Power is our ability to cause or influence an outcome and there are 3 main types of power we utilize. Firstly, we have personal power, which is the power we hold regardless of people or external situations. Our personal talents, skills, knowledge etc are all a part of our personal power. Then we have relational power this comes from the nature of a relationship and our level of influence in it. And finally we have situational power, which refers to external conditions, positions or situations that give power to one person or another.
Whilst our relational and situational power may fluctuate depending on who or what is happening, our personal power is always a place where a level of power can remain constant.
Yet regardless a wealth of power at our disposal, many of us can still feel states of complete powerlessness in our lives. This is because we frequently give our power away, we give it away in very subtle, unconscious ways to be liked, employed, loved and an array of other reasons until we feel completely powerless and also miffed as to why we feel this way.
I will attempt to expose some of these subtle power draining act in which we frequently engage, with this informative yet non exhaustive a list of how we can unknowingly give our power away.
1) People Pleasing
This is the act of going overboard to please another even to the extent of disregarding our own desires and sometimes values or beliefs for the purpose of pleasing another, in the hope they will view us as worthy and valuable.
This is an impossible situation since we’ve already disregarded ourselves it is very unlikely that another will see that which we have disregarded and place value on it and when they don’t we value ourselves even less. This brings us back to that old but very true saying ‘If you don’t love yourself no one else will’. The act of people pleasing will silently slurp away at your power tank until it is empty and not even leave a tip.
Take your power back by investing and valuing your own desires, values and beliefs and show who you really are, some people may not like the real you but the ones that do will be the perfect people for you.
2) Holding onto negative relationship
Everyone has or will come across someone at some point in their life, who at best doesn’t bring the best in us and at worst sucks the very life force from you. We can sometimes hold onto these toxic relationships, in the hope that our relational influence is strong enough to change the behaviour of another. Unfortunately we have no more the power to change an unwilling participant’s behaviour as we do making the sunrise in the morning. Whatever our reasons for holding on, when we’re engaged in such a relationship we constantly give of ourselves yet receive a negative in return. This very dynamic can have us feeling powerless to not only influence that relationship but also our circumstances and eventually our ability to walk away at all.
So walk away now whilst you are still aware you can and open the door to new, more positive relationships, which are deserving of your time and energy.
3) Giving in to that inner critic
You know the voice inside that tells us we can’t, we won’t, and we aren’t enough. That voice that takes every new idea or desire and tackles it to the ground before it’s even had the chance to leave your lips. Giving in to this harsh critic will steal every good idea, and any power you may have had with it. The great trickery of this critic, is the more we give into it the more power it takes until we are in the passenger’s seat of our own lives, whilst the critic drives.
You are enough, so be mindful to challenge this inner critic as you would any external bully and ensure it know its rightful place.
4) Not taking responsibility
When we don’t take responsibility for our actions, blame others or make excuses for what we have done we take away our personal power to influence our lives and also effect change, as we cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Again, the more we do this, the more personal power we give away until we feel completely powerless.
So take personal responsibility for all aspects of your life both good and bad and feel the rush of power that comes from being able to take ownerships of your actions and tweak things in a way that open things up to change.
5) Ignoring your inner guide
Bestselling author and speaker Lisa Nichols calls it your ‘Inner GPS’ others call it intuition, I believe that this inner guide is part of our personal power, the part of us that just knows something. So often this guide will chime in with a whisper of advise but we give this power away by dismissing it as nonsense or ignoring it because it doesn’t fit in with what we want (or worse) what someone else wants at that time.
Ignoring this guide often places us in situations that can diminish our well of personal, relational and situational power. Oprah Winfrey herself states that many of her major blunders in life came as a result of ignoring that inner voice, and that, that same voice has also been at the heart of every successful decision she has ever made.
So it may be time to harness that power within and start paying attention to those inner knowings we can’t quite explain, it could be trying to guide you away from harm and into your bliss.
Both relational and situational power rely on external interactions or circumstances which are largely outside of our control, whilst our personal power is our own special supply which remains independent of any external thing and is something that everyone has whether they are aware of it or not. It is our key to the kind of happiness, inner strength and wellbeing that no external situation or person can provide, so stop giving it away but instead keep that key close, acknowledge, respect and replenish the tank.
‘All the resources you need lie within’
Written by Angelena Lewis
Personal Development Coach at LIVIN FOCUS to find out more go to ABOUT LIVIN FOCUS