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How to Claim the Story of Your Power

Have you ever been given a medical diagnosis or advise that you knew, deep in your heart of hearts, wasn’t correct? Like maybe they hadn’t heard your whole story and were leaving key parts out? Or maybe they’d heard you but went a direction you did not expect or just didn’t feel right to you?

What did you do?

Did you ask a lot of questions? Did you say, “that doesn’t seem right to me?” Did you speak and act from your strength?

Or did you go along with the diagnosis and treatment plan that didn’t pass your internal muster?

If you said yes to that question, you’re not alone.

Why? Why do we do that?

It’s the story of our power.

The power we give away to the “experts.” The experts we turn to because they know more than we do, who do this “for a living.”We forget that none of them knows us better than we know ourselves. Not one of them has more experience in being us than us.

Somewhere we learned to let the voices of those many experts drown out our own, no longer turning to our source of the greatest wisdom and intuitive knowledge about what we need—us.

None of us are immune to our culture, to the stories that tell us “how things are.” Many of the destructive stories we learn, teach us that forces beyond ourselves and out of our control are in charge of us—in charge of our health and healing.

The medical experts do not know more than you do.

As a physician with nearly three decades of experience, working with clients with chronic complex illness, I don’t believe in the myth that the medical experts know more than we do. Not only is it untrue, this belief sits squarely in the way of healing.

Those who claim power and agency over their own lives heal. Those who don’t, don’t. It’s that simple.

Without your power—your internal strength and limitless internal wisdom—you will be misunderstood. Your story will always be incomplete. Your needs will never be fully acknowledged. Your beautiful healing plan will not be realized.

Because you’ll always be working with someone else’s agenda.

Reclaim your power to become your own expert.

This doesn’t mean not seeking, listening to, or accepting expert opinion and advice. No, we need and treasure our trusted advisors.

It simply means you have expertise as well. And it must be heard. We must all learn to integrate our own internal wisdom with that of our consultants.


First, affirm your strength. Get quiet. Remove distractions. Breathe into your strong core center. Affirm: I know who I am. I am the expert on me. I live from my strong center. Even in the face of opposition or disappointment, I remain strong.

Insist on a voice at the roundtable. This may feel uncomfortable at first if you are used to silencing yourself in favor of the experts. But speak up. Refer to your list of questions and ask for clarifications. Look them in the eye and insist on being heard.

Know who you are. Affirm what you know about yourself and your ordeal by documenting it in great detail. Get clear about what you need help with and what your questions to the experts are.

Know the experts are there to be of service to you. Not the other way around. They must respect and listen to you. To help them, you must arrive prepared and clear about your story. Your health and healing are never a passive process.

When you hear something that’s not right, take heed. Speak up. Question what you’ve heard. It’s not necessary or always appropriate to challenge the advisor who is failing you head on. Just know within yourself that it’s time to move on.

Have you ever subjugated your own power to the authority of someone else? Ugh—haven’t we all? Tell us about it.

Have a Beautiful day!

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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