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Power: What a subject.
We all desire power to varying degrees whether we call it ‘power’ or ‘control’ or something else; whether or not it’s ‘power’ over ourselves or ‘power’ over others; power to do good, power to do evil, power to create, power to destroy…and so on.
We are fascinated by the subject.
- We write about it:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” -Lord Acton
- We sing about it.
“I got the power!” -The Hit Crew
- We study those who exercise it in one form or another.
“The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once and for all.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
Ultimately, despite all this attention paid, there is one foundational ‘power’ – that many of us lack and want and need more of.
Need a clue? Read the following quotes:
“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”
“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.”
Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)
It is, of course, one’s personal power.
Your personal power relates how to how much you are able to consciously use your tools of consciousness:
Thinking: (T)Frames: beliefs, decisions, expectations, values etc
Emotions(E): visceral feelings with cognitive labels. We can feel a feeling in the body and name it anger, joy etc but we can also have ‘meta-feelings’ which have no specific location: self-esteem, proactivity, courage etc
Speaking(S): the words, non-verbal sounds that come out of our mouths
Behaving(B): your ownership and control of your body, your actions, direction of motor skills etc
If you don’t feel like you own your own (T-E-S-B), if you feel ‘out of control’; if you feel like others push your buttons, if you are a people pleaser, a scut-monkey for the desires of others – then you lack the perception that your personal power is your own.
Because the truth is, that you never lack personal power. You simply lack awareness that it already is yours and already is under your control. You just don’t believe it.
Think through the logic.
Every day you use your T-E-S-B to get up, go to work, speak to friends, argue with shop assistants, and make dinner. You think about what you will and won’t do, feel what you feel and either vent or take deep breathes.
You already use what you think you don’t have.
So the issue is not, not having the power, but rather you perceive/feel like you can’t/don’t have it at certain times and in certain places.
Our attention gets diverted by our beliefs about what we can and cannot do, by the strength of our reactions to the reactions of other people.
What drives these reactions?
I want to say first that I spent YEARS looking for ways to feel more powerful in myself. Years of my life, thousands of hours, thousands of pounds, and more self-help junk than I could give away.
But I discovered that the basic reason for feeling powerless is feeling not worthy as a person, and feeling not able to cope with what life throws at us.
When we don’t feel worthy as a human being, when we feel we are bad, like we don’t have the right to exist, like we are nothing there is almost no greater pain.
We spend our time worrying about what others think but the truth is that we are worrying what WE think about ourselves. We exercise what power we think we have protecting ourselves from ourselves and what we think others think!
I find a lot of people in self-help circles don’t believe in God as the Bible describes so I’m going to keep this simple.
I do, and believing that He created me in His own image, and that what He created (me) is ‘very good’ (Gen 1:x). Thus, I have an inward affirmation of an outward perception of my Value from Someone who knows. And I am very secure about my Value.
However, whilst I wish more people would believe in God it is not necessary to do so in order to believe in your value. You can believe in the unconditional worth of human beings per se and set that frame about your Self.
Doing so tends to remove the worry about your worth because you are esteeming yourself.
And when you’re not worrying about that you can concentrate on the next part, which is the usage of your ‘tools of consciousness.’
Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, says that the number one fear we have is the fear of not being able to cope.
Neuro-Linguistic-Programming teaches a general(lie)sation that we have all the resources we need to do what we need to do.
Therefore, we all have the brain power, muscle tone, voice boxes, and mental imagery to reaffirm that we ARE in control.
Personal power involves taking that assumption and exercising self-control, taking responsibility for your response-ability, and being accountable FOR yourself and TO your relationships with others.
This all starts with (re)acknowledging ownership over our God-given tools of consciousness.
How can we do this?
One effective way is with the Neurosemantics Ownership pattern. It’s too long to print here but you can get it as part of the Personal PowerPack at www.livingwords.net/ppp.html
“One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.”
John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)
I will give you a clue, however.
- What do you feel is totally yours?
- What is so yours that no-one could take away from you?
Imagine feeling that strongly about your thoughts.
- Or imagine a time when you were about t say something harsh but you paused, thought, and decided to say something different.
That’s an example of using your personal power.
There are a great deal of different reasons why people don’t feel personally powerful.
The reason we don’t feel esteemed and don’t feel in control often come from historical factors involving our upbringing and lack of positive affirmation from parents etc.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way. If you are prepared to hear it, those memories exist today with a date stamp of five, ten and more years on them.
We don’t have to live out of old frames of reference any more. How does it help you at 25 to be using them thinking of a 7 year old? Because that is how many people feel.
I challenge you not to stay this way. Challenge what seems to be true, what seems to be real where feeling ‘out of control’ is concerned. Get angry and change. Or get someone else to help you do it. If you’re going to change any part of the world, change yourself first.
Douglas Cartwright is the ‘live your words’ coach from Living Words Coaching and Training. If you are interested in ‘re-booting’ your sense of personal Power, get the Personal PowerPack from www.livingwords.net/ppp.html or sign up for a free explore your breakthrough session at www.livingwords.net/freeintro.html
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.