Power is innate in you, it’s something you already have the moment you were born. Once you grow older, your power can now be similar to control. You have power or control over your life, and you can keep it, build on it or give it away. Too often, people give their power away. If you’ve ever told yourself you need to be in a particular relationship to be happy, you’ve given your power away. If you’ve ever blamed your lack of professional advancement on a coworker’s behavior, you’ve given your power away. And, if you’ve ever blamed your single status on not being asked out on enough dates, you’ve given your power away.
Stop seeing power as an external force—it isn’t! This mindset is making you profoundly unhappy. However, if you want to work on getting your power back, just try these seven tips!
1. Recognize That You’ve Given Your Power Away
To make a change, you first have to recognize the problem. If your happiness depends on others, then you have given your power away. Any time you wait for the perfect partner to make you happy, or a certain status symbol to bring you joy, you’re giving your power away, because until you get what you think you want, you won’t be happy.
2. Understand That You’re Thinking too Small
If one thing or one person is supposed to make you happy, you’re thinking too small. If one person is the source of your happiness, then they have your power. What if they don’t love you back? What if they go away? Will you decide to be unhappy forever? In a world filled with billions of people, there has to be more than one person who is right for you. There has to be more than one person who can make you happy. Expand your mind to the possibilities.
3. Notice How You’ve Labeled Yourself
Do you label yourself as successful or unsuccessful? Do you call yourself attractive or unattractive? These labels are not you. Instead, they’re the generalizations from the outside world that have nothing to do with who you are. They are limitations. Don’t give these labels power—let go of them! See yourself for who you truly are.
4. Recognize if You Seek Approval From Others
This too is a way to give someone else your power. If you’re a people pleaser, look at your reasons for wanting to please. Are you trying to make others happy or are you looking for compliments so you can feel better about yourself? It’s wonderful to help people. However, it’s not beneficial to you if you are only doing it so you don’t feel miserable about yourself.
5. Notice if You Take Challenges Personally
We all have troubles and challenges. That’s part of life. Some of those challenges are great and the burdens are heavy, but this is just the road you’re on. It’s not a curse or a punishment. Think of yourself as a sailor steering a ship through a storm. The storm didn’t come to punish you. It’s just a storm. Keep steering the ship (that is, stay engaged, don’t zone out, don’t run away, etc.) and when the storm passes you’ll be a better sailor.
6. Notice if You Run From Discomfort
Discomfort is here to help you adjust and change. It’s so easy these days to distract yourself with shopping, food, entertainment or social media. But shifting the focus so the discomfort is gone is only a temporary fix. Instead, live with the discomfort until you can fix it yourself. It will give you insights and also give you back the power of choice.
7. Decide to Write Your Own Story
Be the author of your own life and decide how your life will unfold. Society might say you need this degree or that accreditation to do what you want to do. But if you find that you can’t do that, then rewrite your story. Find a way to achieve the goal anyway. The motivational speaker, Barbara Sher, once asked a group of women what their dreams were. A woman stood up in the audience and said, “I want to work with chimpanzees, but I have no training and no way to pay for school.” A moment later the woman seated in front of her stood up and said, “I work for the zoo and we need people to come in and feed some chimpanzee babies.” Instant success! Don’t let others tell you how your story is going to end.