So you’ve decided you really need to embrace your power. What next…?*
What does personal power mean to you?
It means understanding myself truely including the shadows. It means owning who I am unapologetically.
It means self care, self love, self respect. And self respect means expecting respect from others.
It means feeling safe and secure but also taking risks. It means having faith that things will work out. It means trusting the path I am on.
It means taking responsibility for myself, my reactions and my feelings. It means being accountable to myself.
It means feeling empowered and able to exert some influence on my life.
It means advocacy, and self advocacy.
It means setting boundaries.
It means being in touch with my feelings.
It means challenging the ways I give my power away.
It means challenging my self talk. Questioning the language I use both in my head and out loud.
It means following my intuition even if goes against convention.
It means being actively aware and conscious of my life.
Defining what you mean by embracing your power will hopefully give you some guidance about ways to start embracing it.
I’m starting with a couple of aspects which I’ve already been doing a lot of work around through my eating disorder recovery:
Self care, self respect, self love
For me, it’s clear that self care is important. And self care is one way of showing myself that I respect myself. And hopefully the more I work on this the closer I’ll get to loving myself.
So I need to look at what self care is for me and how to integrate more into my life. What makes me feel good about myself? What makes me feel strong? What makes me feel passionate, absorbed, excited?
There are some things I want to try and incorporate into my life over on my body image post but self care etc goes beyond this and includes the inner you. If you don’t tend to your emotional self then the work you do on your physical self will never be enough.
Taking responsibility for my reactions.
It’s also clear that taking responsibility for my actions and reactions is important in my definition of personal power.
Yes, people do irritating things. But how I respond is down to me. It’s also down to my experiences, my upbringing and a million other things but I have a choice.
When my neighbours are being exceptionally loud and bothering me, I can get angry with them which only causes me pain (because I’m not able to get angry at them, they’re upstairs…).
Or, I can chose to react differently. Which is hard and can feel impossible. But reacting differently benefits me. So I want to work at it.
The first step for me here is to notice my reactions. Helpfully a drill has just started up. My first reaction a few months ago, before all my neighbour noise issues, would have been why me? Why is this person causing this noise which is distressing me? Which is unlikely to be their intent. They probably just want to put up a shelf or whatever. This is not personal. I think it’s so easy to react to things personally – a traffic jam, a rude person, a red traffic light – and doing so just hurts you.
So instead, I have noticed the drill. I have noticed that I’ve noticed it. I’ve acknowledged it’s not a personal attack. And I’ve mentally tried to let it go. Sometimes I do this is by “turning up” the noise in my head (mental chitter chatter or loud white noise), or by focusing more intently on what I’m doing.
I guess it’s really about conscious reactions and conscious awareness. That’s something that keeps coming up for me – doing things with awareness instead of acting out of habit or responding by reflex.
And this conscious awareness can be the little things or the major things – it can be noticing your clenched jaw when the light turns red as you hit it, or it can be gaining awareness of the entire journey of your life. We are so often told our life path (school, uni, work, marriage, children, retire) that we don’t stop to think about whether it’s something we want, whether it would make us happy or whether there’s an alternative route for us.
*Apologies, this is a bit rambly and probably mostly a way of me working out things for myself but I hope that there’s something useful for someone!