ON BECOMING YOUR OWN AUTHORITY
The other night I dreamt that I was walking down some stairs and a tall, elegant black woman was walking up the stairs. She looked at me and asked me, “What do you do?” I answered, “I’m a psychotherapist.” She responded, “Oh, then you are your own authority.”
When I awoke, I thought, “What does it mean to be my own authority?”.
As with many questions, it is often easier to say what that does not mean. First of all, it does not mean being an expert. Although I have expertise, special skills and knowledge, in a number of treatment areas, I am not an expert. I always have more to learn, and, truth be told, I love doing so. Secondly, it does not mean controlling everyone and everything else around me. Much as I might like to, I cannot control what anyone else says, thinks, feels or does. I can only control myself. I’m sure that there are many more examples of what it doesn’t mean to be my own authority, and I’d rather look at the positive aspects.
There is a great deal of freedom in becoming my own authority, and it does take work to get there. What do I have to do in order to become my own authority? I must learn to “know” myself. I don’t only mean “know” in terms of what I like and don’t like. I knew for a long time that there were parts of me that I liked and parts that I didn’t like; I knew what foods I liked and those that I didn’t like; I knew the kinds of clothes that I liked and those that I didn’t like. On a very superficial level, these were things that I knew about myself. It wasn’t until I started training to become a counselor, which included being in therapy, that I really got to know myself; how I made myself happy and/or unhappy; how unaware I was that I was angry and/or fearful. It was only as I began dealing with my own issues that I began to be a “whole” person and able to relate to others more fully. The more I began to know myself and my feelings, the more options I had on how to react.
It was only in this way that I could become my own authority. I still feel many things that I don’t necessarily like to feel, and I can deal with them. I have no need to control others, and there is a great deal of freedom in that.
I would love to discuss any of this with you. Please feel free to call me and thanks for reading this far.