Have you ever taken the advice of a doctor or teacher and later regretted it because you knew deep inside that your idea on how to handle the situation was the right one? Over the years, I have come to realize how important it is to check in with my inner authority before making decisions. It doesn’t matter how experienced or skilled an adviser is, I need to make my decisions for myself. This is empowering and in the end I get much better results.
A couple years ago, I hurt my back. I went to a doctor I had seen once before. I was really impressed with how she handled my first issue. I told her my back hurt at the level of “distraction.” I had walked 3 blocks to get to her office. I definitely wasn’t debilitated. She started writing out a number of prescriptions which right away concerned me. I’m sensitive to medicines and avoid taking them. She comforted me by saying the medicines were gentle and would help me heal.
I decided to try them. I figured if I got a side effect, I could always stop taking them. I had no idea how powerful they were. The first medicine to show it’s bad effects was the anti-inflammatory. I went from nausea to vomiting very quickly. It took me over 2 years to recover from this damage to my digestive system. I didn’t know if I’d ever fully recover.
The second medicine showed it’s bad effect a couple days later. It was the painkiller. My digestive system was majorly stopped. The nurse on the health insurance’s hotline sent me straight to the emergency room where they informed me, based on the medicines I was taking, they weren’t surprised to see me there! They, then, proceeded to prescribe yet another medicine and put tremendous amounts of pressure on me to take it.
It was a tremendous challenge to walk out of that emergency room and not give into the fears they had impressed on me to take the medicine they wanted me to. I agonized over whether to take that medicine they said was so critical to my recovery or go a more natural route. I took the natural route… and with good results.
This experience was a major lesson for me on listening to my inner authority. If I had, I would have taken natural approach from the start. I probably would have been fine with just a heating pad. I would have gone to the physical therapist as the doctor prescribed to address the root cause of my pain. And I wouldn’t have had to suffer for 2-1/2 years and paid all those medical expenses trying to figure what had happened and how to fix it.
Now, I let my doctors know that I’m hiring them as a consultant. I will listen to what they say and then decide for myself how I will handle my issue.
This also applies to teachers and coaches I work with. If I turn my authority over to them, I become filled with turmoil and drift into places that aren’t good for me. It can be scary not following the advice of someone who is very knowledgeable and skilled in the area that they are advising in, but they don’t always know what’s best for me. It’s my job to sort that out.
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