Do you feel as if you’ve given away your personal power? I do, too. So, how do we get it back? That’s a question I’ve been grappling with recently.
I’ve always seen myself as a woman who stood in her personal power. I asked for what I wanted and went after my dreams. I spoke up—even if I sometimes had to deal with the repercussions. I showed up and played big...not small.
Over the last year, I took a close and critical look at myself, and I discovered something quite disturbing. I was no longer a woman who stood in her power. In fact, I was reticent to express it at all.
I let my fear of being judged, losing love, being left, not meeting others’ expectations strip me of my power. I allowed myself to shrink and play small as a way to get along, be liked and loved, and feel safe.
I realized that I gave away my personal power. No one took it from me. I handed pieces of it to people and situations at all stages of my life.
Access Your Power
To take back my power, I could retrace the steps of my life. I could find where and to whom I gave it away and ask for it back.
But I don’t need to ask for something that is mine and has never left my possession. If I do that, and the request is denied, I continue to believe I have lost power.
I have not, and neither have you.
In fact, all that personal power resides within me still…right now…always. It is inherent to who I am. I decide how much of it to use in my day-to-day life.
I can blame people and situations and say they “took” my personal power, but that’s not true. I also can blame myself and say I “gave it away.” These are * interpretations* of what happened and a way for me to continue choosing not to stand in my power.
The truth is that I decided to tamp down my personal power and express less of it. But it is all still within me and accessible—if I choose to access it.
Therefore, I need to reclaim it from myself—not from anyone else. The negotiation is not with others; it’s with me.
I need to take responsibility for how much personal power I express at any time. If I feel powerless, I can change that with a decision to access the personal power that has been within me all along.
If you relate to my story, the same is true of you.
You may have already realized that your claim to have “lost” or “given away” your personal power is a form of denial. It’s a shirking of responsibility by saying your lack of power is someone else’s fault.
Thus, the first step to reclaiming it involves acknowledging that it is there—inside. Then take responsibility for accessing and using it.
You can “find” your personal power by looking inside. It’s there and has been all along.
Exercise Your Personal Power
The second step requires allowing yourself to feel and use your personal power. For that to happen, you have to exercise it. (I do not mean taking it on a walk or putting it on a treadmill.)
Relearn how to use it by speaking up and taking actions aligned with who you are and want to be and what you want to create. And do these things without worry about the repercussions of doing so.
Believe in yourself and your worth. Love yourself. These are exercises that strengthen personal power.
Practice being you. Every single human has an enormous amount of power within, and that includes you. Be authentic. Speak your mind. Do the things you feel passionate about, create the things you desire, and be the person you know, deep down inside, you are or can be. That’s how you stand in our power.
By giving away my power, I became a different version of myself. I no longer expressed myself authentically. Instead, I covered up the real me and kept it hidden inside.
I was a shell. I showed the outer world a facade. Those who knew me best no longer recognized me. Sadly, I didn’t recognize myself—inside or out—either.
How can you express your true self if you are hiding it? It’s impossible, is it not?
And that’s what you do every time you don’t ask a question, express your needs and desires, or let your emotions flow. You hide your authentic self by living in a way you think will help you get along with others or give them what they want.
Each time you do these things, YOU are left out of the equation. You make others more important than you—and you tamp down your power.
Become Strong Again
Let’s not do that anymore, okay?
Instead, let’s exercise our personal power in 10 ways. In the process, we will relearn how to access and develop the strength and knowledge of using it.
1. Speak Up
Don’t stuff your words down your throat out of fear. Instead, let them out! Speak from your heart and soul even if you are afraid of how your words will be received. Say what’s on your mind.
Words are enormously creative. So use them wisely to create what you want and deserve. That’s a great use of your personal power.
One caution: Don’t explode or speak with anger or great force and volume. Doing so may seem like standing in your power, but such actions are more likely an attempt to control others and express old negative emotions.
2. Express Your Emotions
Words often lead to emotions. Express what you are feeling. Don’t stuff your emotions under the metaphorical rug. That’s a way of covering up your power. And, eventually, you will trip over them and fall.
