6 Ways To Regain A Sense of Power

Editor’s Note: the original version of this article was first posted on the C2C in 2010.

I felt as if the rug had been swept from under my feet last week. I was able to identify the feeling as a sense of powerlessness. But I’m feeling the ol’ power back in me again, and, as always, it’s time to share! Here’s what I did to finally regain the power I had lost:

1. Make Peace With Powerlessness

You thought I was going to say that you should “make peace with the fact that you are all-powerful and control everything in the universe!” Nope. Although this idea might be comforting, it isn’t true. I think it’ll just make you feel more drained of your power if you believe that “you can control everything” because this belief will always clash with the reality of “no, you can’t control everything.” There are those that say you can do nothing and everything is out of your control, and there are those who say that you can do everything and that everything is within your control. The truth, I have discovered, is somewhere in the middle. There is plenty out of your control, so make peace with it, and then let it go. Then refocus your attention back on what you can control: what you think, what you say, and what you do. These three things seem innocent enough, but they are extremely powerful and, fortunately, they are always within your control. Oh, does the world seem to be crumbling around you?  That’s fine. Just make the assertion in your mind that all this will soon pass, say that you are grateful for what you currently have, and then take one action today to make things better for the future. Now, you tell me, what’s more powerful than that?

2. Compromise

Again, you probably thought I was going to say that you should “remain stubborn and never give in!” or “fight back until the other side caves!” You might think that you’re flexing your power when you insist on getting exactly what you want out of a situation and not ever bending to someone else’s will, but there are times when you would be wrong in that assumption. At a certain point, you may realize that the person at the other side of this power struggle is really holding you hostage instead of the other way around. It’s because you insist on settling things only on your terms that you’re actually prolonging this power struggle instead of bringing it to a quick end. Prolonging the struggle is draining you of your power and it isn’t making your life or the other person’s life any better. So, if you still insist on ending things your way, and the other person has still not given in, then you might want to try a different strategy. Try to find out what the other person wants and maybe you can strike a deal that the both of you can agree on. If both of you come out of the final compromise feeling half-happy and half-upset, then you did it right. Hey, it’s better than having you both feeling miserable and drained of power for an indefinite amount of time. Compromise helps you both move forward, instead of prolonging a long and exhausting stalemate.

3. Practice Empathy

You’ll find compromise much easier if you first learn to emphasize with the person you feel is draining you of your power. Empathy is very under-appreciated and misunderstood, but I personally believe it’s the most powerful tool that humans have at their disposal. Empathy, used correctly, can literally save the world. Okay, so you know that person who is draining you of all your power? That evil, Gollum-type thing crawling around, following you, making your life a living nightmare? It’s time you stepped in to his or her shoes. Ask yourself what would have had to have happened to you to end up the way this person did? Did you imagine something incredibly awful, and nearly unimaginable? It is my strong belief that something as awful as you imagined probably did happen to that person. It could be as heartbreaking as this person had parents who abandoned him at a young age, or as simple as someone never taught him how to be considerate. Evil, unlike your sexuality or gender, is not a biological trait. It ain’t in your genes. Even if that person who is taking away your power is someone who is just incredibly annoying, remember that they’re human, and ask yourself what would you want if you were them. Then give that to them. Generally, when you do, a shift starts to happen, and they became less of a monster out to get you, and more like a regular human being who suffers just like you do. You are now confronting another human being, instead of a monster, and so you become less like a frightened child in their presence and more like their equal. Now that’s power.

