Friends, co-workers, romantic relationships- we give our power away in all kinds of relationships, often without realizing it. Here are 5 ways to reclaim your personal power:
By definition, reclaiming power means you’ve given it away at some point. Learning to spot when you have or are about to give someone else your power is key to nipping these struggles in the bud.
For example, do you hear yourself saying, “I don’t know/care; you decide.” Or, “What do you want me to do?” Especially when accompanied by feelings of regret, resentment, or resignation, statements like these can be a sign you are giving power away.
Being passive, indecisive, or waiting for someone else to do something for you can be disempowering. Of course, any of these things may be appropriate and legitimate, too, depending on the situation. It’s subtle, so observe the situation carefully.
Own Your Actions
The key to mastering communication and staying empowered is to own what you bring to the table. Spot your own shortcomings (without getting all victimy or judgy on yourself) and tell the other person—honestly.
If your partner shames, belittles, or tries to “will-bend” you, staying strong by owning your feelings in the moment can help him see how his actions affect you—without pointing fingers. For example, “When I feel like someone is trying to make me do something, I get defensive and stubborn.”
Let Them Own Their Stuff Too
We aren’t responsible for other people’s feelings (yeah, I know, you’ve learned otherwise). That doesn’t mean you should be mean or don’t have to take responsibility for the consequences of what you say/do. But if you speak your truth as consciously as you can and someone doesn’t like it—well, ultimately, that is their problem.
In other words, don’t care-take other people’s feelings and reactions. Let them come up with their own “owning.” You giving them a list of the stuff you’d like them to do feels like finger-pointing and blame.
Often owning our power—especially when we are new at it—feels like a battle to win. It can get kinda competitive and aggressive if you don’t watch out. If that happens while you are learning to stand up for yourself, don’t beat yourself up. But do look at why it happened and how you’d like things to go differently. Creating boundaries is essential to feeling empowered, but it’s not necessary to build and defend a fortress.
Cultivate Compassion and Self-Love
Learning good communication and practicing empowerment come when we love ourselves and are compassionate about our weaknesses, foibles, and fears. That love and compassion can be extended to the other people in our lives, and we learn to give and take in ways that feel good for everyone. Understanding that whoever we’re interacting with has similar fears and flaws helps open the door to empathy. If you can model this sort of compassion, others may follow suit.
Claiming your power in difficult relationships or situations is a practice that takes time. You may feel fine with some people and terrified of others. That’s normal. You can reflect on the relationships where you feel empowered to understand what qualities you can bring to those where you don’t feel that way. And remember, we’re all works in progress. Have patience with yourself as you face fears, develop new skills, and learn ways to consciously and compassionately develop your own personal power.
By Zada for Keen