When we are in a power over relationship, there is an assumption that someone else knows more, knows better, or has all the answers and we must do what that person says. It is evident in the culture we live in, where we defer to medical experts for help.
But in a power with relationship, there is an understanding that while someone brings in expertise and experience, the patient has lived with this system their entire life and has tremendous experience with what has and has not worked. If we want to facilitate the process of recovery and healing, the expert and patient must work together.
In this episode, I’m sharing why inner authority is a significant, meaningful concept in the process of healing and recovery and how you can tap into your own. When you listen to your inner authority, incredible things happen, so I’m sharing some indicators that you have deferred your inner authority and how to reclaim your inner sense of self.
What You'll Learn from this Episode:
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to From Pain to Possibility. I am delighted that you're here to listen to this episode on inner authority. And it builds upon the episode last week on yellow lights, and the previous episode DIMs and SIMs and Kintsugi. And I've put all the links to those episodes in the show notes. So do go back to listen to those ones because they all kind of come together.
When I talk about inner authority, what do I mean? And why do I feel it to be so important? And such a key and significant and meaningful concept in the process of healing and recovery? Well, I think the key is, is that when we are coming from a place within that we know is fundamentally true, that resonates with us, that's a coming home, incredible recovery can happen.
When we are in a space where we are deferring to someone outside of ourselves, we make the process less of our own. And there's a gap there. We're starting to look at ourselves more as this thing to fix, as opposed to a thing that actually is.
So when I'm working with someone, part of my process is to model what it is to be in relationship. So I'm modeling it as I'm in relationship to myself. I'm modeling it in the relationship I have actually with the client. So that as they have the experience of what is possible, then they can actually do it for themselves.
We live in a culture where, generally speaking, we defer to experts. We defer to medical experts. There's a power over type of relationship in many medical conversations, unless the client or the patient actively steps into a role of ownership. There's not a tendency currently, although it's improving, there's not a tendency where a medical professional or health professional actually begins in a conversation at one that's power with.
There's a tendency of power over. It’s part of how the system has been created and how in some odd way is maintained. But if we really want to facilitate, as I mentioned, this process of recovery and healing the clients and the patient needs to step into that ownership.
And the way that I know to make that happen, the way that I've seen so effective over the years of my working with people is to model it to show them. Because we don't have many examples of what that looks like.
And many people, when they view themselves as being broken or needing to fix, or even at least somewhat bent, as some of my clients have said in the early days, is when they see themselves that way. That they need to be fixed, then they're actually viewing themselves in a power over relationship with their own body, their own system.
When they can start to listen to their messages and their whispers. They start to listen to that inner authority. They start to listen to the inner voice; they start to listen to what those signals are actually telling them.
And then they're not being guided by their inner spirit, they're being guided by their signals, their sensations, their symptoms. And that can inform them in what it is that they really, really need. They start to blend both their intellectual problem solving with their intuitive perception and what their body is saying.
It took me years to articulate this, and I'm still improving my ability to do it. But I remember way back when I graduated from my kinesiology degree from the University of Victoria and I started working at a chronic pain center, that’s what we call them back then.
I remember watching how the medical, legal and insurance agencies all work together with these folks that we were seeing who had been in pain for a long time. And they were in either a car accident or a work related accident. And the various institutions being legal, medical and insurance were all trying to support them in their own way to get them back to work.
But in so often it really wasn't about listening at all to the patient. It was really about pushing them into their work. Because the idea was if someone went back to work, they would feel better. At least they could manage their pain symptoms.
But being young, being a new grad, but also being somewhat perceptive I thought, “You know what? I get what they're doing, but it doesn't really make sense to me.” And I was really fortunate to be able to work with some fantastic physical therapists and occupational therapists who even though they were in the system, they had a bit of a different bigger picture view of what was really going on.
So I could learn at their feet of like, “Ah, yes, what you're doing here is validated what I can't articulate, but I can definitely feel.” So where over the years, which has been, it's crazy to think but it's been almost 30 years that I've been helping people get out of pain and reduce other symptoms. But over those 30 years I've been able to articulate it better and better and better and better.
And really what it comes down to is sacred relationship. Of tapping in kinesthetically to what's really going on inside. So now it's become something within my whole business to support the working of my whole business to help that client really tap into their own inner authority.
So from a bigger picture, we honor the sacred relationship with each of our clients and our professional trainees. Everything is about relationship, trust, and love. It's not something that any one client, or potential client, or potential trainee, or trainee needs to earn, it just simply is.
Because at the fundamental root of all of this, is I want my clients and my trainees to understand that they are the ones with the inner authority. They are the ones with the power. And if I can model that to them, if I can demonstrate that to them, then they can grow it themselves.
