I remember a time in my life when I was convinced everyone hated me.
In fact, a girl in middle school told me everyone hated me, and I believed it.
I remember caving in and turning my light off. I told myself it wasn’t safe to expose the truth of who I really am, because that truth is not likable. So I gave my power away and changed myself. I developed a likable personality based on the approval and disapproval of others.
Now as a conscious adult, I realize that not everyone is going to like me. Not everyone will approve of me, and sometimes people will judge me and even be mean. As much as I have consciously accepted these aspects of life, I am noticing they can still be triggering and have a deeper impact on me than I want: they can still cause me to give my power away.
Just recently I had an experience where this happened. I met a great guy with whom I had amazing chemistry, but I didn’t get a clear read on whether or not he wanted to see me again. I had been my complete self with him—real, raw, vulnerable and exposed. After we parted, I felt powerless. I couldn’t understand why, until I realized I wanted to know if he wanted to see me again so I could be sure the realness I showed him was likable and worthy of love.
As someone who prides herself on being a powerful, independent, wild woman, I couldn’t handle this kind of dependence. I know that love and affection and approval are beautiful and necessary in my life, but I also know I don’t want to give my power away to someone in this way, relying on their approval to help me feel safe at the core of my being. To help me know it’s okay to be me.
I knew I had to get my power back, but I didn’t know how. I tried affirmations, mantras and spending time with my solar plexus, but I couldn’t reel myself back in. I kept pining for his approval. My desire for approval felt so deep, it felt like it would take years to figure out. This only made me feel more powerless.
And then I was introduced to a question that instantly brought my power back. In a second, everything made perfect sense, and all the power I’d been giving away flooded back into my body. I released the pressure I was putting on this guy, and surrendered to an inner knowing that whatever is supposed to happen will unfold exactly as it should.
If you are experiencing something in your life where you feel powerless, where you feel like you have no control, or where you are afraid of the rejection or judgment of others, ask yourself this:
Who do you want to be in the face of not getting what you want?
There are many aspects of our lives we can’t control, but we can always decide how we want to respond. Choosing who we want to be when we don’t get what we want—including the approval of others—is how we reclaim our power.
Who do you want to be if others reject you? Judge you? Are mean to you? Do you want to change and adjust yourself for their approval? Or do you want to stand firm in your realness, in the raw, powerful vulnerability that makes you who you are? That realness that allows your uniqueness to shine. That true, authentic self that yearns to share its gifts with the world.
You have the power to decide.
Author: Allison Dryja
Editor: Catherine Monkman