Friday, July 23, 2010

Giving away your power

Often when I'm working with clients particular themes come through over a period of days or weeks. Even though the specifics are different, there are strong similarities.

When that happens I know I need to *pay attention* because there's something for me to learn and understand ... and sometimes to share with you.

There are several themes weaving their way through my practice at the moment but the one I want to talk about now is giving away your power.

What does giving away your power mean to you?

Do you have a sense of having power?

Does the word have a positive or negative feeling to you?

Most of us don't really think a lot about having power and what that means. And meanwhile give away our power all the time.

So what am I talking about here?

Giving away your power can be things like ...
  • worrying about what other people think
  • spending time with people who drain your energy or make you feel bad about yourself
  • putting the needs of others before your own and then resenting it
  • repeatedly putting yourself in situations that make you feel unhappy
  • deciding you have no control over certain situations and feeling helpless
  • letting your work take over your life and stop you looking after yourself
  • thinking you have no choice but to feel a certain way because *insert reason*
  • feeling like you need to explain or justify yourself to do what's best for you

Do you do any of these things?

Often the realisation we are giving away our power is powerful in itself.

We've often never even thought about it.

Why would I do that, we wonder, that will never work!

If you're doing one or more of these things, it might just be a matter of becoming aware ... and choosing differently in the future. It's often just a mental shift.

So, what might taking your power back mean?

It will be different for everyone ... these are the kinds of things that it has meant for clients lately. See if anything stands out for you:

Taking responsibility for how you feel within yourself. Making decisions that feel good for you. Doing your own thing and not worrying what others think. Putting your needs first so that when you do need to be there for others, you can feel good about it, rather than resentful.

Taking control of your attitude to your situation. Calmly standing your ground when people are aggressive or rude to you and realising it's probably to do with them and not you.

Spending time with people who support you ... and being supportive of yourself when this is not possible, for example, in a difficult work environment. Spending some time alone if you need it. Doing things that nurture you. Being gentle with yourself.

Choosing to love and accept yourself regardless of what's going on around you.

The shift

It has been interesting to see that once clients have worked on this ... the situation or the people around them don't necessarily change ... but their whole perspective does. When they come back for their next session and I ask how it's all going, there's a major shift.

"Oh I decided not to spend time with that person/those people for now, it just doesn't make me feel good"

"I've been more confident and clear at work and people seem to realise I mean it and everything is going more smoothly"

"I've just been focusing on what I need to do and I haven't even been thinking about what other people think"

"It hasn't really changed but it doesn't seem to bother me anymore, I feel in control"

It doesn't have to be hard

The interesting thing my clients have been saying is that when they take back their power, there is rarely the resistance from other people, work or whatever it was they imagined was holding them back.

When we shift, it all shifts.

Most of the time, there doesn't even seem to be comment, let alone the conflict or confrontation they may have initially feared. This is probably because some of the emotion has been defused. Taking back your power is not an act of anger or force. It doesn't have to be hard. It can be easy. Gentle.

It's a Sovereignty thing

Havi calls this kind of thing Sovereignty and defines it like this:

“the spiritual quality of not giving a shit.”
“the state of not giving a damn what people think because you are the king or queen of your life.”
“being at home in your body and your life.”
“knowing that you are only responsible for your stuff, not for anyone else’s.”

What do power or sovereignty mean for you at the moment? Do share!

Image: by d3b...*


  1. I can relate to this! It has taken me a long time to realise that I can't control what other people do - only how I respond and react to them. And i can't control what other people think about me, only what I think of myself.

  2. Very timely indeed! I realised as I was reading it that I was giving away my power right at that moment, and making myself feel quite rubbish in the process. Why would I do that??! And yet at the same time I seemed quite happy about it and found a lot of resistance to changing it...hmmm, something to think about there!

    Anyway I did manage to transform it that afternoon, I didn't suddenly feel heaps better but here's hoping I will live in my power more next time it arises...

  3. Yeah it's not always quickly solved that's for sure. Just the awareness is often not enough - I guess that's why I love Kinesiology (had a session this morning!)

    Did you see this post from Seth on the perfect problems that keep us stuck?

    "Perfect because they have constraints, unbendable constraints, constraints that keep us trapped. I hate my job, I need this job, there's no way to quit, to get a promotion or to get a new boss, no way to move, my family is in town, etc.

    We're human, that's what we do--we erect boundaries, constraints we can't ease, and we get trapped."

    There might be another blog post in that! :)

  4. Just read this at the right time.... certainly been something that I have been thinking about for the past few weeks..... and the message has been getting stronger and louder. Feels good to realise it! (My first comment on your blog.... sorry it has taken so long... love your work)