I remember days when I felt I had no voice. When what I thought and what I did were separate entities. I could write a very long blog post about the instances where I felt I had no power, but I do not need specifics here–and most are my own private life-stuff. Most all of us at one time or another has felt powerless against some force that has pushed its will upon us. I also know there were times I felt powerless when I really was not. I either was too afraid, or too naïve, or so used to how things were rather than how they could be that I did not make a change; I did not find my Voice, or my Power.
I so very often gave away my power to someone else. I don’t mean physical power, though I like being muscular and strong and able to take physical care of myself. I mean standing up tall and strong in how you live your life, how you expect others to treat you, and how you treat others. Power does not mean bullying or aggression or mean-spirited natures. Power means standing up for your beliefs; standing up for what you know is right for you despite when someone or some situation may be forcing their/its will upon you for their/its own good and not yours–however, Power is also compromise: you must find the difference between compromise and giving away your power by tapping into your gut and your heart, by having conversations with those involved, by listening just as much as you want to be heard.
Power is not letting past experiences define your Now Reality. Power is not forgetting what someone has done to you, but letting go of what they have done to you and saying, “This person no longer has control over my thoughts. I will not give this person one more minute of my time. They no longer deserve my time. It is no longer any of my business what they think or do or be.” Power is sometimes doing the difficult thing or saying the difficult thing because doing or saying that thing will take you places you never thought you could go–whether metaphorically or spiritually or physically or metaphysically. Power may mean Big Change, and that’s scary. Once we decide to take back our power, it often means we have to make a change, and that can hold us back. I so know this, and so do you.
Power is when you feel strong and capable and in control of your life instead of the chaos of life and situations and people having “control” of you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It doesn’t mean you don’t have anxiety. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel sad or grief or loss. It means you step forward even though you are afraid of the dark space ahead–what if there’s a cliff there? What if I free-fall? Then maybe you sprout some wings and fly. Or maybe you fall on your face and it hurts like hell. There’s risks in taking back your power, your life. I won’t lie. There will be stumbles and mistakes. But how do you know until you try what takes you somewhere you always needed to go?
The more power you take back the more control you feel, and the less anxiety and chaos reigns. I’m all about Chaos–my peaheaded brain flippity flops and zippity zaps all over creation. I’m jittery and wild. I can be impulsive. But don’t let all that fool you–I am strong. I am capable. I know my power. Do I sometimes falter? Yeah, you better believe it–because I’m also human. And so are you. Find the quiet places and figure out just where you need to take back your power and why and how, and just where you need to step back and let things “be” for a while. Your gut will know. You know.
One day, I had a conversation with someone, who said, “I really want to say something, but I’m afraid of the consequences.” I looked at her: this woman who is smart, capable, beautiful, and I wanted to tell her, “You have more power than you think.” But I hesitated. What if I convinced her to speak up and the consequences she was afraid of happened? What good would her power be to her then? Of course, if the situation she is in warrants such care, such fear of reprisal, wouldn’t she be better off out of the situation? So I told her, “You have more power than you think.” And then I shut up. It’s not for me to decide what she must do or say. That is her journey.
If I speak up or if I leave a situation I am unhappy in or if I decide to do this or not to do that or if I do not put up with bullshit or if I do put up with bullshit because at the end of that bullshit is something worth the effort, and as a result negative consequences rain down on my peahead, my power will feel intact because I’m facing my fears; I’m doing what’s best for me or for mine. I’m taking my lumps, too. This does not mean I go about callously disregarding feelings and tossing people and situations to the curb at every turn. It means I dig deep and figure out what I need to do to keep my power so I feel less helpless and choatic. So that I feel strong and sure I am doing or saying the right thing even if my knees are quaking and I’m scared witless. People confuse “courage” with someone doing something they are not afraid to do—courage is taking action even though one is afraid.
Looking into this woman’s eyes, I could see that she was not ready to perceive her power in that way. She will see the outcome as disastrous. One learns that there is always something else. There is always another. There is always the next thing. There are some situations that are just not worth the anxiety, or the discomfort, or the sad, or the anger, or the fear, or the stress. For too many years of my life I waited—waited for the right time, the right place, the right mindset. I don’t want to say I “wasted” my time, but I wasted my power!
I wanted to pass my power on to this woman, to tell her to stand up for herself, to give her the eyes to see inward to the power she possesses, but I could not. She must find it for herself.
We have a choice to say in some instances where we feel strongly enough, “Sorry you don’t see it my way. But, I’m standing firm.” And then, if we have to, we walk away, and in some instances, we will walk away with a big fat grin, swinging our arms to the tune of some powerful anthem we once heard.