Losing Agency | #MyFridayStory №251

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Handing over control is not easy.

You lose agency.

You lose respect.

You lose status.

You lose credibility.

You appear weak, spineless even.

You’re disenfranchised.

Who does it? Who hands over their rights to someone else…even to a stranger?

Handing authority to someone is scary. It’s more an act of bravery than surrender. It makes you vulnerable and leaves you exposed. You’ve opened yourself up for ridicule. You can easily get embarrassed and feel belittled. Anyone with an agenda can take advantage of your nakedness.

Have you plucked the cane for your own lashing? Have you ‘asked for it?’

But, by raising your hand, by sacrificing your ego, by making yourself ‘less’, you become more.

Giving away something you rightfully own is unselfish. Giving away something precious to you shows generosity. It’s lived servant leadership.

Having agency removed without your consent is traumatic.

When my Mom was in her 80s, we siblings became concerned about her driving. She’d had a few bumper-bashings and driving with her in the car was terrifying. She was a danger to herself and anyone else on her route. We approached her and suggested she stop scaring everyone and one of us kids rather drive her around. But she vehemently refused to hand over her keys. She was devastated that we could even suggest such a thing! She cried and said we were taking away her independence.

I saw how much such a seemingly insignificant decision can be so gut-wrenching. My Mom felt victimised and marginalised. She felt like she was losing our respect. Her status and credibility as an individual disintegrated. She felt weak, disenfranchised.

For my Mom, that one decision was pivotal in her life. From the time she agreed to stop driving, she had surrendered control of her coming and going. No longer could she pop to the shops to buy some cold drink if she was thirsty or sweeties for when the grandkids come around. No longer could she go to church on Sunday morning — before anyone else in the house is awake.

She handed over control.

From the time that my Mom couldn’t drive, I made a point to be available whenever she needs to get out of the house. I lived half a kilometre away and we’d often go shopping together. She was frail but a toughie. When we get to the entrance of the mall, she would let go of my arm and grab hold of a trolley. She used the trolley as her walker and happily shuffled along without help.

Once in the supermarket, she inspected each aisle. Taking her time, she’d read the labels, put things back on the shelf, take the next thing and do the same. A son and his mother walking up and down the aisles while the old lady pushes the trolley… I got many raised eyebrows, tuts and pffts from passing shoppers.

I cherish those times together, we had lots of fun us two, out and about.

When someone hands over control, effectively losing agency, please be gentle and kind to them, the decision wasn’t an easy one.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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