Joyful connections with others are underpinned by freedom of choice, a sense of safety, and a culture of consent. Defined as “permission for or agreement to allow something to happen,” consent is a life skill that extends beyond the realms of sex and physical intimacy to all of our interactions. By clearly expressing our own preferences as we respect others’ wishes and boundaries, we can craft win-win scenarios that honor self and others.
By tuning into the intelligence of our bodies, we can develop a strong internal compass to help us choose the path we want—allowing us to own our true “yes” and “no” and clearly communicate our needs to others.
Consent can be expressed verbally and non-verbally. In the absence of words, watching for cues in body language that may indicate hesitancy or discomfort can signal when to check in and ask for more information.
Intentionally learning and practicing the skills of consent can help us to avoid common communication pitfalls and misunderstandings, and move towards greater clarity and harmony in connection.
More than just the absence of harm, practicing caring consent involves noticing how our behavior affects others. Showing genuine concern allows us to thrive in our interactions beyond a simple “yes” or “no.”