How often have you been told something and you believe it? Even by a professional. For example, my English teacher said I’m no good at English, therefore it has to be true, therefore, I cant write a book, be a blogger, write a report etc. The doctor told me I have to take these tablets, so I do. My boss told me I have to do this task. My boyfriend told me I’m fat. How often do we believe this and take it to be true and never question, never research and never find out our own answers? Others beliefs and projections become our own reality and what it serves to do is stop us in our tracks and we remain small, we remain the person other people see and we do not live our life as we wish, or dream the dreams we want.
I have definitely done this many times, asked opinions of others and followed that. Not asked myself, not researched and it has cost me dearly. Like the time my ex boss told me to buy some share options instead of sell them. I did, it cost me £3,000 which I duly lost as the share price plummeted. Not only that had I sold them I would have made £5,000 instantly. That was a bit of a sting for me.
Giving away our power stops us taking responsibility for our lives, for our decisions, for what we know feels right for us. It means there is someone else to blame if it all goes wrong, it means we don’t have to make decisions and face the consequences, good or bad. It also means that we are not being true to ourselves. We do not test out that theory, we do not question, we stay dumbed down and limited by someone elses beliefs and opinions and most of all, it squashes our dreams and diminishes our light.
We can give our power away in many ways and often it is driven by fears and insecurities. We can hand over our power in the workplace, always doing as we are told, maybe even conforming when we know it doesnt feel right. In relationships, we can keep quiet, do what we feel is expected of us to keep a relationship, often at the expense of ourselves. Financially, we can hand over all that responsibility to another or not even keep track of our spending resulting in debt or someone else spending all our hard earned money.
When we realise we have given our power away, a range of emotions can surface, shame, anger, disappointment, hurt, betrayal etc. Somehow we feel a disturbance within ourselves. When people are in extremes of powerlessness they can be bullied, abused, controlled and manipulated by others. Often blaming others for their discomfort yet being unwilling to accept they had a part to play because they gifted their power to another. Their ability to make decisions for themselves is practically non-existent and they are at the mercy of others to come in, rescue them or even take control of their lives.
In the workplace this is rife, how often are we attached to having to do something for someone else out of obligation or fear. How often do we sit and say nothing, when we know decisions are being made that goes against our values and ethics and could have a long term impact for the company, people, the environment? How often do we do what we are told and do not question? How much are we prepared to sit back and say others are right when we know it could be different or actually it doesn’t feel right to us just because someone has a more senior position than us? How often do we work late, constantly check emails and be available even though it is draining to our personal health and well being?
We do not need to give our power away, we need to keep and cultivate it for ourselves and then allow and empower others to do the same.
Here are my top tips for reclaiming your power:
- Know how you are feeling – often when we have given our power away, we are aware of how others feel, yet totally unaware how we feel ourselves. As a result of this, we are using other peoples guidance instead of our own. This navigates their path not ours. When we use our own feelings, we know when something does not feel good for us, we know when we are being taken advantage of and this can empower us to know what we want to do, or even how we would like to be feeling.
- Know what you want – have you asked yourself this question or not? Often when we have given our power away a lot (I was in this camp), we never ask ourselves what do I want. We are always looking at what others want, what keeps others happy, what they like. When we know what we want, we can see if we are navigating the right course to make this happen, or are we being sidetracked by other peoples wants and needs. Do you really want to go on that night out? Is it convenient for your friend to come over now? Do you really want to stay late at work to finish a piece of work that someone else has been disorganised with making happen?
- Say no – to be able to reclaim your power it is important to learn how to say no to the wants, needs and demands of others. This can be quite a challenge to begin with as it can mean facing a fear of conflict, of rejection, of annoying someone else. I wont lie to you, these things can happen. What I have to say though, in avoiding this you are basically saying someone else is more important than you and if you express yourself with honesty and authenticity then you know you have spoken your truth. How someone chooses to respond to that is their business. If your friend doesn’t respect you for saying no in this way, then what kind of friend are they?
- Stop playing the victim, the rescuer or the perpetrator. Basically get off the drama triangle. Notice which part you are prone to playing. Embrace the fact that at some point you have been one or all of these parts and acknowledge why you did it and what it gave you. Then empower yourself. See the drama and move to the side. These dramas are such energy drainers and take away your power and keep you stuck in a cycle for potentially a long time.
- Build up your power – I use tai chi and qi gong to do this, so building that internal life force energy within me. This serves a purpose to get me more connected to my body and also to strengthen my inner power. Over time as I have practised I find I have noticed when I have given my power away and also that I can stand in my own power knowing I don’t need to give or take from others. The need for a power struggle has subsided. Find your own practice be it yoga, tai chi, qi gong or something that works for you, that gets you into your body and connected to your power centre.
- Be mindful of when you are apologising – people pick up a lot from our body language, the tone of our voice and the words we use. If you are used to people pleasing, giving your power away, being a victim, likely it will show in your body and your voice. Be mindful of how you hold yourself. Do you cower down around people? Do you apologise for what you are saying even though you know if feels right to you? Do you remain really softly spoken even when your trying to get a powerful point across. Is your body saying to others I’m open to being bullied, you can shout at me and I wont say anything? Get some trusted friends to give you some honest feedback and with a few tweaks to your vocal power and presence, you will be giving off a totally different energy vibe.