What is Your Authority? Do You Respect It?
What authorities do you recognize? Choose carefully. It’s self destructive to let fear of something you have no control over be your authority.
Thirty years ago, during my initial years of rehab, my biggest disability wasn’t my paralyzed leg and arm or my inability to control my bladder, or even my severe speech impairment. My biggest disability was who and what I saw as my authority.
Who or what is your authority? When I used to fall frequently, during my early stages of rehab, my two biggest authorities were other people’s opinions and gravity. I couldn’t do much to keep gravity from being my authority, but why did I let what other people might think have such a disabling affect on me?
A while back, my answer would have been that I was concerned about what other people thought because I didn’t have any self confidence.
Priorities and Authorities
I used to think fearing what people thought resulted from lacking self confidence, but that was before I realized the critical role priorities play. My priority was having people think I’m strong and capable.
As I’ve become comfortable with my disability, my priorities have changed. What other people think doesn’t matter so much. Now my priority is living a useful and helpful life.
Choosing which community I will be part of, or which activities I devote myself to is critical because I either identify with the activities I do or become like whoever I spend most of my time with. In a sense, they become my authority.
Having healthy authorities is safe, comfortable and productive. Having the wrong authorities can waste time and even be self defeating and dangerous. I wasted a lot of time by letting what other people might be thinking of me be my authority. Fortunately, changing my priorities changed my authorities.
Healthy Authority Advantages
Changing my priorities from worrying what people think to helping others, required me to plunge into the unknown. At first this risk required supreme effort. I had to to fight against both natural and cultivated tendencies. But as I broke out of my comfortable molds of self concern to my new priority of caring about others my new freedoms and feelings of power gave me courage to take more risks.
Since changing who or what my authority is allows me to change my priorities, the community I’m currently choosing to identify with is key. If my chosen community has respect for things I consider honorable and worthy, continuing to associate with them will help me become more happy and content with myself and my world.
The key to genuine happiness is in our hands. To think this way is to discover the essential values of kindness, brotherly love and altruism. The more clearly we see the benefits of these values, the more we will seek to reject anything that opposes them; in this way we will be able to bring about inner transformation.
Al Foxx is an inspiring motivational speaker, contact him for your next event.