Part 1: 4 things that cause us to give up our power
Power can be perceived as either a positive or negative thing depending on how it is experienced by the individual. The positive aspects include using it to grow, develop and nurture whilst the negative aspects include using it to suppress, deprive and destroy. Each person has the power to be and do anything they want. But sometimes because, of our circumstances, we tend to outsource power in certain areas of our life without even realizing it. This may start by seeking help, then allowing ourselves to become dependent, and finally, totally giving up our power to others or something – we become dis-empowered.
The greatest power is being able to make choices. There have been many occasions in my life when I have had the power to make decisions. Sometimes it was difficult to get in touch with my power, and as a result, I relied on other people to make decisions which determined my choices.
There are 4 things that can cause us to give up our power namely: not being aware of the power we have; doubting the power that we have; being stuck in past experiences, and being fearful of using our power. Let’s look at each of these in turn:
1. Not being aware of the power that we have
Most people have so much more power than they are aware of. We tend to see others as more powerful than ourselves. If we listen to children playing, you always hear them talking about a “super power” or a “superhero”, which represent a character more powerful than everyone else. The children call on the superhero when they feel they are in trouble and the minute the superhero appears, with their superpowers, the children feel empowered and able to overcome whatever challenge they are facing.
I have always been fascinated by people who were powerful when I was growing up. I had role models, such as my parents, peers, colleagues, leaders, pastors etc. By spending time with them, I realized that most them of them were strong spiritually. My parents, for example, believed that God had power over everything: for example, if there wasn’t enough money, if we children were misbehaving, and even when we were happy when things were going well.
I was recently challenged to call on my superpower, God, for several things: like starting my business, improving my relationships, learning to be at peace with my journey. So, because I feel connected to my superpower, I feel powerful. Engaging with my superpower makes me feel powerful and gives me the strength to make life choices.
2. Doubt the power that we have
Although it is great to know and feel that we are powerful, when life happens, we often tend to doubt the power that we have. When we are in doubt, we may find it difficult to make life choices. Doubt causes us to be easily swayed and to change our minds often, so we end up sending out conflicting messages, and confuse ourselves and others. We may even tend to rely on others to make choices on our behalf.
I have been in situations where I wanted other people to make important decisions on my behalf: for example, whether to stay or leave the company that I was working for when I was dissatisfied. I would go for days, saying one day that I was leaving, and the next day say that I had decided to stay. After a while my significant others would just say: we will support you whatever decision you take. While I thought to myself: thanks for nothing, it helped me to make my own choices, even though I might have doubted whether or not it was the right decision.
3. Stuck in past experiences
Some of us may have had unpleasant past experiences where we used our power and it backfired on us. This can immobilize us. We become cautious not to repeat the same mistakes, and so we end up doing nothing. I have had an experience where I decided to partner with someone in a business venture. I made financial contributions but the opportunity didn’t materialize, and so I lost the money. For a long time afterward, I had opportunities to partner with others but didn’t take advantage of the opportunities because I was concerned that I might lose out again. But I managed to overcome this by realizing that not everyone is like the person I partnered with, and not every situation is going to turn out the same was, and so have been able to partner effectively with others.
4. Fearful of using our power
Fear of using our power may come from past experiences or future concerns which make it difficult for us to step into our power. Fear has a way of paralyzing us, so that sometimes we choose to do nothing. But we forget that even if we choose to do nothing, we have made a choice. We tend to wait for other people to make a choice so that we do not have to take responsibility if they turn out to be wrong choices. I have seen this in relationships, where I tended to wait for a person to decide and sometimes the other person was also waiting for me to make a decision. I would then make a choice, even if I was not sure if it will benefit me or not.
In conclusion, we all have the power to make choices that will bring about positive change in our lives. We just need to use the internal and external resources to give us the courage to make choices for our own, and others’, benefit.