I think we all fundamentally know that we have it. But over the years, given the experiences that different people have had, they may have pushed it aside for many, many different sorts of reasons. But in the process of recovery and healing we help to bring that back out. We help to draw it out in a really supportive, safe way.
So to be more clear about this, what I mean by power with relationship, what I mean by a power over relationship, what I mean by modeling is this, when we're in a power over relationship there's an assumption that somebody else knows more, knows better, and has all of the answers. And we must do what that person says.
When we're in a power with relationship there's an understanding that one person in the relationship brings in some great expertise and experience like, maybe myself or a medical doctor or another health care professional. There's a ton of knowledge and experience they have. And then there's the client or the patient, and they've been living within their system for their entire life. And they've had tremendous experience of what's worked, what hasn't worked.
So how I share it with my clients is that I trust what they already know about their own mental, emotional, and physical health. How they operate in the world. What they already know about their body, their brain, their breathing, and their being.
I fundamentally believe that they know themselves and their experiences better than anybody else ever could. So I'm no smarter, I'm no better, I'm no fill in the blank than anybody, because I honor their own fundamental experience.
So what I offer instead, if I could use the word instead, is my experience and my ideas and my tools to help my client tap into their inner authority. Because there's a little piece of me that thinks that some of what maintains ourselves in a persistent state of pain or other symptom is a, I'm going to use the word lack of, and I use that loosely. But there's a lack of trust, or there could be more trust in what the experience is inside.
We either don't know how to listen to it or we've forgotten how to listen to it. And so when I can offer my experience, my ideas, and my tools to help them tap into their own inner authority, then some really cool stuff can happen.
The idea here is to help someone recognize and then have the experience of trusting their inner knowing, their innate power, their connection, and their inner locus of control. Because when they've got that they can re-access their deep desires and express them more and more fully. Which then has them impact those people around them, including themselves.
Now, I know this is something that is not often spoken about, but we all know it to be true. I had a trainee recently say it's like a coming home. And when a health professional really taps into how to do this for their client, it's mind boggling what can happen.
I've had countless conversations with physicians, and physical therapists, and massage therapists of like, “Why can't this person get it?” And in many cases what I've seen is because they're not given the opportunity. Now, the push back I'll sometimes get is, “Well, the person's got to step up and take that opportunity.” Yeah, I agree.
And part of our job, I think, is to teach someone to do that. We need to model it. We need to model it by demonstrating that it's safe for someone to step into that space. We need to model it for our own selves. What are we doing with our own symptoms, with our own sensations, with our own experiences? Do we think we're broken? Do we think we are bent? Do we seek the outside advice to fix us? Do we find the outside thing to fix whatever we think our problem is? Or do we actually view our experiences, our symptoms and sensations as messengers, as whispers?
If we harken back to the episode just recently on Kintsugi, the art of repair. Do we actually see that no matter what our experience is in life it actually can create something better? It's allowing us to evolve into. This is all the modeling of what's actually possible for our clients, right?
Remember, we can't take our clients any deeper than we've gone ourselves. We can't love them any more than we love ourselves. We can't see them any more than we see ourselves. So we need to model it.
So if we hear, what I say to my trainees is if you're hearing yourself kind of like, “Oh, can't they blah, blah, blah?” I’m like are you actually modeling that yourself? Are you eating your own cooking? Is that desire you are expressing something you're actually doing for yourself?
I realize that our ability to listen to our own inner authority and not offload it to somebody else can be really easy to forget to do. Particularly when there's a setback, when there's a flare up, when anxiety escalates. When you're on the precipice of a depressive episode.
When there's been an injury or illness it's so easy for ourselves, for our brains really, to slip into a mode of frustration, of resignation, tolerance, maybe even overwhelm. We don't want to trust those sensations because they're painful. They hurt, they're uncomfortable, and our brain is well trained to push away from that which is uncomfortable.
It's so challenging to trust the various sensations and inner wisdom, even the intuition that we're experiencing. And it's so much easier, or at least seems to be, to pass over what we're feeling and defer to somebody else for that external fix.
What I'm saying is, it's an opportunity also to remember that you can take back your power. So that whether you have a setback in your health or you’re troubleshooting a problem, whether it's yours or if you're a teacher or professional, it’s a client or a patient. When you're able to check in with that power, your own inner power, then you'll be able to feel and discern with more clarity, act with a deliberateness and also with love. Because that's what recovery and healing are all about. That's what we're really helping somebody do.
Now, sometimes I'll have conversations with different health professionals and they'll state to me straight up, “Susie, people are not interested in that.” Well, I've been in business for an awfully long time. I've been doing this work for almost 30 years. And I can tell you for certain that there are a lot of people who understand this to be true and who want to be shown the way of trusting themselves again.
They're aching for it. They can feel what it's like to come home again. They know that to be true. They know that there's more to this experience of pain and strain, if someone can just show them the way. We all can forget at times, all of us. We're all human after all, right? Our brains are designed to move away from those yucky feelings.
