Removing (their) authority

Although I prefer to freelance, I have worked some full-time jobs intermittently and at the last job that I did, I was in essence a solo mini department. It gave me a lot of flexibility and control over my deliverables and job function.

From the minute I arrived until I eventually left, I challenged everything. Shortly after one particularly testy meeting with the IT manager, my power was diminished. They didn’t fire me. Instead they decided to just remove my ability to challenge anything. I was locked out of decision making and subsequently made redundant.

They had removed my authority. 

I reflect on that situation as an analogy for the way that I had begun to approach several relationships in my life, including my relationship with myself. I have been removing the authority that people have had over my ability to expand and evolve as a human, as well as their power over my decision-making, believing them to be worthy of sharing in my process. I have even had to fire myself at times.

Even in lieu of that, I had to also examine the ways in which I deserved to have my authority stripped by others, when they no longer felt that I was safe or trustworthy.

I have at least one real life example that easily comes to mind.

I spent my teenage years living with a relative and her family. Many years after, when I had grown up, moved out, and was living on my own, I would visit regularly. I repeatedly found that no matter how much I grew and changed as a person, as soon as I walked through their front door, I felt like a teenager again. In their minds, I was still the 18 year old that last lived there.

I had to actively make a choice to stop responding as the person they thought me to be. I stopped play-acting as if I was still that 18 year old.

It was awkward at first because everything that they did had always been familiar, but the changes that I had already experienced up to that point had already shown me that change comes with a level of discomfort. It is hardly ever easy.

They had given me a invisible line above which they never imagined that I could grow past.

I removed the line and subsequently, their authority to keep it in place over me.

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