I have been giving some thought to the notion of permission.
There are many expressions of asking for overt permission, usually, from children – can I go to their house? Can I have a party here? Can I have the last piece of pie?
Then there are the internal, hidden forms that we all are aware of – dropping something off at a friend's house; they do not answer the door … am I allowed to just open the door and set it inside? Or even walk in and leave a note on the counter? Or borrow an item from the open garage. For certain friends, that would be totally acceptible, but for others, absolutely not. For those, you don't have the level of relationship that gives you tacit consent.
While generally, people are self aware enough to feel the "lack of permission" space in situations such as mentioned above, there is an interesting situation that takes place with verbal information and / or questions. My observation has been that people tend to live on either end of the spectrum with what they say / ask or dont. There are those who are bold and in-your-face with their opinions, input, advice, etc. They do not realize that, though their intentions are good, their words were uninvited. (And therefore, resented). The other extreme, are those who withhold their insights, usually out of fear, thus robbing the other person of benefit.
If one only knew if they had permission to speak! Because permission is the thing that allows the information or act to seep beyond the surface into the heart and soul of the recipiant.
Further, and really, this is the question:
How does one CREATE permission within the other individual? If you are a person of influence, this is inquiry you should be wrestling with. I know that I am.
Hmm, I’m with you until the final question, which seems too forceful. Maybe it’s because my work involves collaborations among people with wide power disparities, but I resist this idea of “creating permission” b/c it seems too forcefully persuasive. And I don’t think that’s what you mean. What I think you mean (and in any case what I’d get behind) is a question more like, “How does one cultivate a communication space that invites permission and protects those willing to make themselves vulnerable through the act of granting permission?” It’s not as punchy as the original question, but it preserves the listener’s agency and acknowledges their risk. That’s important, I think, b/c the permission you describe is not “hearing”; it’s “listening,” like with an open heart. That’s risky, and it takes mental/emotional energy. Anyway, some food for thought…