The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.
Somehow over the last four years, I forgot I was powerful. It wasn't outwardly apparent, but in many ways, I became stagnant. I stopped fearlessly chasing dreams and started focusing on insecurities and imperfections. I've been moving forward but not living up to my fullest potential. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I started shrinking and playing small, but I can identify the ways I gave up my power unknowingly.
In my Thinking: One of the biggest takeaways from therapy has been identifying the difference between my thoughts and intuition. Too often, I get caught in my head with feelings of doubt and fear. I think about a situation and bring up all the negative perspectives of how it could play out: “What if they say this?” “Is my point valid?” “What if he leaves?”
I’ve learned that this line of thinking shapes my reality. In these moments, my focus shifts from what I know is the best course of action to outside factors that ultimately don’t matter. This is a choice. We choose in these moments to make ourselves powerless in the face of looming possibilities. Truth is, there will always be a “what if” that could stop you. We regain our power by adjusting our perspectives and pursuing peace. Take comfort in knowing that in spite of push back, you are doing what’s best.
In my Language: I firmly believe that our words have power. Knowing this, I try to be mindful of how I speak about a situation (although I do fall short sometimes). Recently, I noticed that most of my relationship poems paint me as the victim. Everything that transpired “happened to me” as if I wasn’t an active part of how things played out. Essentially, my language reflected my view of self. I saw myself as powerless.
It’s laughable now, but I used to think I didn’t have much control over my love life. In other areas, I could make things happen, but when it came to love, I was waiting for the “right” person to come along. I would say things like, “it’s hard for independent women to find a man,” or “men have it easier than women.” While that was my reality at the time, it wasn’t the whole truth. I wasn’t powerless back then, I just wasn’t ready for the relationship I wanted. I had work to do, but I didn’t know it, so I blamed the world for dealing me bad cards.
We have more power than we know. When I started really working on myself, the quality of people I attracted changed, and not just in relationships but in business and friendships as well. Watch your language.
In my Action: I have a horrible habit of not cutting off relationships or people. I will gladly let distance come between us, be passive aggressive, or wait until something happens. This is because I value the other person’s perspective (how they will take it) more than my peace (what I know is best). It sounds absurd, but I’ve struggled heavily in this area because I don't trust myself. I have to remind myself daily that I don’t really owe anyone an explanation. At any given moment, we are capable of ending what does not serve us no matter the cost or feedback. I'm working on this.
As we enter Women’s History Month, may the words of our elders and ancestors guide and ground us. We are powerful, and it’s time to act accordingly.