When I was young if my father spoke quietly with me and said he was disappointed in me, it had a very powerful effect. I could feel the full weight of his disappointment and felt awful for letting him down. That’s because he exuded great authority through his presence. Those that radiate such a quality often find that others will follow them without questioning their judgement. Let’s go deeper with that…
If you look up authority, one definition given is the expert, a person who knows a lot about a particular subject and whose opinions and knowledge are greatly respected. The key in all this is the word respect. Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you or you don’t agree with them. Respect in your relationships builds feelings of trust, safety, and wellbeing.
The self-respect muscle
As you ponder on what stops you speaking your truth, reflect on how much respect you have for yourself? If you don’t like yourself much then this could explain why you are struggling with authority. How can you expect others to respect you if you don’t respect yourself?
If one of the main requirements for speaking your truth is a sense of self-respect, how do you develop it if it feels absent? So often we look outside ourselves when we feel something is missing. In my experience, the answer comes when you pause and then do a deep heart dive connecting to your “whole self” through the Divine.
Courage is a key ingredient when speaking your truth. From an early age, others have seen me as very courageous. As I get older this has been less noticeable. It is not because I have less courage rather that I have more awareness of what’s at stake. Let me break that down for you:
- In a challenging situation where you want to be in your authority, there are your needs and the needs of the other person.
- Timing is everything: if someone feels angry then that is not the moment to address the issue.
- Conflict is often caused through poor communication and misunderstandings. That said naked truth is not always helpful. Not everyone finds such directness palatable. So a stepped approach that is more subtle can be more effective.
What not to do…
Avoiding conflict may feel like the easiest option to start with but you can end up sacrificing everything that you hold most dear with that approach. You can become ill because by not expressing your truth, you are creating a blockage in your energy field. If that remains there then it can manifest in a physical way. For example clients I have worked with who suffer from chronic anxiety have often manifested issues in their gut that could be a pain to irritable bowel syndrome.
Another issue with doing nothing is that it can leave the anger simmering. The tendency then is that there is often even more of a backlash because over time the pain you feel after your initial withdrawal increases. Without forgiveness then the amount of bitterness and resentment you feel will also grow. This can be so destructive that nothing remains of the relationship at the end.
How do you reclaim your authority?
Take a moment to check in with yourself about what’s stopping you from speaking your truth. Is there a fear of conflict? So many want peace at any price.
I always recommend you build the foundation for building your authority through practising Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements. These are:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
Before you do anything you need to feel safe. Often when you don’t feel in your authority, you can feel threatened by the other person’s behaviour. It is very natural in that situation to withdraw and close your heart to that person as a way of protecting yourself from further hurt.
As a first step take time to heal your own hurt. For me that process involves sitting in remembrance by connecting with Oneness/ Source and offering everything I am feeling to it. There is no fixing. Just be with it all by connecting to your heart and allowing your feelings to surge through you in waves. Do not judge it just offer it up to Source. And as the minutes pass by ask yourself is there space here for love to?
When you are full of love and self-compassion then decide on how to deal with the situation that requires you to be in your authority. Whatever route you decide to take, I would always recommend face-to-face contact wherever possible. We are social beings.
If you have paused long enough to fill up with self-compassion, it will be a whole lot easier to make a heart connection with the other person. So often when there are disagreements one side or both sides hide behind their email and take pot shots at one another! This never leads to a satisfactory resolution.
Finally even if it is a very tricky situation, it’s much easier to be in your power if you can step back from the drama that’s unfolding and see the bigger picture that connects you and the other person. And if you connect to your heart and your deeper spiritual truth, the Divine will support you. This will also help you to come to a place where you can be in alignment with the other person.
The power dynamic
And remember whether you acknowledge it or not there is a power dynamic in any relationship and the unwritten rules of engagement. At least one of you will be particularly interested in controlling the outcome of the situation.
When the ego is strong in that way, it can be hard to find the points of common interest or be able to navigate a way through. This comes much more easily when you can pause long enough so you can intuit your areas of mutual interest.
Going back to my Dad, which is where I started this article, part of what gave him such presence in that moment was a sense of stillness within, a knowingness – he knew who he was and what he stood for. He did not question it so neither did we his children.
That all comes when you feel safe so it will come as no surprise to you that the colour we associate with authority is blue, which is also the colour that represents safety. Before tackling a challenging situation, take a moment to ground your energy and centre yourself thereby increasing your bandwidth to be with whatever shows up in the conversation.