“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
The moment a human baby is born, it begins the process of relinquishing its power to forces outside itself.
That is a pretty bold statement, so let’s unpack it a bit.
Most of us are born into some type of family structure, which, in most cases, is not a democracy. Human infants are unable to survive outside the womb without a caretaker, so naturally, parents become our first authority figures. By the time a child starts school, however, that list of authority figures has grown to include educators, scout leaders, coaches, religious figures, and/or other family members. As we continue into adulthood, we defer to law enforcement officers, elected officials, medical professionals, and any number of ancillary “experts” – basically, anyone who requires us to follow their rules, because they know best.
Over time, we learn that it’s simply much easier to allow other people to make decisions for us…to ask a “professional” to give us the answers: How should I invest my money? Which news story should I believe? What foods are best for my body? How can I get rid of this headache? Not only does it save us time, but it assuages our fear of making the wrong decision – because after all, professionals are never wrong, right?
For years and years, we are taught, programmed even, to defer to the authority of others. Not only that, we assume that those folks have our best interest at heart. We are raised to believe that we can trust them – very often, even more than we trust ourselves.
Unfortunately, the foundation of this argument – the idea that you should abdicate your authority – rests upon two seemingly innocent but rather dangerous assumptions: 1) That an outside authority figure knows what is best for you, and 2) That you and the “expert” share the same values and priorities.
Spoiler alert: neither one of these assumptions is accurate.
Fact #1: No one knows what’s best for you better than you do. The thing is, we are conditioned from childhood to doubt ourselves. Most of us don’t know what it means to “trust our gut,” or we are too afraid to actually act on that gut feeling, that internal knowing. Women are taught not to trust their bodies during pregnancy and childbirth, for example, while students are advised to select a more “sensible” major rather than pursuing their passion. We learn to be afraid, to err on the side of “safety,” as if this were a noble or even attainable goal.
Fact #2: Outside authority figures and so-called “experts” often have vastly different priorities than those that they “serve.” Hospitals and physicians routinely juggle a variety of competing interests – avoiding lawsuits, pleasing insurance companies, and saving money – rather than prioritize the patients’ needs. Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but it’s quite obvious that our elected officials no longer have the same priorities as the general public. Much of the time, they are more concerned with staying in office than enacting or enforcing laws that protect the welfare of the planet and her inhabitants.
It’s time to start taking back our power!
It’s time to start listening to the only authority figure that truly matters – the only authority figure that actually has your back….YOU. Believe it or not, YOU have all the answers!
With practice, you can learn how to listen…how to recognize that subtle feeling you get when something rings true or just seems “off.” Sometimes, you might simply know, without understanding how or why. It’s called intuition. Not only is intuition a skill we are all born with, it’s a muscle that can be strengthened. Many meditative practices can help us tap into this internal guidance system, including yoga, art, breath work, gardening, or walking.
I truly believe that, more than any other time in our history, it is critical that we find the Truth within ourselves AND that we set aside fear so that we can act on that Truth. Humanity is on the edge of a great reset, a sacred tipping point. When we allow ourselves to be guided from within, instead of from outside of ourselves, we will make the right choices – choices that elevate us and those around us.