What comes to mind when you think of the word power? Dominance? Control? Authority? Does it conjure up an image of a strong person with aggressive tendencies? A police office? A bodyguard? Does is evoke a feeling of fear or inferiority? All of these common associations with power are legitimate. But did you realize there is another type of power? According to Robert Firestone, PhD in his book The Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships there are two forms of power, negative (which can be covert or overt) and positive. Here is his description of the positive form of power, personal power.
Personal power is based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction and meaning in one’s interpersonal world. This type of power represents a movement toward self-realization and transcendent goals in life; its primary aim is mastery of self, not others. Personal power is more an attitude or state of mind than an attempt to maneuver or control others. It is based on competence, vision, positive personal qualities, and service. When externalized it is likely to be more generous, creative and humane than other forms of power.
Have you ever thought of power in this way? Have you ever considered that YOU have personal power? Yet, we give our power away in many subtle ways. Some common examples are: procrastinating, being jealous of others, fearing confrontation or rejection, sabotaging ourselves, and caring more about what others think about us than what we think and putting others needs ahead of our own. But one sure way to know if we are giving away our personal power is we feel it. Do you feel a sense of being stuck? Do you feel unhappy? Do you feel tired, resentful, frustrated or angry? Do you feel that life is, for the most part, out of your control and you have resigned yourself to the idea that things may never change? This is simply not true.
Realizing you feel this way is the first step on the path of reclaiming your own personal power. So if you do, that is great! Now, you can take the necessary steps to discover ways in which you give away your power, and ways to reclaim it. This is done by learning the mastery of self, not others. No need to fear. Personal power is an inside job, not one that aims to dominate and control others by any means. Wipe away the thought that you are going to have to start ‘taking control’ of others. That is just not how it is done. So are you ready to find out how you can reclaim your personal power? Are you excited about the thought that you have power, and that there is more in your control than you may now realize. You can start to make changes that are right for you, alleviating you of guilt, shame, jealousy, anger and an overall feeling of powerlessness, and replace those feelings with happiness, confidence, meaning and love.
The 7 Steps I suggest to Reclaim Your Personal Power are:
1. Know Yourself
2. Take Care of You…First
3. Express Yourself Regularly
4. Forgive Yourself and Others for Past Mistakes
5. Let Go Of Toxic Relationships
6. Realize It’s Not Your Job to Make Everyone Else Happy
7. Allow Others The Freedom To Create Their Own Happiness
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