4. Tell Your Truth

Nothing sucks away your power more than lies and secrets you want to tell, but feel you can’t. So find a good friend you can count on, and share that truth that you’ve been keeping to yourself. Your friend may surprise you: they may even share a similar experience (what a pleasant miracle that would be, right?) and you can start to feel relieved. That burden can be lifted, and there goes a big heap of stress you no longer have to deal with. I encourage you, even if you feel you can’t tell a friend or a family member, to tell a counselor. Counselors are experts at what they do and they are your number one supporter. For many of them, it is their calling, and they sincerely care about helping you improve your life. Once your truth is out, its hold on you is shattered, and you will immediately feel a sense of freedom and a renewed inner strength. The best thing is that you’ll never have to go through the process ever again. Whereas if you keep lying, the worries about someone finding out will only multiply and multiply, and you’ll find it harder to move forward. Of course, some secrets may not be appropriate to share with everyone, or you may not feel ready to share it with everyone, but it is important to share it with someone at least. Trust me, you’ll feel much better afterward.

5. Confront Your Greatest Fear

We all know that the best way to get over our fears is to confront them head on. Of course, this is easier said than done. But if you are tired of feeling like you have no power, then it probably means it’s about time you get past those fears and confront that thing or person that scares you the most. It may be that it’s in the presence of this person (or thing) that makes you feel the most weak. This thing has had incredible power over you in the past, but now you must release its hold on you by staring it straight in the face and tell it everything you need to say. Tell it that you are no longer afraid, ask of it whatever you need, make your demands, call it whatever names you like. Then, depending on what it is, you might want to order it to leave you alone. Once you are done, leave, and leave your sense of powerlessness behind you.

6. Forgive

It is important that before you leave this person (or situation) that you make peace with the fact that you may never feel a sense of full and complete closure. That’s ok. You’ve done all that is within your power, and that is more than enough.

But the final move toward regaining a sense of personal power is to forgive. I have to be clear: to forgive is not to condone. To forgive is not to forget. To forgive is not even for the other person, although the other person directly benefits from the act. To forgive is all about you. To forgive is all about letting go and taking a step towards your personal freedom. You must forgive the person or persons who you feel have wronged you in the past. At this point, by you holding a grudge, they still have considerable power over you. You can let go of their power over you by finally letting go of that grudge. Let go of the anger. If you are holding on to the anger because you think it will make the other person suffer, you are mistaken. Holding on to your anger is doing nothing to the other person, but it is certainly making things worse for you. Remember that the anger is inside of you, not in them, and it is making your life miserable not theirs. So take the only action that is certain to make that anger fade away. Forgive. No need to push it. Wait until you are ready. Wait until you know it’s time. But don’t delay much longer after you have decided it’s the best thing to do. To forgive them is to regain your power and your life back–and there’s no better time start your life anew, then today.

much power to you,

Ollin

What do you to do to help regain a sense of power in your life? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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12 comments on “6 Ways To Regain A Sense of Power

  1. Stewart says:

    4. Tell your truth. Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been doing this at least weekly since my world caved in. I have two friends that combined know everything. You can’t truly be free until you own your story… all those truths. Just saying it out loud heals you… and will surprisingly helps your friend feel like they’re not crazy, too. Everyone has these uncomfortable truths.

    This, Ollin, is the first time I’ve seen someone write about “telling your truth”. Good content. I hope it helps the world. Interestingly enough, that idea plus a quote you use later, makes me wonder if we’ve read the same book.

    -Stu

  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    If only I’d read this a few years ago. What wonderful advice Ollin. Thanks!

  3. Excellent,practical advice,Ollin! I like all your points but my favorite one is #4- stand in your truth. That is so empowering and freeing. It all reminds me of the Serenity Prayer which is something I do live by..”Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can and the WISDOM to know the difference” This post is a great reminder. Thanks!

  4. Christina says:

    Thank you Ollin, for using your personal challenges as away of helping all of us out!

    Happy Halloween!

  5. When I’m in a place (mentally or physically) that is less fun for me, I recall a powerful message I read once. It said if you’re “dreading a part of the day, do some mental work. Find something to love about each phase before you enter it.” That thought has sustained me many times and helped lift my spirits. Thank you for your very positive post.

  6. M.E. Anders says:

    You caused me to ponder my life and the choices I have made. #5 was one of the points I used to start my novel writing. I was scared to use anything in my past for writing fodder. Once I bucked up the courage to write about it, I felt free to pursue all sorts of other topics.

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