9 subtle phrases that reveal someone who bases decisions on internal authority

When someone bases their decisions on internal authority, it shows that they’re decisive and natural leaders.

True, it can occasionally cause problems when they ask people to follow them, but when it comes to being independent, basing decisions on your own authority is the single best thing you can do.

But how can you tell whether someone is basing their decisions on internal authority or whether they’re just following the crowd?

Well, one option is to look at the words they use, and that’s where today’s article comes in. Let’s take a look at a few of the subtle phrases that can suggest someone’s basing their decisions on internal authority.

1) “Trust me.”

I’ll be honest, I hate this one.

That’s because when someone says “trust me”, they’re asking you to base your decisions on their internal authority, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem following a leader, and I have a lot of respect for people who are able to base their decisions on their own internal authority. With that said, I also like to know why I’m doing something.

Still, you can bet that if someone says “trust me” to you, they have a solid sense of their own authority. And for some people, that’s enough to make them trustworthy.

2)  “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

As well as being a movie cliché, this line can also be a solid sign that someone bases their decisions on their own authority.

It’s a sure sign that they’re doing things through instinct and gut feeling. This often gets a bad reputation, but I find that instinct is usually based upon knowledge.

In other words, when someone has a bad feeling about something, it’s often because they’ve picked up on something that reminds them of something they’ve seen before.

In military circles, bad feelings can save people’s lives. You’ll want to pay attention to them outside of the military, too.

3) “I need to be true to my principles.”

It seems as though being true to your principles is going out of fashion, and that’s a shame.

The idea is that someone who’s true to their principles will always act in such a manner that it’s honest to who they are. If someone’s a vegetarian because they’re passionate about animal rights, it would be weird if they were also into hunting.

And so if someone is deciding what to do and they tell you that they need to be true to their principles, it’s a solid sign that their internal authority is helping them to make their decisions.

It’s also a decent indicator that they’re probably a fundamentally good person. But that really depends upon their principles.

4) “I trust my own judgement.”

The interesting thing about this one is that for those who base their decisions on internal authority, it’s almost so self-evident that they won’t bother to say it.

In fact, you could define people who base their decisions on internal authority by simply saying that they’re people who trust their own judgement.

Still, it’s a pretty good sign if someone says this line, and my only caution here would be to keep an eye on what they actually do.

They say that actions speak louder than words, and that’s very true. And so if someone says they trust their own judgement, make sure that they really do by keeping an eye on what they do.

People who lack empathy frequently say these phrases without realizing their impact 9 subtle phrases that reveal someone who bases decisions on internal authority

5) “I follow my own path.”

This touches on what we were talking about earlier and suggests that the person in question doesn’t give a hoot about conventional wisdom and instead prefers to do their own thing.

This means that almost everything they do in life will be determined by their internal authority and their own vision of where they want their life to lead them.

The thing to remember here is that if you’re being led by someone who follows their own path, you’ll need to make sure that their vision aligns with your own. Otherwise, they could lead you astray.

But ultimately, I’m of the opinion that everyone should follow their own path wherever possible. Life’s too short to do anything else.

6) “I follow the path that feels true to who I am.”

This subtle variant on the last phrase has a similar but slightly different meaning.

In fact, it’s basically a combination of phrase three and phrase five and shows that the person in question is allowing their decisions to be determined by their morals and their principles.

For me, this is perhaps the most important phrase of all, because it tells you everything you need to know about someone.

It also means that you can predict how they’re likely to act in any given situation, assuming that you know what their principles are.

7) “I’m being guided by my inner sense of purpose.”

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have figured out what our purpose in life is.

But for those of us who know why we’re here and what we want to achieve, allowing ourselves to be guided by our inner sense of purpose can help us to make sure that we’re always moving in the right direction.

In my case, my purpose is to surround myself with books and words and to write as much as possible. That makes it pretty easy for me to be guided by that sense of purpose.

If it’s a choice between reading a book and watching a movie, you can probably guess which one I’ll go for.

8) “My decisions reflect my values.”

This is another one of those phrases that’s quite similar to the others.

The idea here is that if someone makes decisions which reflect their values, they’re doing exactly what we said earlier and showing that their actions speak louder than their words.

And so if someone says this and they actually mean it, they won’t have to tell you the kind of person they are because you’ll just know.

They won’t need to tell you that they care about people who live on the streets because they’ll spend their weekends volunteering at the homeless shelter.

9) “I listen to my intuition.”

When someone listens to their intuition, it can often seem as though there’s no rhyme or reason to their decisions.

These are the kinds of people who might say they’ve got a bad feeling about something and thus avoid it. However, they’re just as likely to have a good feeling about something and so to do something unexpected.

The interesting thing about this phrase is that it’s a good sign for some people and a bad sign for others.

It really depends upon how much you’re willing to base your own decisions on someone else’s intuition.


Now that you know some of the phrases which reveal that someone bases their decisions on internal authority, you’re better placed to spot these people out in the wild.

You may even notice that you use some of these phrases yourself, in which case that suggests that you yourself tend to rely on your internal authority.

Just remember that this list is by no means exhaustive, and that you should also use these phrases as general indicators, rather than as cast iron rules. Other than that, you’re good to go!

Picture of Dane Cobain

Dane Cobain

Dane Cobain is a published author, freelance writer and (occasional) poet and musician with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not working on his next release, he can be found reading and reviewing books while trying not to be distracted by Wikipedia.

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