Last week I wrote about giving away our power, and how it’s more common and subtle than we might think. We looked at some of the many ways people give their power to other people, and explored why doing so is more of a burden than a gift. In short, when we give our power to another, both parties are usually unaware of the transfer. The result is that the giver treats the recipient as being responsible for their own (the giver’s) happiness, stability, or whatever else they subconsciously traded for.
It’s not unusual for relationships to involve a two-way power trade, with both members acting powerless and blaming the other. For this reason, it’s important to not only reclaim your own power but to also give others back their power.
Because the trauma of scarcity is so deeply woven into our history, we tend to feel that more of anything is better. Thus, we may be reluctant to give someone back their power, and/or we may feel that it’s unkind to take back our power from someone we love (especially our children). So, let me reiterate something I said last time: each individual’s personal power is theirs alone. It doesn’t benefit others to give them your power and it doesn’t benefit you to have theirs. If anything, it makes the relationship unclean. Taking back your power will never weaken the other party; it just promotes greater freedom for both of you.
Here are some practical steps for reclaiming your power (and letting others do the same). If you have our workbook, Freedom, you’ll find it very helpful during this process.
1. Don’t look to others to define your self-worth. Your worth is your worth – one incredible human life – the same as everyone else. It has nothing to do with your abilities, acquisitions, or looks.
2. Practice being okay with having different views, tastes, and choices than your peers and loved ones.
3. Practice letting go of wanting to be liked or approved of by everyone. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. Feel into that discomfort without letting it push you to give away your power.
4. Establish healthy boundaries. Don’t automatically say yes. Don’t get sucked into drama. Find your center.
5. Forgive. One of the biggest power suckers is resentment. Forgive others and forgive yourself (including for having given away your power). It’s not usually a single act but an ongoing commitment to keep forgiving.
6. Know your needs and values. Beneath every conflict there is a need/value.
7. Don’t try to fix people. If you have trouble with this, consider this: Are you absolutely certain that you know what’s best for them? Have you asked them if they want your hep?
8. Learn to help, care, and love without giving away your power.
9. Be responsible for the story you tell yourself about life and your place in it.
10. Discover the identities you’ve taken on (victim, helper, life of the party, supermom, etc.), and evaluate whether they serve you.
11. When you’re angry or upset about something someone did or said, and/or if you find yourself thinking obsessively about them (positively or negatively), always check in: have you given them your power?
Now for the woo-woo part, which is just as important:
12. Learn what power loss and entanglement feel like. Learn what it feels like to be clean with your power. As you become increasingly familiar with the difference, you’ll know when repair is in order. This is easier said than done, but becomes increasingly clear when you practice the steps above and the following ceremony. Again, routinely doing a somatic practice like what we teach in Freedom is a great way to hone your sensitivity and familiarity with the felt sense of your power.
As a general guideline, when your power is entangled with another’s, you’re likely to feel something other than good and solid in yourself when you’re with them or thinking about them. You may feel a certain neediness toward them, as if you’re less than whole. You may feel overly affected by whatever they say and do. You may feel destabilized by them. You may feel tired. You may feel self-conscious. You may experience the idea of them as an irritant in your system.
13. Perform a ceremony of taking back your power and giving others theirs. It can be quick and easy. Imagine a pipe or tube connecting you and them. First you’re going to take back your power. Say or intend something like this: “Show me any fragments of my power that are in their energetic field.” And imagine these bits of power light up, like a bunch of fireflies (or however else they naturally appear to you).
Next, say or intend something like, “I’m sorry for giving you my power without your consent. I release you.” Then call your power back to you. Unlatch from the other person in all the places you’re hooked on. Imagine there’s a filter in the middle of the tube connecting the two of you, and the filter’s purpose is to only let what’s yours pass through to you. With each inhale, imagine you’re drawing back your power, pulling it out of them and into yourself. With each exhale, imagine that you’re re-incorporating this power within yourself and consolidating it into the central axis of your body. Do this for a few breaths until it feels complete.
Step two is to return anything of theirs that you’re carrying around. Ask for their energy to show itself and to unlatch from you. Then imagine the filter is reversed so that it only lets their energy pass through to them, without allowing any of your power to leave. As you relax and open yourself, imagine with each exhale that you are giving them back everything that’s theirs. Imagine With each inhale, imagine your own power is drawn toward the central axis of your head, neck, and torso, becoming a bright, strong column of light. Exhale again, releasing their energy back to them, and continue until you feel complete.
How do you feel? It’s not uncommon to notice that you feel instantly calmer and clearer when things are set straight in this way. Next time we’ll talk about the other form of power sacrifice I mentioned in the previous article (ignoring, denying, or failing to recognize our own power and agency).