Learning…Growth…this is what I value most about being a human being in this crazy world of ours.
I’ve been learning a lot about myself the past few months and I’ve noticed a theme. It’s AUTHORITY and my relationship to it.
What I’ve realised in the past few months is that I am learning to balance
INNER and OUTER authority.
Both are necessary and both are useful. When I give too much attention to my inner authority I can’t take in valuable information, tools and knowledge from other human beings walking this path called life with me.
When I give too much attention to outer authority, teachers, gurus, coaches, friends, family I lose my sense of what is important to me. This usually leads to me making choices that I regret.
Luckily I can then escape from the uncomfortable sensation of regret by blaming the person that I willingly gave away my authority to. It’s the perfect solution to all emotional pain (NOT!)
As my spiritual path I’m committed to acting in my integrity as much as possible. Giving away my power or shutting myself off from this things I need to learn is actually painful to me. The kind of painful that wakes me up 4am and bounces through my body with an intensity that I have trained myself to heed rather than ignore.
Letting go of life-long habits of self-degradation or stubborn arrogance has been testing my ability to be generous with myself. These habits have a familiar comfort to them even though I know through long acquaintance that these are habits of short-term gain at the expense of long-term pain.
Mental habits are just as addictive as drugs and lately I’ve been confronting my habit of giving away my personal power because of my desire for validation and approval.
I can see so clearly how this addiction was born in my high school years when my natural academic talents were rewarded with constant praise and recognition. Yet I never had to really struggle or work to earn this praise. So deep down I didn’t feel I had earned this praise.
I might not have felt I deserved the praise and recognition that my high marks attracted but I did come to rely on it. Without realising it I used praise to validate my existence. Praise from others, especially others in authority produced a dopamine hit in my brain. Praise and external validation became my drug.
Like any drug the effect lessened over time and I needed more and more praise more and more often from more and more people in order to get my ‘hit.’
Because no matter how much validation I get from outside it doesn’t change my inner story. Only I can make the choice to learn and grow. It’s a choice that I’m committed to making over and over again.