Power is illusive, somewhere just beyond the edge of our grip. So many of us travel through life feeling powerless. We feel stuck in our situation, powerless over our unamendable past and powerless over our uncertain future. We wrongly seek out things we see as powerful, some kind of physical power or strength, the power to win an argument, power over others in some form. But power is something far deeper than this, it runs deep into our souls and we can only find it when we truly understand what it is.
Power is misrepresented and our view of it is warped. We see power as something to be performed, we see certain actions as powerful. Power feels reserved for superheroes and politicians- the people with the power to drastically change things overnight. Power seems to be confined to specific spaces within society, inaccessible to those who do not possess the same birth privileges as others. Power is rarely represented as what it truly is: an inherent element of humanity, present and accessible within all of us.
On an individual level, our life experiences shape our understanding of power, and whether or not we possess it. Our sense of personal power is deeply affected by the narrative we hold of who we are, and what is supposed to happen in our lives based upon our past experiences and our expectations. We may look at our past in a few different ways: we might analyse the difficult experiences and determine that we have never been powerful, and we never will be. Alternatively, we might look at those same difficult experiences and determine that, somewhere along the way, our power was taken from us, and we may not understand how to get it back. Finally, though, we may look at those same experiences and recognise that our ability to get through it is indicative of our inherent power, and we must practise that power.
How do we reach a point where we can believe in our power? How to we then practise that power? And, ultimately, how can we be powerful?
When we look after ourselves, set boundaries, regulate our emotions, and find value in the present moment: that’s when we can begin believing in our power. This is when we can recognise that power does not come from ultimate control, argument, or force- but it comes instead from our ability to be present, decisive, caring, and self-reflective. We practise this power each time we are able to maintain clarity, calmness, and care in the present moment, in the face of an often difficult world. Our situations may not change, but when we are able to exist within them in a different way, our experiences change, and we can begin to feel powerful. After all, power is not a possession, or a character asset, it is a feeling, a sense, which can be used to transform your life in a positive way.
What positive actions make you feel powerful? How can you amplify them in future?
Featured image: Joshua Earle via Unsplash.