* 5 minute read *
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” - Alice Walker
“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.”- Barbara de Angelis
Think of a time when you’ve come home from a social event, let’s say a party or some kind of work-related networking thing, somewhere where you were meeting and interacting with new people or people that you thought were important or interesting. Have you ever come home from this kind of event and later felt uncomfortable with yourself and grumpy?
Now imagine that same feeling. Is it a similar feeling to what you’ve felt after having a conversation with someone at work where your opinion has been compromised or hasn’t been heard?
Have you ever rushed into a relationship or become too intimate too soon? Have you felt a similar uncomfortable feeling?
What is it about these interactions with other people that leave us feeling this way? What is this uncomfortable feeling?
I want to suggest that this is the feeling that comes from giving away our power and I want to argue that our power is 100% within our control.
What does it mean to give away our personal power?
When we are more invested in the opinions and approval of others we give away our personal power.
When we put more value in the needs of others than in our own needs we give away our personal power.
How do we give away our personal power?
We can give away our personal power easily and in small ways that we might not even notice or think don’t really matter. But trust me, THEY DO! Here are a few examples:
- When we don’t speak up when someone says something we don’t agree with
- When we give expecting something in return
- When we try to impress other people
- When we use money, status or sex to manipulate or influence someone
- When we blame others
- When we wait around for someone else to fix our problems
Do any of these moments sound familiar?
These might be isolated moments but these isolated moments are really important to acknowledge because when we add them together they become habits and these habits eventually become behaviours that shape our identity.
The freedom to live our life to it’s full potential is not something that exists “out there”. Our freedom lies in the everday moments of our life and in the tiny choices we make with each of these moments.
Only we hold the key to our personal freedom.
Only we have the power to live to our full potential.
Nobody can make us feel a certain way.
While we can’t always control what happens to us in life or how we are treated, we can control what meaning we choose to give a situation. This is a gamechanger! Once we choose to remove external blame from a situation we begin taking personal responsibility. And this responsibility is in fact very liberating, beacuse no longer are we giving other people power over how we feel. Instead we are claiming the freedom to give our experiences and situations the meaning that we choose to ascribe to them. And this is what it means to hold on to our power!
So, I’d like to challenge you this week to consider:
- Think about something in your life that is currently upsetting you. What role does another person or people have in contributing to this negative feeling? Consider how in holding others responsible we are sacrificing our own personal freedom.
- Look at the list of small examples of giving away power mentioned earlier. Choose one or identify one of your own to consciously practice holding on to your power over the next week. For example, for the next seven days make it your conscious goal to not blame anybody.
Til next week, stay powerful and Be Awesome!
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