It totally seems a little cliche to be talking about personal power because, well, it’s a pretty common topic in personal and spiritual development circles.
And, well, the reason for that is because everything in our culture teaches us to deny our personal power by giving it to external forces. Women especially are taught that being powerful is “wrong” or “bad” or even “sinful.”
We are taught to shove our feelings, needs, and values out of sight, which directly results in feelings of anxiety, guilt, and shame. And the more anxiety, guilt, and shame that we feel, the further and further from our personal power we become.
I’ve also come to realize that personal power isn’t what I once thought it was.
I started to see it as evil and I thought that I was a terrible person for wanting to reclaim my personal power.
As a result, my power became deeply embedded in my shadow self and started to manifest itself in really harmful ways.
Because that is what happens with the shadow, as those traits, needs, or desires become unconscious (aka become a part of our shadow), it begins to dictate our lives in a way that feels out of control or like we are being punished by the Universe (God, Source, whatever you call it).
When really it’s just our shadow running the show. That’s why integrating our shadow aspects (AKA self acceptance) is such a critical part of reclaiming our personal power.
With integration, we bring those things back into our consciousness, find their value in our lives (all aspects, even the messy or “taboo” ones, have inherent value,btw!), and ultimately, begin to call on them as needed to create more of what we want in our lives.
And we all want some of that, right?
Anyway, now, I understand personal power to be able coming into right relationship with ourselves. To be whole and in energetic integrity as we walk through life.
Reclaiming your personal power isn’t about being an asshole or tyrant. It’s about being your whole self with pride.
So, today, I want to share with you some of the signs that you are giving your personal power away and some thoughts on how to reclaim it.
5 Signs You Need to Reclaim Your Personal Power
#1: You avoid saying no or telling people your true thoughts and desires.
If you’ve been doing this for decades, it can be helpful to start out “slow.” Start by asking the grocery clerk to fix your bill if something rings up in correctly, even if it is only a “small” amount of money. Eventually, you will start to speak up for yourself in bigger and bigger ways.
#2: You feel run over by your emotions or think that it isn’t safe to feel them at all.
Our feelings are one of our most potent sources of power and when we reject our emotions, they build up in our energy body and eventually start to overflow. This may look like emotional outbursts that seem disproportionate to the circumstances. It can also look like anxiety and/or depression.
The solution here simple (but not always easy!)–>feel your feelings and learn how to process them in empowering ways.
#3: You overeat (do drugs, drink, smoke) as an act of rebellion.
Remember when I said the shadow self starts to manifest itself in harmful ways? Well, this is one of those ways. If you do “bad” things as a way of rebelling, as a way to “get back at” others, or to show someone or something “who’s boss”, this is you giving them (or that thing) your power.
Pay attention to what you are telling yourself about them and the underlying energetic pattern “under” that thought process. As you start to heal those patterns, those habits will starts to fall away on their own. Shadow integration can be super powerful here. My course Shadow + Light will teach you how.
#4: You think your thoughts are who you are or that changing your thoughts is where all of your power is.
In the new age movement, there is a lot of focus on thoughts (they create your reality, stay positive, blah blah blah) that can become sorely out of balance. When that happens, you can start to feel paralyzed to actually DO anything in your life if your “thoughts aren’t right.”
You’ll spend most of your time examining your thoughts, instead of taking action, and, in the worst of cases, you’ll start to beat yourself up about having “negative” thoughts in the first place. At that point, your thoughts start to become a source of shame which just compounds the whole giving your power away thing.
To focus solely on your thoughts is to deny the power that exists in other parts of your energy body.
Energetically speaking, you are made up of four “layers”: the physical body, the emotional body, the mental body, and the spiritual body. There is power in all four of them and by being present with all four of them and getting them aligned with each other, that is when you become your most powerful self. That alignment IS integrity.
Practicing mindfulness can be really helpful here as it helps you to activate the awareness that your thoughts will come and go. You are the OBSERVER of your thoughts and that have power over your actions, no matter what your thoughts are doing. My primary practice here is called defusion.
#5 You allow external forces (partners, society, parents, religion, children) to dictate what you do with your life.
This is the crux of it all, really, and is the source of SO MUCH suffering in our culture.
To take your power back, start to pay attention to what you are telling yourself.
Where are you telling yourself that you “should” or “must” or “have to” do something?
Tribal shame (aka shame that originates from external sources) is always at the heart of these kind of “rules.”
Once you notice, start to get curious about what you would do if it weren’t for those rules?
And be patient with yourself. If you’ve been repressing your own needs, values, and desires for a long time, figuring out what you actually want will take time. As I mentioned above, starting small can be helpful here.
No matter what, stay curious.
Your personal power is in there waiting to blossom.
You’ve got this.
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