A few years ago, a client reeling from choices made by her husband, was not happy with me after I suggested she spend some time learning about herself for healing her marriage. Her outraged “It’s 2012 not the 1950’s!! ” made me wince, for she was confusing today’s opportunities FOR women with understanding herself AS a woman. Misunderstanding this difference was making it hard for her to care for herself, have a happy marriage, and messing with her peace of mind
Now before you accuse me of going retro about women or being an advocate for Saran Wrap greetings, let me explain where I am coming from. When I was 1 of 5 women in a class of 80 architectural students, a few design professors were proud about grading my designs lower for using curves instead of right angles. And as an architect for Boston hospitals, my decision to include the “not as important” janitors and nurses on the design team landed me in very hot water with my boss and the hospital. (The usual design team was only the head surgeon, architect, and hospital administrator).
Claiming my authority as an architect required my being authentic in what I thought best as a designer and a woman. As I woman, I understood “not as important” from my experiences in a world where women still lack import and impact. Yet these experiences did not diminish my authority as an architect; quite the contrary. My own “not as important” experiences inspired me to exercise my authority as the architect for an even better design. My authority as an architect benefited from being authentic as a woman.
False authority labels your experiences and life as good or bad, right or wrong, and limits you in claiming your own authority and being authentic. Your experiences in life are intimate opportunities to learn what is true for you vs simply claiming yourself as a victor or a victim. Thankfully, my client took up learning to be authentic, claimed her authority for making the needed changes in their marriage, letting go of considering herself a victim. Her choices also inspired her husband to work on being authentic as well and their marriage has never been better.
So how do you become authentic in your authority?
1. Begin to trust what you know within you, what you feel, what inspires you, what repels you as important for you to honor in your choices and life. Even if what you know, feel, desire is different from those you give authority to, say is true, important, a priority, etc. You are the authority of what is true for you and many of the facts you were taught as truth, are being debunked by science, by time, and by people voicing what is true for them instead.
2. Put aside judgement of yourself being either a victor or a victim when things don’t go the way you want, expect, or are “supposed to”. Instead, ask yourself what you are feeling, telling yourself, and gently ask yourself if it really is true or simply your defense against being wrong. Be suspicious of voices within you which are not kind as being true in what they are saying about you. (And check out my blog on the perils of “woulda, coulda, shoulda”).
3. When you feel or hear the “meanies” within your head, take the time to tell them to stop and offer yourself support and compassion in their place. Inner bullying is hurtful and “taking it” as what grownups do is simply cruel. Standing up for yourself-your feelings, your preferences, your experiences-is being authentic and creates authority with yourself and with others. Who doesn’t need to offer themselves more kindness?
4. “There is no small thing” disputes the myth of how only what is big has power in life. The truth is, your life is created by the little choices you make over time, to be true (authentic) to yourself, to honor your authority in life…..or justifying why you abandon yourself. Honoring your small choices of integrity with what you are feeling, for what you desire, standing to what is true for you, builds trust and faith in yourself for handling life’s curve balls and creating a life full of love, joy, and delight.
Oh, and redemption for my choice to include the “not so important” janitors and nurses on the design teams came in the form of awards for both the design of the intensive care units as well as significantly lower rates of infection in the units. (Funny thing about including the janitors and nurses). Being authentic and living your authority, offers inspiration to others known and unknown and isn’t that a comforting thought? You truly are essential to the world just as you are – warts and all.
Want some support for being authentic and living with integrity?
I invite you to contact me for setting up a free consultation with me.