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February 7, 2016

How we Give our Power Away & Ways to Reclaim It.

girl umbrella float

“Stop asking why they keep doing it and start asking why you keep allowing it.”

I am absolutely guilty as much as the next person of giving my power away. It’s something I think we unconsciously do, without even realizing we’re doing it.

We give our personal power away every time we let someone push our buttons, make us feel “less than,” intimidate or bully us into doing things, or make us feel guilty.

We give our power away every time we allow someone else to make us feel judged, controlled, or defensive when we know we’ve done nothing to deserve it.

We give it away when we allow someone else to shame us, guilt us or stop us from expressing ourselves or being who we are.

I love myself too much to allow this anymore.

As strong, feisty and self-assured as I am, I found that I often gave my power away to others in an effort to be liked or to not create waves. I don’t like confrontation and I seek to have peace at any cost, so if that meant giving in or staying silent, I would.

Let me tell you something about my silence though: it doesn’t mean I’m giving in or allowing someone to walk all over me or bully me.

I see it as not giving my energy to a person or situation who just isn’t worth it. I’ve come to realize that with certain people in my life, it’s better to not try to defend myself, make excuses or fight… but to simply stop engaging with them to take my power back.

Silence says a lot more than words sometimes.

We all have people in our lives who we allow to make us feel this way. It can be somebody we work with, one of our parents, our spouse or partner, a close friend, or even perfect strangers. We somehow feel “obligated” to please them—because we want to be liked or accepted.

I used to find myself saying, “This person (Insert name) always makes me feel like sh*t about myself!”  which was often met with this wise response from a friend:

“Nobody can make you feel anything unless you allow it.”

So I’ve stopped allowing it.

I talk to so many people who feel trapped, oppressed, bullied, judged, and depressed—all over something that somebody else has done or said to them. These are some of the most common ways we tend to give our power away to other people:

When we continue to blame other people for our circumstances or how we feel, we are giving our power away. If we believe that the way we feel, the choices we make, or the things we hold ourselves back from saying or doing is somebody else’s fault and not ours, we’re wrong.

Taking our power back means that we stop allowing what other people say or do to affect us. We move forward without worrying about what their reaction is going to be because it’s the right thing for us.

It also means owning our own feelings. Yes, somebody might say something to make us feel stupid, guilty or ashamed, but we choose to allow their words to have that impact on us. Remember, they’re just words and it’s one person’s opinion.

The only opinion that should matter in this world is your own opinion about yourself.

When we continue to feel like the victim because of something somebody else has done, we’re giving our power away. We don’t need to allow what another person did to us to define the rest of our lives. All of us are 100 percent responsible for how we choose to react to what life throws our way.

We can choose to be angry, bitter, depressed and resentful or we can use the experience to grow and make better choices in the future.

My motto is live, learn, have a good f*cking cry over it and then move on. Why let people who hurt us continue to do so by not letting it go and moving on with our lives? They don’t suffer because we’re still suffering. The only people who continue to suffer is us.

When we make excuses for why we don’t do something or leave a bad situation that’s making us unhappy, we’re giving our power away. The most common complaint I hear from people is that they feel “trapped” in a bad marriage, relationship, job or situation that they feel they can’t get out of.

Most of the time what they feel they can’t get out of is nothing more than fear of what it’ll take to actually do it.

Change and risk is uncomfortable. Leaving something we know, even something that makes us miserable still means leaving the familiar and embarking on the unknown. This is really where faith comes in—in ourselves and the universe—that we are deserving of so much more and will be okay after we make that change, no matter how difficult it is.

When we give others’ opinions and feelings more value than our own, we are giving our power away. Nobody’s opinion about our life and what we’re doing with it should mean more than our own. We’re the directors of our own lives and the inhabitants of our own hearts, which means that only we know what we long for, what we truly desire, and what is best for us.

When we allow other people’s opinions to dictate our choices, we’re giving away our power. I have a friend in a miserable marriage whose family told her they felt she couldn’t do better than her husband and that they didn’t feel she was strong enough to be on her own.

I asked her what she believed, and of course she knows this is completely untrue. But when our families say something to us, we can second guess ourselves and think, “Maybe I’m wrong and need to listen to them.”

Listen only to your own heart…and your gut. The best way to take your power back is to believe in yourself and refuse to listen to people who tell you “you shouldn’t” or “you can’t.” You should and you can, so do it.

The number one way we can start living from a place of power and fulfillment in our lives is to own every single choice we make and then ask ourselves: “What’s not making me happy, and do I think I’m deserving of more?”

If our answer is yes, we deserve more—and dear God I hope it is because all of us deserve to be happy, empowered, and in control of our own lives—then we need to start trusting ourselves, letting go of what other people think and be willing to stand for what we want without fear.

Stop allowing other people to dilute or poison your day with words or opinions. Stand strong in the truth of your beauty and journey through your day without the attachment of validation from others.” ~ Dr. Steve Maraboli

 

Author: Dina Strada

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Jeff Finley/Flickr

Dina Strada

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