empower, self-empowerment, courage, brave, don't make assumptions

Nobody dared go near the tower…

I love this story my husband sent me from Reddit:

Nobody dared go near the tower. A fearsome dragon sat on its top.

Until one day, a knight rode up:

“Do you need help getting down?”


This is a story about assumptions—Big Assumptions. Assumptions made about how the dragon was to be feared, that he was dangerous, that he was a dragon.

This story reminds me of an angry client I once had. She was angry from the very first phone contact—snarky and rude to my assistant, complaining about the way we did things, about her past doctors, how long she had to wait for an appointment—and why couldn’t I order tests and treatments for her before we met? She called every day with one complaint, demand, or another.

My first thought was, what were we getting into by taking this woman on? But my assistant and I got clear about our boundaries, and hunkered down for her first visit, intent on not drawing conclusions about her until she had a chance to tell her story. I believe particular people come to us for good reason—reasons that are hard to see at first.

At our first meeting, my new patient was angry. But not with me—not with us. When she told me her story it was clear that her anger, if not her initial behavior toward us, was justified. She had suffered greatly and been mistreated by a previous care provider. She felt vulnerable and alone and scared about what would happen next. Would she ever find relief? Would we abandon her as well?

By remaining undaunted by her initial anger and controlling demeanor—by not making assumptions or taking it personally (though we had concerns about what we were getting ourselves into), she got to tell her story and reveal the true nature of her anger.

If I hadn’t let her come, I would not have been able to form the empathic bond that would lead to a trusting and mutually enjoyable relationship. And, most importantly, we would not have been able to do the work together that led to the solutions she needed.

As humans we’re wired for negative assumptions and worst-case scenarios—they helped our ancestors survive.

But now we’ve got time… and the space to be brave—to dare to see what’s inside what scares us.

Being brave enough not to make Big Assumptions makes the world a softer, kinder (and more amazing) place.

Have a Beautiful day.



Want to explore how assumptions get in the way of the hard work you do on your journey of health and healing? You know, like the assumptions we make about change—our fears about where the change we need for healing will lead us?

I’d love to share my e-book, Big Energy: How We Bravely Reclaim Our Health, Our Potential, Our Lives–It’s All In Our Stories. Grab it for free by signing up on the sidebar or homepage.

Stay tuned for the companion on-line course. I’d love to hear from you. Respond to this email and tell me what limits your own healing—what to you most need to learn?

From my archives:

Trust Your Body–It Never Lies. 2018.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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