Personal power comes with self-development. We begin to develop it in childhood, and continue to grow throughout our lives.
It is about strength, resilience, confidence and the capabilities we develop, with the primary aim to being master self and not others. Personal power is about our own attitude or state of mind, NOT a way to manoeuvre or control others.
Remember: no one can hurt us emotionally unless we give them permission. Understanding that our personal power cannot be taken unless we (consciously or unconsciously) give it away can help to take back our power and become better people. Giving our emotional power away will hurt not just once – at the time of the incident – but a hundred-fold as we mentally relive the bad experience.
Wanting revenge and being resentful is giving away our personal power to another, and in the end, this only hurts us. The other party is living in complete ignorance of the pain they may have caused, yet here we are living with it day in and day out. Having personal power is being able to let go and forgive.
There are several ways to stand strong in our personal power:
1. Don’t whinge, find solutions
Whinging, complaining and grumbling implies that we have no power over the situation or our attitude. We cannot control other people’s choice of words, or their actions, only our own. Whinging and venting prevent us from working to find solutions.
2. Recognise our own emotions
This involves not letting other people’s behaviour or words dictate our emotions. Recognising what people do or say to or about us involves being clear about what is whose responsibility. Being able to, as the saying goes, say “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. Examine what, and, if what they say has merit, change behaviour. If it’s just intended to hurt, let it go, it’s not worth the effort.
3. Control reactions
Saying “you make me feel bad” or “you make me so mad” suggests that we have given our power away, by suggesting that others have power over how we feel. Instead, it’s more powerful to accept that only we can manage our own emotions, regardless of how others behave.
4. Fill your own cup
Being in our personal power means that our self-worth is NOT dependent on what people think of us. If it is, then our actions will be those of ‘people-pleasers’. Let no one ‘s opinion determine our self-worth. Instead, we need to develop the ability to ‘fill our own cup’ and simply enjoy people for who they are.
5. Create healthy boundaries
Realising that we are in charge of ourselves will alleviate the stress when someone tries guilting us or “forcing” us to do something we don’t want to do. We can gain control by creating healthy physical and emotional boundaries over how and with whom we spend our time.
6. Exercise forgiveness
Holding a grudge, wanting revenge or feeling resentful wastes time and emotional energy and ends up eating away at us, taking away our ability to enjoy life.
Forgiveness is the best way to take back our power. Forgiveness is NOT accepting that what was done to us is OK. It is choosing to let go of the harmful emotions that are interfering with our ability to live life to the fullest.
7. Stand out from the crowd
Our beliefs and values are the foundation of knowing who we are. Having personal power means standing in our truth and living what’s important to us. Not knowing causes self-doubt and fear and could mean we risk adopting other people’s ideas which may lead down a destructive path. It means blending in, trying to fit in and disguise who we really are. Personal power is daring to strive be different, and trusting that we are strong enough to stand out.
For which number can you confidently say “I’ve got this”?
For which number is your response “I need to work on this”?