Claiming Your Personal Power

Personal Power

Let’s talk about power; your personal power.

How much of your own power do you give away on a regular basis?

You give your personal power away when you make someone or something outside of you more important than what is inside of you.

If you do not value who and what you are, you will seek to borrow worth from the outer world. You will look for validation from people whom you believe know or have more than you.

But since everything you need is inside you and no one can know more about your path and purpose than you do, any power you ascribe to external sources must eventually explode in your face and leave you feeling worse than when you started. This is why your self-worth tends to roller coaster so much.

I used to do this a lot: in my marriage, with my family and friends, etc. I was constantly giving away my power (and bits of myself) and in turn giving people power over me. Maybe you do the same.

Why do people give away their personal power?

Let’s take a look at five typical reasons why people give away their power.

They’re afraid of conflict. They don’t want to “rock the boat” or upset someone else. If there is a messy situation, they don’t want to confront the other person about it, especially if it is a family member or close friend. This is a big one and VERY common.

They’re afraid of facing responsibility and being a grownup. A lot of people really want to still be a child. They want to have the innocence, protection, and lack of daily struggles that adults have. They think, “It would be great just to be a kid.” They may not even be conscious of this but they simply want to be a child again.

You give up your power in this situation because children are often quite powerless in many ways. It can feel like it would be a huge relief to give it all to someone else to take care of.

This person might say, “I just want to have somebody else take care of it for me,” or “I don’t want to evaluate the situations the people close to me in my life—my parents, spouse, brother or sister—are creating and how they are affecting me.

They’re afraid of what others might think. For example, some people may go out for dinner and entertainment and participate in activities that they really don’t have the money for but then they put it on a credit card. When the credit card bill comes in, they’re not able to pay it off.

They didn’t want to decline attending those events or spending time with people in that way because they were embarrassed. They didn’t want someone to know that they didn’t have the money to go out to dinner, attend an event, etc. They are afraid that people will talk about them. They can even be afraid that someone will be angry with them.

This is also about peer pressure. Peer pressure is very persuasive. Being afraid of what others might think is a very common reason why people give up their power.

They’re afraid of looking like a failure. This one looks really counter-intuitive. What happens for people with this fear is that they don’t want to look or feel like a failure in the eyes of others. For some people that drives them to be very successful. But you never know that’s the reason behind their success because they don’t talk about it and because to the outside world they’re very high functioning.

There are a lot of people who feel the fear of looking like a failure. What they’re actually doing is holding themselves back from success. They’re so afraid of failing that they don’t take any risks. They don’t step out in a more public way. They don’t step up into opportunities. They end up creating the very thing that they’re most afraid of, which is failing, because they’re not anywhere near as successful as they could be.

They’re afraid of disempowering someone else. Whether that’s accurate or not doesn’t matter. To the person who’s giving away their power it feels accurate and real. This shows up, for example, when women are afraid to make more money than their husbands or when a person is afraid to make more money than a parent. They fear that if they make more it will hurt the other person in some way.

Claiming and stepping into your power does take practice. I have yet to meet somebody who does not give away their power in some way. Even I do it, truthfully. I catch myself early so that I can deal with it. It all starts with recognizing you are doing it and then taking steps to prevent it.

At first it often feels uncomfortable. Honestly, it will feel uncomfortable until it doesn’t. Over time, you will gain enormous confidence. You may still have situations that challenge but you do have a choice.

Do you give up your personal power like you have in the past, or do you claim and stand in your power? The choice is yours.

About the Author

Heather WIlsonHeather E. Wilson is the founder and CEO of The Canadian Coach, a directory and membership platform designed to unite, support and promote Canadian coaches. She's a successful business coach, speaker, author (Your Life According to You!), warrior, change-maker, risk-taker, and adventurer all rolled into one dynamic package.