The Dangers of Assumed Authority
Recently I went to the Optometrist.
This was an interesting learning experience on many levels. My training in NLP, Time Line Therapy® & Personal Development gave me a unique perspective, tools to ask the right questions and the armour I needed to protect myself from well meaning comments that could have easily become part of my identity if I didn’t know better. Here’s what I learned:
Authority is assumed: Have you ever noticed that the moment you walk into a medical environment that the authority is automatically assumed to be with the Medical Practitioner? Even better, my doctor was wearing a white lab coat (a symbol and anchor for authority in our society thanks to TV). Of course, a lab coat doesn’t inherently mean the one wearing it has authority, though there were many more opportunities where I could have decided to take her professional opinion over my own understanding of myself, my history and what I needed.
*A bit of background: I was at the doctor to discuss Exotropia, which is a label for one or both eyes turning outward causing vision difficulty, particularly loss of depth perception. I feel it’s important to get a well rounded understanding of any problem you’re experiencing. I asked my personal coach to assist me in dealing with the underlying problem that led to this problem being created, and I also sought the advice of a vision scientist, to help me understand my eyes more fully.
As we discussed how I had been experiencing a lack of depth perception and other minor discomfort, I was astonished at the language she was using to describe the issue and possible solutions. If I wasn’t trained in linguistics and the power of specific words, I would have probably left that office deflated and discouraged rather than empowered and more confident than ever. She said there was probably ‘no chance’ of correcting the problem, and that after childhood it’s ‘extremely unlikely’ to see improvement of this condition.
This is where my training came in handy and saved me a potentially traumatic decision about myself. Imagine hearing news of the impossibility of your body to fix itself? If the person saying that maintained the authority in the discussion, this would have definitely become a label I used to describe myself in the future, at least where my eyes are concerned.
Some extremely important things I remembered as I listened to my doctor:
1) Her model of the world is different from mine and that’s okay. Her training in optometry and medicine has taught her to be very cut and dry and to rely on statistics rather than possibility. As a result of her experience she has chosen to believe that in certain circumstances this problem is unfixable. I simply choose to believe otherwise. She is allowed to live her life by her model, and I’ll live my life by mine. I learned a lot about my eyes that day, and she taught me some interesting stuff, I just don’t agree with everything she said. I took what worked for me from what she said, and left the rest.
2) Negative anchors are extremely powerful and can stay with you forever. The moment I sat down in the chair in the doctors office, I was flooded with memories of doctors from my childhood standing over me humming and hawing, questioning me, and judging me by my abilities to see things clearly. I obviously had no idea these issues were still present in me until the anchor was fired as I sat in the chair. I was able to collapse these negative feelings by putting myself in a positive and resourceful state instead (using the Anchoring process in NLP).
3) Keeping authority in paramount. Yes, we seek out people who know things that we do not know or understand, and in asking them questions we give our authority to them. When we take advice we are saying that the other person knows better than us in that particular instance. When you go to get your car serviced, you give the authority of understanding how to fix a car to the mechanic. In the same way, seeking out medical advice could be seen as another example of assuming the doctor always knows best. If fact, this isn’t always the case. In my case, the doctor was merely going by statistics to inform me. In many cases, the doctor is going by what they see in test results. A diagnosis (a label the doctor puts on a problem that you are having at a given moment in time) is merely a possibility among an infinite number of possibilities that you could choose every second. Medical professionals don’t know the profound position of power they are in when they tell you what ‘your condition’ is, or what the success rate of a treatment is. It’s up to you to decide to take on what they say as the only way its going to be or not. By keeping your own authority in the doctor’s office, you maintain the flexibility to choose different outcomes. One possibility is that Extropia is a condition that one must learn to live with. Another possibility is that it is 100% reversible.
I choose to live in the reality of the second possibility.
By using the tools I’ve learned in NLP, Time Line Therapy®, Meta Medicine® and the work of Louise Hay, I was able to keep my beliefs in check and left feeling liberated and confident. I was more excited than ever to reverse this problem that I have neglected for so many years.