Several years ago my mentor at the time posed the question ‘where, what or who are you giving your power away to?’ It took me a while to fully understand what she meant but have since realised that the question was a gift that keeps on giving because it’s stuck with me and is one I come back to again and again. I see the question as a gift because it’s often relevant, has provided many answers and been adapted in many situations to help me see how I might be giving my power away but also how to reclaim it pretty quickly. This process has been hugely helpful in continued development of self-awareness and compassion, seeing or applying those same qualities to others and importantly forces me to be very honest with myself.
What does power even mean anyway? What does it look and feel like? Those answers are likely to vary amongst us but I felt called to share my thoughts and experiences that might resonate, be supportive or offer food for thought.
Power is seen by some country leaders as being able to control and manipulate but if we consider that this kind of action is likely to be driven by fear and inadequacy then the reality is actually someone abusing being in a powerful position. This kind of ‘power’ isn’t helpful and can create feelings of hopelessness but as soon as we feel hopeless we have given away our power. Of course we can’t necessarily do anything that will directly counteract what is going on in the wider picture but equally wallowing in despair and not taking responsibility for what we can control doesn’t help any of us. So what to do?
Personally, my power lies in my energy so it starts by being mindful about where that is being expended. If we consider that everything is energy we start to see how quickly it can become absorbed or depleted, then we get to choose where we can do things differently or use it more wisely. This applies to our body & mind, our time and the company we keep. That last part is often seen as controversial but is true – I’m sure we’ve all been around people that leave us feeling a little zapped of energy. Sometimes we have a choice whether or not we spend time with these people and sometimes we don’t. If we do decide that there is someone we can no longer spend time with we can choose how to handle that departure and the least energy draining way is to send them love, wish them well and move on. For many of us we will have people in our lives and places we must go that are unavoidable so taking exquisite care of our energy becomes very important. This can be done by setting very clear boundaries around such interactions and cleansing our energy after being in places that might leave us a bit deflated. Clearing our personal energy could be doing some exercise, going for a walk, being in nature, taking a shower or having a bath. Burning incense, sage or palo santo has been used forever in many traditions as a way to clear our personal energy fields and the spaces around us.
Our thoughts pack a real punch considering we have so many of them floating through our mind at any one time. Of course we get to choose how attached we become to our thoughts and how we react to them (something meditation is super helpful for – if you’re not already doing it then check out my YouTube channel for some free guidance). Being mindful about what we are allowing our minds to absorb is also something worth considering as every bit of input leave an imprint. Things to consider around this is what we watch, read and look at on social media and how any of that stuff leaves us feeling. Our thoughts can easily turn to worry, which is a big drain on our energy because when we worry we cause ourselves to suffer twice but of course it’s easy to tell ourselves not to worry but not so easy to do. I’m not here to give my opinion or answer as to how you might stop worrying because of the varied and personal reasons for it but what I can recommend it adopting some healthy helpful coping mechanisms (talking it through with someone or journaling etc). If worry is creating anxiety and/or impacting daily life then seeking additional outside support would be a very good idea because the long term fix for worrying less is repairing the nervous system which causes the initial reaction to the stimuli.
Nervous system healing is one of the most profound ways I reclaimed my power. Firstly by acknowledging that experiencing some level of daily anxiety was no longer how I wanted to exist and refusing to accept that being anxious was ‘just the way I was’ and secondly seeking the support and guidance I needed in order to make permanent change. This is a complex topic so not one I will delve into here but felt it was important to share because much of my acceptance around the person I used to be came from believing others perceptions and opinions about me – the epitome of handing over our power. Because of this work I have come to realise that power also sits within my peace so recognizing when situations, places or people are disrupting or disturbing that peace is now a significant part of my day to day practice. It would be unrealistic to expect to feel peaceful at all times as life is always full of surprises but being able to recognize where we can regain control of our peace by removing ourselves from situations, people or places is empowering.
I am a former perpetual seeker of others opinions, which was down to a lack of connection to and trust in my intuition. Of course I still ask for input or run ideas by others but those people are those who know me the best (there was a time when I’d trust a stranger over me!) and I now recognize that there is a vast difference between being supported and becoming dependent on others to make your decisions. If you recognize this in yourself I encourage you to do the things that you know (or try some if you don’t know) that help you to connect to your deep inner knowing. Yoga and meditation are a great place to start but it could be anything that helps your mind to quieten and listen to the whispers from your heart instead.
Your energy and your peace are powerful gifts – take good care of them!