6 Strategies for Personal Power
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any
- Alice Walker
I would like to elaborate on my last blog article, where I discussed being strong in our power. In my efforts to be receptive rather than defensive, I felt that I gave my power away to a knowledgeable other, if only for a short time. My personality leads with feminine rather than masculine energy. This can be a beautiful thing, so if this is you, this is nothing to be ashamed of. However, a nice balance of feminine and masculine energy, regardless of gender, is needed to make all aspects of life work effectively. Power requires more of a masculine energy. If this is something that doesn't come naturally for you, this article will be helpful. Most often until now, stepping into my power has felt like putting on a suit of armour, or a jacket or a suit of clothes. It hasn't always felt fully integrated as part of me. This is quite normal and can be seen as a starting point - a fake it 'til you make it tool in our journey toward acquiring personal power.
There are numerous ways in which we can inadvertently give our power away. We can mistakenly believe that we are powerless. We can allow others' opinions or their fears prevent us from making life-enriching decisions. We can wait for permission from others before moving forward with our lives. We can be swayed by others' emotions. We can be overly sensitive to criticism. We can avoid confrontation in an effort to be accepted. We can give in to our own fears or negative thoughts. We can forget to trust our intuition. We can put others' needs before our own and neglect our self-care. We can give away our energy or positivity by being around people who are being negative or self-serving.
So, what does personal power look like?
I would say that it involves: understanding ourselves; knowing what we want to be, do and have; making decisions that support our wellbeing, goals and dreams; knowing and speaking our truth; recognising our value; taking action; expecting acceptance, respect and positive outcomes; taking responsibility; having healthy habits and boundaries; being able to assimilate and learn from criticism, mistakes and failures; and being emotionally, mentally and spiritually resilient.
Here are some concrete strategies for building personal power:
1. Find a sense of purpose.
''The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. Having a sense of purpose enables us to put our desires into action. It helps us to build momentum. Finding a sense of purpose cannot be forced. It should happen organically as we reflect on our wishes, values and priorities for our lives. We do not need to identify a single purpose for our life, but having a purpose for each period or moment in time can inspire us to get out of bed every day and remind us that we have value. Purpose also gives us the motivation for the next step - developing positive habits.
2. Develop good habits.
Positive habits help us to feel grounded and centred. The discipline used to establish and maintain them also contributes to our sense of self-worth. Positive habits could include eating well, keeping a clean house and car, personal grooming, sleeping well, physical movement, and being organised, punctual and reliable. We feel more confident when we are feeling and looking our best, and this adds to our sense of personal power.
3. Have a positive focus.
Personal power relies on us having a positive focus. We can retrain our brains to identify negative thoughts and change them into positive ones. Affirmations can help with this - I am enough; I honour who I am; I accept my power; I feel glorious, dynamic energy. I am active and alive; Every decision I make is the right one for me; I flow easily with new experiences, new challenges, and new people who enter my life; All that I seek is already within me (Louise Hay, 2021). Gratitude can also help us to focus positively and a valuable strategy is to keep a gratitude journal to remind us of things that are going well.
4. Learn new skills and strengthen existing ones.
As I have become older, I have felt progressively more powerful as a result of acquiring knowledge and skills. As they say, knowledge is power. We should take every possible opportunity to learn. We never know when knowledge and skills will come in handy. It is especially important to build skills in our areas of interest, as these can give us the confidence to accept new experiences and challenges in our work lives and personal lives.
5. Build physical strength and strong posture.
Feeling physically strong can help us to develop personal power. If we are able, moving our bodies and including some weight training can reinforce strength and confidence. Posture also conveys confidence and helps us to feel it within ourselves. Improving posture requires that we increase awareness of our bodies and acquire new physical habits. It can also require strengthening and retraining muscles. For me, a slight scoliosis means that maintaining good posture requires everyday effort, something that I call my 'morning exercises', which I've been doing for over fifteen years. These include a few minutes of yoga, Callanetics, hand weights, and a collection of stretching and strengthening exercises that I have learned from physios and ballet teachers over the years.
6. Open the solar plexus chakra.
The solar plexus chakra or Manipura is the body's energy centre of power. It is located in the area of the diaphram, and is associated with the fire element and the colours yellow or gold. There are many ways of balancing this energy centre. We can eat yellow foods and include spices such as ginger, chamomile, mint and cumin in our cooking (Chakras Info, 2019). We can wear yellow clothes or incorporate accents of yellow into our homes (Unlock Your Chakra, 2021). We can tap on our solar plexus to free up its energy (Lavendaire, 2021). We can spend some time in the sun or sit in front of a fire (Chakras info, 2019; Unlock Your Chakra, 2021). Yoga can also be effective, and poses associated with the solar plexus chakra include the bow pose, boat pose, lion pose, mountain pose, warrior pose, and seated spinal twist (Be My Travel Muse, 2021). Scents or essential oils can include cedar wood, bergamot, rosemary and chamomile (Be My Travel Muse, 2021). Crystals can be used to amplify energy, and those connected to the solar plexus chakra include citrine, tiger’s eye and yellow tourmaline (Yugay, 2021).
Ironically, the knowledgeable other that I spoke about in my previous post told me that I was ''more powerful than I think'', however he was unwilling to contribute suggestions for how I could claim that power on my own. I would like to respond to him by saying "I'm more powerful than you think". I am more than capable of 'powering up' my life, and so are you. Consider beginning to develop awareness of the ways in which you relinquish your power to others and starting to build strategies for stepping into your power on a higher level. This is life-changing. It allows us to take action towards the dreams and goals that are meant to be ours. We've got this!
Alice Walker. (2021). Official website. Alice Walker | The Official Website for American Novelist & Poet (alicewalkersgarden.com)
Amy Morin. (2017). 10 ways you could be giving away your power (without even realizing it). 10 Ways You Could Be Giving Away Your Power (Without Even Realizing It) (forbes.com)
Be My Travel Muse. (2021). Solar plexus chakra: Everything you need to know. Solar Plexus Chakra: Everything You Need to Know (bemytravelmuse.com)
Chakras Info. (2019). 5 simple steps to heal your solar plexus chakra. 5 Simple Steps To Heal Your Solar Plexus Chakra (chakras.info)
Dina Strada. (2016). How we give our power away & ways to reclaim it. How we Give our Power Away & Ways to Reclaim It. | elephant journal
Irina Yugay. (2021). How to activate your solar plexus chakra for personal power. How To Activate Your Solar Plexus Chakra For Personal Power (mindvalley.com)
Lavendaire. (2021). How to heal your energy. (53) How to Heal Your Energy | 10 Exercises for Holistic Healing ☀️ - YouTube
Louise Hay. (2021). Official website. Daily Affirmations & Positive Quotes from Louise Hay
Stacey Hagen. (2021). 9 ways you give away your power - and how to reclaim it. 9 Ways You Give Away Your Power - and How to Reclaim it - Create Coaching & Consulting (createcoachingconsulting.com)
Unlock Your Chakra. (2021). Unlocking the solar-plexus chakra. Unlocking the Solar-Plexus Chakra (3rd Chakra) | UNLOCK YOUR CHAKRA