The same caution is worth repeating here: Screaming, yelling, bawling, or smashing things is not a way to stand in your power. These strong emotions are best expressed with a therapist or on your own. Once you’ve released them, you will find it easier to share your emotions from a place of power.
Keep this oft-shared wisdom in mind: “In your vulnerability lies your strength.” Allow yourself to be vulnerable by expressing emotions. The people who care will appreciate this and relate to you. In fact, emotions are powerful connectors.
3. Take Action Toward Your Dreams
What have you dreamed of creating or achieving…but put on the back burner? Take action! Listen to your heart and soul. Follow your intuition, passion, and inspiration.
Love yourself enough to follow your dreams and make your difference. Doing so taps into the power within.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s this: We never know how long we will live. Don’t die with regrets. Realize your dreams today—not tomorrow.
4. Do What You Want
Do what you want to do—not what other people think you should do (or what they want to do). What makes you happy—reading a book, playing piano, eating pizza, or taking a walk? Do that.
Perhaps your spouse likes to do laundry and empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning, but you want to meditate and journal. It’s fine. Make it clear that you plan to have your morning “me time.” After that, you can help with laundry or dishes.
Do the things that feed your soul and make you feel happy and fulfilled.
5. Opt Out of Situations and Relationships that Make You Want to Give Your Power Away
No one or thing can make you feel insignificant or powerless. You choose to feel that way.
If you become aware that certain people and situations cause you to feel this way, opt out. Make a different choice. Refuse to shrink or cower. Stand big and tall.
And find people and situations where you can be your authentic self and stand in your power. They are out there and will appreciate you.
6. Trust Yourself
It’s easy to question what you know you need to do. Don’t second guess your intuition or inner knowing. Instead, trust it. Trust yourself.
You know what is best for you. No matter what anyone else says, you know… Stop overthinking. Let fear go.
If you have doubt, get quiet. Ask yourself, “What is in my highest good right now?” Listen…and trust. Then take action.
7. Be Brave
Fear is the water that extinguishes the fire of your personal power. Every time you worry about the future, you stop yourself from tapping into your power.
You can’t wait for courage. Take bold action.
You are braver than you think. Know that the future holds good things for you, and what you desire is on the other side of fear.
8. Forgive Yourself
Beating yourself up for giving away your personal power won’t help you feel more powerful. Instead of condemnation, be forgiving.
You did what you felt was necessary at the time. But now—in the present moment—you are different. The situation is different. And you can make new choices.
Choose to forgive yourself. That’s powerful.
9. Stop Searching
And stop searching for your personal power as if you lost it somewhere along the way. Just as no one took it away, you haven’t misplaced it.
It’s inside you. It’s yours to use.
So don’t waste any more time and energy retracing your steps and trying to find the pieces or your power.
Just imagine yourself expressing it, and your personal power will rise to the surface and give you access.
10. Remember Your Worth
A wise coach and colleague recently reminded me that personal power grows out of self-worth. You can’t feel worthless and powerful at the same time.
To raise your self-worth level, list the following:
- your unique characteristics
- your achievements and successes
- your gifts and talents
Keep these lists handy. Read them several times a day.
Know that no one—not a single person—is worthless. That means you have worth, too.
And when you feel worthy, you stop tolerating. Instead, you stand in your power and ask for what you deserve. (And if you don’t get it, you find a way to create it.)
Use Power Wisely
Personal power is not about controlling anyone. (Allowing others to have power over you got you here, and you’re not too happy about that fact, right?.) It’s about being your authentic self and creating the life you want.
Yes, increase your power. Feel it coursing through your entire being. But use that personal power wisely.
Use it to become the person you know you can and are meant to be, realize your dreams, and create a life that feeds your soul. Use it to express your love of self and worth and to stand up for yourself. And use your personal power to contribute to the world and support other people’s growth and expansion.
How are you regaining and expressing your personal power? Tell me in a comment below. And if you know anyone who feels powerless, please share this post with them.
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Photo courtesy of Andrew Neel.