I used to think that being right in an argument made me feel powerful. And sometimes it did, most times it did not. You get to a certain age where attaining peace is more powerful than being right. I also learned that we can only see the world based on our own lenses and lived experiences which are filled with biases, emotional triggers and everything in between. So sometimes being “right” makes someone else feel “wrong” or wronged. Coming to a mutual understanding with whoever I’m communicating with feels much more powerful than being “right.”
But why do we need to feel powerful at all? I’ve been thinking a lot about the construct of power and where it comes from. Perhaps it begins at birth when the “power” is in the hands of our parents/guardians to choose our names and much of our early childhood opportunities. Then the power or at least the concept of power begins to shift as we push and pull for independence as young adults/teenagers.
And then, if we choose to enter the workforce or pursue higher education after high school (if we finish high school), we begin to come in contact with more dynamic and complex power systems through work and schooling (schools socialize us starting in preschool through regulated bathroom breaks and structured play). It’s all led by a few chosen leaders. We learn from early on that only a few people hold all of the power. How do we begin to undo this or unlearn this in our respective communities as a way to push against hierarchies in our personal and professional lives?
And so, we begin to come up with various ways to feel powerful within systems (re: capitalism) that are meant to strip us of our power for money. And all of us, in one way or another, fall in line, so we can survive.
Let me ask you, what makes you feel powerful? Is it feeling loved? Making a lot of money? What ignites a hunger for power within you?
I personally have shifted my desire for feeling powerful to standing in my power. There is a difference. When I wanted to feel powerful it was almost always rooted in my ego and not my heart. When I stand in my power, I’m leading with love through confidence, patience and prayers.
Here are 3 ways to stand in your power more this year:
Set your intentions for the day: Write down what you wish to accomplish for the day from a mind-body-soul perspective. This help to avoid leading with your ego and leading with your heart.
Take 10 silent minutes per day to sit with yourself and just breathe: Make are you listen to each breath to remember that you are alive. Try not to think about the past or future, stay in the present moment.
Listen with the intention to understand: when communicating with others, listen to understand the other perspective(s). It helps you slow down mentally, while becoming a more active listener, which leads to stronger relationships in all aspects of your life.
The next time you think of power in your life and how it plays out, especially across race, ability, class, gender and sexuality, consider how you are showing up to spaces. Ask yourself the following questions?
1) Are you leading with your ego?
2) Are you leading with your heart?
3) Have you paused to breathe?
4) Are you actively listening?
Responding honestly to each of these questions will help you reflect on the current role of power in your life and ways you can lean into leading with your heart as opposed to your ego.
Peace, love & liberation,