You’ve probably already read the article on Taking Back My Power, but in case you haven’t check it out as there is some useful stuff there.
What does being in My Power look like?
For me, this is one of the first steps to authenticity. It’s saying Yes when you mean Yes, and saying No when you mean No. It’s knowing your own value system, your ethics, your tolerations and being prepared to stand by them. Sometimes it’s easier to look at what it’s not first though.
How do I give away My Power?
A common example I see on a regular basis is people will say “but my Dr said this….” like their Dr is God. Yes, Dr’s are very well qualified but they are experts in disease and in the pharmaceutical or surgical solutions to those disease. They are not experts in nutrition, in fact most Drs have never studied nutrition, and they are certainly not experts in alternative approaches.
But let’s look at some more day to day examples, because these are often so habitual we don’t even notice that we do them.
If you are in the habit of “people pleasing”, which is a very common way of giving away your power, you will probably have at least one close friend like this. This friend will always want to dictate where you meet, what you do together and it will be very much on their timescale. They may regularly let you down and expect that to be totally acceptable. And you will find yourself making excuses for them, rather than raising your standards and saying “no, I’m worth more than this”.
Another common situation is the friend or partner who constantly puts you down. Often in very subtle ways, almost so subtle that it would take someone else to notice, but it chips away at your self-confidence and you start to believe that you are nothing, that you are not enough, that you are less than worthy. As long as you allow it, you are not in your personal power. You are not being true to yourself.
An example that is more pertinent to women than men is regarding salary. One of my female friends recently discovered that a male colleague who was not performing as well as her was being paid 25% more than she was. Her male boss had made a big thing of how grateful she should be for the salary she was getting a few weeks before this discovery. How she is choosing to deal with this is not something I can share here. The point is, this happens a lot, and many women feel totally powerless to deal with it because it’s “normal” in the workplace and they often can’t afford the risk of losing their job or being branded a trouble maker. Societal norms often make us feel that there is no way through situations like this, so we suffer in silence.
Another example of giving away your power is to always let someone else decide for you. I once dated a man who would not make a decision as to what we did in our free time. He always wanted me to decide. Not only is that very frustrating to be on the receiving end of, it made him far less attractive and was a big reason as to why I ended the relationship. It was like dating a little boy, who needed his hand holding all the time. Had he not been so physically attractive and so much fun to be with, I doubt he would have lasted at all. The question is - do you defer decisions that you should make to other people. And when you do, how does it leave you feeling?
What makes us Give Our Power Away?
I think there are only a few fundamental reasons why we do it. The emotion is often fear, though sometimes it can be shame. Many people are fearful of speaking their truth in case they lose face, lose money, lose friends or lose social standing. We do a lot to maintain the status quo.
It is definitely a case of “pick your battles”. You may decide in certain circumstances that it is acceptable and you will continue to do it. But this often leads to a build up of resentment which often results in a bigger, more uncontrolled outburst (see Stage 2) than is necessary if things were clarified and owned at an earlier date.
Be observant. See where you give away your power, and evaluate the cost to you. And if the cost is unacceptable it’s time to step into your power and speak your truth.