[Opinion] The Balance is Not Mocked

Permission and permissiveness should not be confused.


Permission is something that is traditionally given. Permissiveness, however, is a passive act. Primarily a passive-aggressive act.

Permission seeks to collaborate and coordinate with another party. Permissiveness seeks to establish its own boundaries and is based in a “no” that sometimes comes off as a “yes.”

Permission is up front in establishing the hierarchy by which it operates. Permissiveness is sneaky and—let’s be frank—a little arrogant.

Permissiveness is taken from a party in conflict. Permission, however, is neither given nor taken. It exists in the whisper space between asking and taking.

There is a state of permission in many, many conflicts—interpersonal, work, church, school—that is confused with the permissiveness to “do as I like” accompanied by the corollary of “you suffer what I wish.”

The moment in conflict when a party commits an act of permissiveness is the moment when a conflict deepens negatively.

The moment in a conflict when a party commits an act of permission is the moment when a conflict deepens positively.

Do not be confused. The balance of permission/permissiveness is not mocked.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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