Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lessons from Laryngitis

This is one of the longest bouts of laryngitis I have ever had. It has been four full days and I have that feeling in my throat this morning that suggests day five is in the works. Strangely enough, I'm okay with it, because it has given me so much more time to listen. There are some very deep life lessons to be learned when a person who is a talker has some forced listening time.
I have a neat little book by Louise Hay called Heal Your Body. It lists a number of physical ailments and the negative thought processes that MAY contribute to a person acquiring that condition. When I looked up laryngitis and the related symptoms, it indicates, " mad you can't speak...fear of speaking up...resentment of authority."

I am not convinced that my temporary condition is the result of being mad. I have, however, always had a fear of speaking to authority figures, and along with that, possibly some resentment of those who would attempt to exercise their authority over me. I don't like being told "NO." You may have even noticed in a previous post that my ideal work situation eliminates most authority people from my life. I also don't like to be told something won't work, especially when the person hearing me hasn't read or studied the subject matter at all.

I have always chosen to question authority. "...because I said so," has never been a sufficient answer for me. My parents figured out early on that telling me I couldn't do something was an open invitation for me to find a way to do it anyway. In many ways that has served me well. In others, it has resulted in pain, usually initiated by someone whom I had granted authority over me. I say "granted" because I now realize that I am the only being who has authority over me. My choices in life (religious affiliation, employment, hobbies, kids activities) occasionally hand that authority over to others, voluntarily, of course.

The last time I had laryngitis this significant, it was a recurring cycle. I had just begun to work for a man whom I thought would listen and work with me. I very quickly found out that listening or even hearing ME was not within his ability when it conflicted with his ideas. He also proved to be a man who would tell me one thing, then change his mind and indicate he never said it in the first place. I revisited the laryngitis symptoms 5 times in as many months that year.

As for my current physical symptoms, I think they are the result of an accumulation of thoughts and attitudes that I am beginning to recognize. My frustration with my current employment situation is due in part to the fact that I am held responsible for many things, and yet I feel as though I have limited power to make anything happen. It makes me wonder if in fact my power is limited by the authority figures, or if I am limiting myself because of my unwillingness to speak to authority figures with courage, confidence and power.

Recognizing the power I do possess is a strong first step. I am also learning that I can control the process and outcomes of my encounters with authority by planning them out ahead of time and making known to God what I expect as a response. I am extremely valuable to those people and while I realize I am not irreplaceable, I also realize that it would be extremely difficult for someone to step into my shoes and pick up what I leave behind.

No matter what career path I choose to travel, there will always be people along that path to whom I grant some level of authority over me, even if I am self-employed. In the future, I can relax when in the presence of authority figures knowing that I ultimately hold the power and I direct the outcomes of any encounter. I will approach them with confidence and know I will be heard and my input honored and acted upon.

Laryngitis, the lesson has been learned. It is time for you to go back where you came from. Quoting from Louise Hay's little book, "I am free to ask for what I want. I am safe to express myself. I am at peace."

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