5 Ways That You’re Giving Away Your Personal Power
I really believe that there is not enough discussion in psychology and behavior when it comes to power and the role of power in our lives and in our relationships. We all desire and crave power and control in our lives and sometimes over other people, some just act on it more than others. Crazy and bad things start to happen when people either have too much power or not enough and personal mastery is hinged on your relationship with your personal power.
- Caring too much about what other people think – Too many people get caught up in the myth that we should be emotionally and mentally wrapped up in the judgments that other people cast onto us when there is no way to really know what other people are thinking, but I’ll make you this promise – everyone else is just as wrapped up in their own insecurities as you are, or possibly more. They’re not thinking about you. They’re thinking about themselves. Exactly in the same way that you are thinking about yourself. The very act of caring about what others might be thinking about you gives up your personal power, because it ultimately shapes your behavior. You deny yourself the right and privilege of living authentically. Think about it, if you are acting in certain ways because you think other people are thinking certain things about you then you are therefore altering your behavior in an attempt to match some assumed expectations, thus giving away your power.
- Avoiding or being afraid of conflict – There are profound positive benefits that can come from conflict. Not all conflict is created equal and there’s frankly a lot of pointless conflict but the fact of the matter is there are many people in the world that use conflict as a method for manipulating those that are afraid of it. If you’re the type that avoids conflict at all costs then you are really opening yourself up to draw in people that will use that as a way to manipulate you. When you bend and alter your behavior to keep people from getting upset with you, then you are really giving away your power. You owe it to yourself to get the bottom of this issue. Start building some insight. Why does conflict create a shame-filled response? I have a thousand dollars that says it’s related to your parents somehow. You’re not alone in this journey. Many of us have been there and done that. We understand and we support you.
- Allowing yourself to feel responsible for how other people feel – We are too emotional codependent and enmeshed. Too many people want to tell you that your actions are directly tied to how they are feeling moment to moment and that you are somehow obligated or on the hook to alter your behavior to not do anything that might upset them. This whole situation is an unhealthy exchange of power. The radical and unpopular truth is that everyone is responsible for their own emotions and their own behavior. There are a lot of people that will try and push the idea that their negative emotions and even their bad behavior is somehow your fault. You can agree or disagree but if you agree, you will give away your personal power. I used to buy into this nonsense and I noped out of it years ago by refusing to take responsibility for something that I could not control – other people’s emotions.
- Trying to prove your value or worth – Everywhere you look there are people that feel like they have to prove something to other people. Too many of us get caught up in trying to prove that we are popular, fun, interesting, tough, successful, smart or even moralistic. This is another enemy of authenticity. When we’re trying to prove something to other people, we’re once again altering our behavior based on how we want to alter what other people think about us. The point is, being true to yourself is the real key to contentment and just being comfortable in your own skin. There’s no amount of approval from others that can substitute.
- Taking a victim stance – If I were to rank this list, I would put this one as the number one way to give away your power. Seeing oneself as a permanent and pervasive victim is, if you ask me, the best way to make yourself deeply and profoundly miserable. The road to personal emotional hell is paved with victimhood. When people see themselves as victims, it warps them and their thinking. It causes them to hate the world and everybody in it because they end up looking at the world through one black and white lens. That people are evil and nefarious and that they are all out to get you. If you think this way, I have some good news that you might really hate. You’re not that important or special, so get over yourself. By engaging in this type of thinking, you really double down on being the one that is inflicting the most pain onto yourself.
Here’s the reality. Too many of us don’t know how to form an identity outside of our outward appearances. We don’t know what we’re supposed to fall back onto when we detach from needing approval from others. So much so that we fear the ‘what if’s’ of failure in a never ending free-fall. Too many of us are afraid to look in the literal and metaphorical mirror because we’re afraid of what might look back at us. What we fail to realize, at least initially, is that when we stop giving our power away and instead retain it internally, we discover a new reality. A new sense of self emerges. One that is truly powerful in ways that we didn’t expect.
You owe it to yourself to discover this powerful self that is buried deep beneath many layers. You can both discover and shape yourself. Like I said, most of us understand this plight, even if though we might be afraid to admit it.