Feeling powerful doesn't mean that we should wield power, like a weapon, to get what we want. Power doesn't mean suppressing the things that we don't like about ourselves to achieve that perfect version of ourselves that doesn't really exist anyway. And power isn't money, status, or possessions, either. There are plenty of humans, and a few frogs too, who live in the lap of luxury and feel even more powerless than many average folks do. You might ask, "why is that?" And it'd be a fair question. The answer, it seems, doesn't lie "out there" somewhere. It lies within; it's how we view ourselves and our relationship to the world we live in.
Here are five things we can all do right now to conquer that feeling of powerlessness.
1. Stop giving away your power. This may seem obvious but the shift in power can be very subtle. Becoming powerless doesn't happen all at once. It happens very gradually...so gradually that we often don't feel it slipping away. For many of us, especially the human (and frog) pleaser-types, we're all too happy to give away our power if it'll make someone else happy, or if it helps to keep the peace. But in both small and large ways, these simple acts of "giving in" can reduce our feelings of self-worth. And without self-worth, we cannot lose our sense of powerlessness. They feed off each other.
2. Examine why it's feels "good" to be a victim. Once you begin to chip away at your self-worth, it's a short step down to feeling like a victim. The definition of victim here, is "inflicting selfless pain." We tell ourselves that we don't really matter. We become a sort of martyr by turning our pain into virtue. After all, we're doing this for the greater good, aren't we? Or are we? Victims like to worry...a lot. But as we've all learned by now, worrying about bad things only increases the chance that they'll actually happen. When we become obsessed with worrying over everything, our minds get cluttered up and can no longer tell the real threats from the imaginary ones. Often, worry feels like protection when, in fact, it's just the opposite. The first step in relinquishing your victimhood, is to realize that it's a voluntary role. You are not trapped by fate, destiny, or the will of a Higher Power. And it's OK to give it up. Playing the part of the victim in the "play" of your life doesn't serve you well. And rarely serves others well, either.
3. Develop your core self. Humans are the only creatures who do not mature automatically. Tadpoles, for instance, have no choice but to morph into adult frogs. Yet many humans stay stuck in childhood and adolescence..no matter how old they are chronologically. Maturity for humans, then, is a conscious choice. Adulthood is an achievement. And the prize for getting there is personal power. Connecting to reality, to that true part of yourself where you inherently know know your self-worth, can take decades. To have a core self that you deeply believe in allows you to be the author of your own life story. It is the exact opposite of being a victim where someone else writes your story for you. So, do you want a biography? Or an autobiography?
4. Align yourself with your own evolution, or personal growth. Once you establish your core self as your goal, the path forward will unfold. Evolution will begin. This evolution can be wobbly at first; like a baby just learning to walk. But because humans have free will, you can consciously choose to keep going, even if you fall down a bunch of times. There'd be very few biped humans if you didn't have the ability to keep picking yourself up and trying to walk again (and again, if necessary). It's a simple fact that frogs, and humans, will automatically choose more and better things for ourselves. If those more and better things are good for our growth, then we are guiding our own positive evolution. In India, it's called dharma...that which naturally upholds life; happiness, truth, duty, virtue, wonder, worship, reverence, appreciation, nonviolence, love, and self-respect. Dharma, then, is our ultimate power. All that is required to harness this power is for each of us to take an honest look at our everyday life and the choices we are making. Ask yourself how you can make better, supportive, life choices.
5. Trust in a power that transcends everyday reality. Nothing we've talked about so far, can come without a higher reality. "Fortunately, to have even a speck of consciousness is to be connected to the finite consciousness that supports life, evolution, creativity, and intelligence. None of these things are accidental or a privilege handed out to a lucky few," says Dr. Deepak Chopra, well-known author, public speaker, and alternative medicine advocate. He explains this, using the metaphor of a fishing net. All nets have holes in them, he reminds us, so in order to not get trapped, we need to find a hole and jump through it. Escape routes exist along the qualities hidden in consciousness. they include:
Creativity - Go beyond by discovery and exploration.This leads to insights as your inner vision clears; Intelligence - Let your mind lead the way. You start having newer, more exciting thoughts. Beliefs are challenged and new points of view become intriguing. Dr. Chopra believes, "You start to see glimmers of light through the fog of your situation. Something more beautiful attracts you and you want to go towards it."; Love and compassion - Discover that you can forgive yourself and others. Remembrances of hurt and revenge are replaced with emotional softening. You begin to see untapped love all around you. Miraculously, the desire to love, and be love, starts to motivate you...and without your old excuse of being unworthy; Quantum leaps - Notice - and learn- when you have an epiphany. These are moments of dramatic awakening. These moments allow us to peel away a layer of reality which reveal a new level of consciousness that brings more light to us; Devotion - This isn't necessarily a religious thing, although it can be. I like to think of it as awe and wonder. From this vantage point, you can see "a reason to revere your own existence. You have been placed in this world where you can be devoted to something and your worship gives you a sense of worth," states Dr. Chopra.
All of these escape routes lead us back to who we really are. And that inner person, and inner frog, knows what really counts; the beauty of creation, the awesomeness of nature, the heart qualities of love and compassion, and intelligence to discover new things. These are the universal aspects of real power. And all with no gym membership required, or lifting heavy weights, or even getting off the couch.
I don't know about you, but I feel more powerful already!