Maybe though in your world you do not have a healthcare professional that you can quickly access to support you in finding your way out of a place where you're deferring. Maybe you don't even know that you're in that space where you're outwardly deferring.
So the first step is to notice when you are actually passing, on or relinquishing, or abdicating. And then how do you then get back? So let's take a look at some of the subtle and not so subtle indicators that you have deferred your inner authority.
So one is, notice when you're in a space where you're stuck in confusion. Or notice when you are committed to being right. That's kind of on the borderline of being righteous about something and feel what that's like. There's one thing about being right, like factually. But there's another thing when you get really grippy around that rightness.
We can sometimes see that, dare I say in some political or religious scenarios where they might very well be right. But there's a righteousness around it. Like there's a real bracing around it, so notice that. Notice when you're being defensive or closed down. Notice when you're looking for the stamp of approval from an expert or another teacher, or you're defaulting to what other people are doing and you're not trusting your own intuition.
Asking the expert “Can I…” or “Is it okay if...” Maybe you're over researching to find exactly the right answer and you're looking for a cure all. Notice when you start to use the words more and more often like but, should, must, always, never.
And when you're in those spaces you might not necessarily notice you're doing that, but maybe look at feelings you're having. Emotions that you're having like being resentful about a scenario or frustrated or overwhelmed, impatient, resigned, afraid, ungrounded, dissatisfied, powerless.
There may be other ones that as I'm saying these, are coming up for you. So trust your inner authority about what it is that you're hearing, what you're feeling when I'm sharing this. Maybe none of these words are resonating with you. But you are finding other ways that you do defer out.
Ultimately, if you're finding yourself kind of falling into a template mode, or an external fix, or a formula, if you're noticing that you're placing blame on yourself or others, that's likely an indication. It's a reminder that it's time to come back in a time to reclaim your own inner sense of self, your own inner knowledge. A way to nudge back your focus and your attention.
So in those times, it might be helpful just to take a breath, to take a pause, and just come back to feeling your body and to feeling your breath. Maybe going for a walk. Maybe finding a cup of tea. Maybe sitting with somebody who can simply listen to you. Or getting out a journal book and writing down it all.
And then in the act of doing that, you start to recognize some of the whispers, some of the patterns, some of the yellow lights. If you go back to the episodes on yellow lights, and on DIMs and SIMs, and on Kintsugi, those episodes can give you some writing prompts for consideration to help you kind of tap into that own inner authority again, of connecting more deeply to that inner voice.
There's also the episode on dialoguing with a symptom, where you can start to get more and more information about what those symptoms might be nudging you to do.
The healing process really is fascinating. And what I have seen over and over and over again, is as we reclaim that we become much more collaborative with our own inner world. And then we're able to take that information and connect in with another health professional and bring our understanding of our world with their knowledge.
And then together the problem solving becomes really powerful. So we're not deferring to them, we bring our experience of our own symptoms and we can really fill out some of the gaps that we're experiencing. And what you'll find is that there are health professionals out there who do love hearing the stories from their patients and their clients.
Because they know that evidence, formal evidence, formal research, simply says this, X percentage of people with X, Y, Z symptoms benefited from ABC protocol. They don't want to have to throw things against the wall and hope and pray that it will stick and work.
So the more that you can bring from your own experience to really fill out and color out your own experience, the more they can tweak and refine whatever protocol, whatever scenario to fit you specifically. It becomes really powerful as a collaboration. It becomes really fun. And it makes the healing process quicker, smoother, and dare I say exciting.
If this resonates with you, you would love, love, love what we're doing in Healing and Revealing Human Potential. Because that to me is really what the recovery and healing process is all about. If you want in on that program you can join us by emailing us at [email protected] We've got an amazing set of speakers in addition to the awesome content. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is joining us.
And Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a neuroscientist. And she had a stroke and watched herself have the stroke, wrote about having the stroke, and then over eight years rebuilt her brain. Talk about revealing and healing human potential. And I’d love for you to listen to her own experience of what it is to take inner authority to a whole new level. So email us at [email protected]
While I still have you, if you are resonating with these ideas inside of this podcast you would love our IAYT accredited yoga therapy certification program where we go deep, deep, deep into these concepts and help you as the health professional or yoga teacher really take therapeutic yoga to the next level. Integrating it into the talent that you already know that you have.
You are someone who knows that life happens for you, not to you. You've experienced that and you want to help your own clients thrive. You're also keen to build a business as a yoga therapist or at least if you're in a health organization take your role inside of that organization up to the next level. Mastery means something to you and you want to push the boundaries of what is possible for a human being.
If the certification program is interesting to you, if I have tickled your fancy and the nudges inside of you are saying, “Yes this sounds so fascinating.” Then send us an email at [email protected] Happy exploring.