Personal power is based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction and meaning in one’s interpersonal world. This type of power represents a movement toward self-realization and transcendent goals in life; its primary aim is mastery of self, not others. Personal power is more an attitude or state of mind than an attempt to maneuver or control others. It is based on competence, vision, positive personal qualities, and service. When externalized it is likely to be more generous, creative and humane than other forms of power.
-The Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships
by Robert W. Firestone & Joyce Cattlett
When I first began my healing journey, the term “personal power” was so foreign to me that it sounded intimidating. What in the world was that supposed to mean? I wasn’t looking for power. I simply wanted relief from feelings of insecurity and self- condemnation. Ten years later, I am so thankful to understand that personal power has nothing to do with power over others. It is simply the ability to order our own lives with intention and purpose; It is reclaiming sovereignty over our lives. When you are victimized as a young child, your personal boundaries are not respected; in fact, they are obliterated. You do not grow up creating your life, but rather defending and protecting it. These patterns of defense and protection follow us into adulthood. Much of the reason people seek healing is because their lives feel completely out of their control. They are still victims of circumstance rather than creative weavers of their own lives. Regaining personal power does not happen over night. Its a process. It takes time, forethought, observance, and lots of practice. One of the worse feelings is a feeling of powerlessness. The following are five simple ways you can put into practice right now to increase your personal power
1. Body Posture
Sit up straight; Stand up taller! Be aware of your posture. Practice bringing your shoulders up to your ears, then pulling them back, and relaxing them back down again. Tuck your pelvis forward and pull in your abdominal muscles. Take a few cleansing breaths. Imagine a string tied to the crown of your head and pulling your head upwards, your chin tucks slightly inwards and your neck stretches a bit longer.
In her Ted Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You are,” Amy Cuddy talks about how our minds highly influence the postures that we hold; Conversely, changing our posture can change our minds. So just by changing your posture to a more confident one you can shift your mindset to a more confident one.
Most of us have learned something about the power of visualization. Why not use it to empower yourself at any given moment? Are you feeling small and unseen? Do you feel weak and vulnerable? Imagine you are a super-star and where ever you go people are looking at you and whispering to others and pointing because they have just seen someone famous. Embody that feeling as you walk around crowded places that you normally feel insecure in. Or maybe imagine you are a master at martial arts or billionaire. It has been said that the imagination is the most powerful nation. Use it to bolster your personal power. Think of how you want to feel and find something that matches that feeling to imagine yourself as.
3. Say “No!”
Is there something that you do not want to do? Or is there someone you do not want to meet up with? Is there something you feel pressured into? Or perhaps you are getting ready to eat something super fattening, sugary or generally just unhealthy for you and you really don’t want to, but are so used to just giving in. Say NO! Find something- anything to say no to. Practice that powerful little word. You will be surprised at how much it empowers you.
4. Say “Yes!”
Now find something to say yes to that you would normally say no too because it feels too selfish, too expensive, too much- just say yes! Is there something you want to do, somewhere you want to go, someone you want to hang out with that you never find the time for? Just for today, say YES and feel how wonderfully liberating and empowering it is.
5. Look up, out and around, take a deep breath and smile!
Look at others around you. Really see them. See how many people around you that look insecure, unsure, lonely, or lost. Realize deeply that you are not an isolated case. So many people out there need the same kind of encouragement that you do. The world isn’t filled with confident, successful people and just a few insecure lost ones. Just the opposite is true.
Somebody out there today needs to see your smile. When you smile at someone else you say to them, “I see you, and I like you.” Try it even now. Smile a genuine smile. If you are having a hard time, think of something that usually makes you smile. Smile out at the world. Happiness = smiles and visa versa, smiles = happiness. Smiling is the easiest way to feel better and will increase your personal power.
I hope that these simple little tips are helpful and that by practicing them now, you feel the difference. Let us know your experience in the comments below!