inward focussed and not outward.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:06pm

Hi Mary, has she done her MBTI? I shared this link to this free test a couple of days ago, and the response and dialogue has been amazing. I know you can work magic... Lx

the room above the garage Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 9:19pm

Fascinated by 16personalities..!

Lex Tue, Oct 11th 2016 @ 8:05am

It's turning out to be quite a trend, dear Super Ratg!

the room above the garage Tue, Oct 11th 2016 @ 9:35pm

I'm an advocate though I'd have thought I was maybe a mediator...and you?

Lex Thu, Oct 13th 2016 @ 8:03am

I'm a Mediator xx

Helen Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 1:24pm

Thank you Lex, this was a brilliant thing for me to read today. As someone who can let the nays get to me...

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:08pm

Don't let the Nays get yer! Yay, Yeah, Yes - are great friends to have around! Let's have a possibility party! Have a YayDay! Lx

Brum Mum Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:17pm

A superb blog which chimes with me in many ways. You are clearly an enabler....I remember encouraging a friend who was planning on a nursing career to consider being a doctor. She is now a palliative care consultant who spreads her time between the UK and India. I am better at encouraging others than believing in myself. Your bit about children made me wince but I am learning to encourage my children to believe themselves

Brum Mum Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:19pm

Sorry .....not finished!! There's some fantastic stuff that schools do on growth mindset by Carol Dweck. It's really interesting learning to undo negative scripts and translate them into the positive. Thank you, Lex x

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 5:33pm

I love Carol Dweck's stuff... she's the 'mind trees' lady, aint she? Lx

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 5:34pm

Ha ha, got that wrong! That was someone else. Here's Carol's TED Talk here...

Mj Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 2:44pm

Outstanding Alex! Well done and thank you. I too grew up with those S messages. I just left a job where even attempts to improve skills were seen as " ambitious" said in a tone that said ambition was unladylike. Sharing a success... Well you know. I was fired in January. I am beginning to heal to a point just now where I'm taking some consulting work. Thank God for people who continue to believe in me. Thank God for moodscope. And Lex, I thank God for you. I think I might try my hand at writing a little for my peers and supporters at moodscope.
MJ across the pond.

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 5:35pm

I've just "Wow!" out loud. Thank you for your powerful words, Mj xx... and let us know how we could support you more deeply!

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 5:37pm

Wherever possible, folks, I'd love you to join our Facebook group - which is then the doorway to a secret (i.e. private) group. I'm sure we could do a lot more to support one another. Lx

The Gardener Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 7:39pm

I think 'putting down' is a British thing - 'showing off' was not on, even compliments on a lovely dress was 'oh, this old thing - in France I have learned, I hope, to accept compliments gracefully, and all the loving comfort I get. My mum always said 'I was too big for my boots'. Once, I was going out to dinner in a real dazzler of a dress - my mother's remark 'what do you think you look like. Although we've had a most interesting and varied life, Mr G has never said 'Let's go for it'. Always, I had to resist all the arguments, knowing that when we actually got to it he would enjoy it thoroughly - often thinking it was his idea. Now he is anti everything I say - it is the disease, but the first geriatric doctor saw through him 'he will treat you like a slave, a dog, you will be a sponge. He will do nothing unless I tell him, then won't do it because 'he does not have to do what I say'. Kind people say 100% disease, realists say there is a strong strain of manipulation there, which he is well aware of. An aside, the guy who was due to sign for our house on Friday pulled out - his excuse was an amazing fairy story. Accident in his gold mine in Benin, 2 people killed, he was arrested at the airport and now in custody - his second-in-command has run away with gold ingots! I've looked up the country's newspaper and mining news - all nonsense - why is he doing it? Can't see what he's got to gain. But he ought to be writing fiction - perhaps he is!

Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 9:19pm

Hi Gardener, what a narrative! Yes, he certainly should continue his career in writing fiction! Lovely dress, btw. xx

DAVE Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 8:46pm

Hi Lex,
Excellent blog, 'Nail on the Head'.

Reminded me of my son David at 14 when I caught him smoking, (Mormons are not supposed to smoke), he was quite sure I was going to chastise him, ground him or take away privileges...But instead, I said to.him, Dave you're not smoking that cigarette properly, draw on the He did just that, was violently sick and has never touched cigarettes since.

Promising our children to do something they have asked of you, is a promise and should always be honored....This also applies when you ask them to do certain things to help around the house.

For example, when my wife was working late shift, me, my two daughters and my son David, took turns to wash up clean the sink and leave kitchen tidy, they were all shown how to complete the chore properly.

No problems with the girls, but on asking David has he left the kitchen tidy before going out with his friends....."Yes' he said, knowing David, I said "Well if it's not done properly, I'll call you at your friend Tom's house", No Dad he said, Yes I said, I promise you I'll not let you down ! !

The sink was a mess, I called him, as promised...David's 'duty night' kitchen was always left sparkling, and whenever I promised my children anything I never ever let them down, David knew exactly why, unlike his Mum, he couldn't ever 'tie me round his little finger'.

Another thought prompted by you Lex, is that generally people in England are very negative, they'd ever rather find fault, or 'Oh you can't do that, than encourage p, praise or congratulate you for success that you might achieve.....Whereas all the Americans that I have ever met encourage and want to see you succeed.

You can do anything in life if you try and put you're mind to it....I encourage and praise those who try.and either fail or succeed.

We are all equal, every one of us, we are all special in the eyes of God, and each have talents which need to be encouraged...

Your very positive attitude resonates in the replies from your blog by all the moodscope bloggers, who have I'm sure every one have a sensitivity to the finer 'balanced' emotion through all the adversities to which we all endure.

God Bless Lex.


Lex Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 9:17pm

I've loved reading every word of your post, Dave - deeply appreciative. I think us Brits have actually given ourselves permission to forbid! Time to change. Amen. God Bless you too, Lx

You must login to leave a comment.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.