Due to the many very kind comments I received on Twitter and Facebook about “Letters to Me/ The Inner Compass” and some of the concepts that the book includes, I decided to share ideas of the Chapter 17, in which I talk about the Life Script, commands and permissions. We started with some of these mandates, and back to what we said in the previous post, ‘Permission, Achievement and Transformation (I)’, Eric Berne lists a number of conditions that restrict us in life:

“[…] and 8. “Do not be childish”. It is the opposite of the previous one, “Do not grow up”, although they are not incompatible. The child is forced to abandon their natural needs in childhood to suddenly become an adult and often deal with the needs of others: younger siblings, sick relatives or even their own parents.

9. “No!” (or “Do not”). People who think and feel but never act use it often. They are doubtful, hesitant, and keep feeling that an action is just a risk.

10. “Your needs are not important” (or “You do not matter”). Sadly, this is one of the mandates to be observed increasingly as it appears especially among parents who say they have no time for their children. The child who by the absence of their parents interprets a “we cannot stand by you” attitude assumes the following: “I do not mind to them”. He won’t allow himself to be important for others, to be taken into account, to be considered when being an adult.

11. “You are not worth”. When nothing of what the child does is considered valuable enough because he is constantly asked for more and more. Behind this mandate there is a requirement of perfection which appears to make a profound sense of helplessness and lack of self-esteem of the parents. Thus, they expecto to have a brilliant child, some kind of Superman.

12. “Do not think”. When the child’s questions are ignored, or answered mockingly or in an inappropriate way people are transmitting this command. It is also obvious when the child realizes this command in the lives of their parents repeatedly, ie notes that they do not think. The risk of having his own ideas, being critical, or having a different thought from their parents regarding key or taboo subjects like religion or sex, can be experienced as a highly dangerous matter by parents. This command is structured at various levels: from the “do not think what you think ” to “do not think at all”.

13. “Do not feel”. It occurs when the emotion is banished out of fear or because it was always banned of the parents’ themselves.

14. “Do not be better than me”. If there is unresolved rivalry or jealousy of parents with their children, any progress of a child may be experienced by these parents as a loss of self-worth. It is often clear, sadly, that there are parents who cannot digest well the first defeat in sport, leisure and intellectual activities against their son/daughter. They just quit the game, they get angry, and they can refuse to concede defeat or play again.

At this point, the question is: Will these mandates always be there, blocking, inhibiting, suppressing, limiting the healthy psychological development and the ability to live a life of greater degree of spontaneity, intimacy, conscience… for ourselves ? Are life scripts closed? The answer is, thankfully, no.

Each mandate has its reverse, ie, a permission:

1.- Permission to live, to exist, to be.

2.- Permission to be yourself.

3.- Permission to achieve.

4.- Permission to know.

5.- Permission to get close.

6.- Permission to belong.

7.- Permission to grow.

8.- Permission to be a child.

9.- Permission to do.

10.- Permission to be important and be considered.

11.- Permission to be worth.

12.- Permission to think.

13.  Permission to feel.

14.- Permission to overcome and to be better.

Permission is essential in the process of change and personal development and life script modification. We integrate when we reverse the decision to follow the parental mandates, once these have been identified and recognized as blockers or inhibitors of our desire. That is, once we have accepted that these are affecting the way we perceive ourselves and others, and thus affecting our behaviour here and now.

Probably the first permission that one can see is to live (beyond “making a living” ), and then move forward on other permits and go progressively assuming the ability to generate changes over responsibility for our own lives. But this requires also the courage to ask whether the beliefs and values on which we have built our lives act as limiting jaws.

We will continue to deepen on this and other concepts on this blog ‘Solutions’. Anyway, there is an extensive bibliography that can be consulted. Apart from “The Inner Compass/ Letters to Myself “, I strongly recommend the book “The Scripts We Live By” by Claude Steiner, published by Kairós.


Álex Rovira


P. S. There is a story by Anthony de Mello which is ideal to close this post. It has to do with what we believe to be because of life scripts. It goes like this:

A man found an eagle’s egg. He took it and placed it in the nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet was hatched and grew up with the brood of chicks.

All its life the eagle did what the chickens did, thinking it was a chicken, too. Digging the earth for worms and insects, chirping and cackling. Even shaking its wings and flying a few feet into the air, like chickens do. After all,  is it not the way chickens fly?

Years passed by and the eagle grew old. One day it spotted high above its head, in the clear sky, a magnificent and elegant bird floating between drafts, barely moving its powerful golden wings.

The old eagle looked up, astonished. “What’s that?” it asked the chicken that was beside it. “It’s the eagle, the king of birds”, replied the hen. “But do not think about it. You and I are different from that”.

So the eagle never thought about it again. And it died thinking it was from that chicken flock.

Alex Rovira