I've decided to go out on a limb here and post a section of a book I'm writing. Nope, it's not a prospecting or mining book, although I believe there's gold to be mined in it. The book is titled Positive Pathways: a Simple Guide to a Better Life and is composed of short chapters or individual "pathways" as I call them. I'm laying out one of those pathways in this post to get an idea of what you, my readers, think in general terms. I'd appreciate any and all feedback (positive or negative) you can provide me. It's not easy to put myself out there like this, but I have trust in you good people...otherwise I wouldn't be doing this.
Developing Your Personal Power
“Remember, NO ONE has the right to control your emotions, thoughts, and actions unless you let them.”
-Kevin J. Donaldson
Mr. Donaldson’s words provide a solid follow-on to the message contained in Pathway 8. The only way that another person can control how you think, feel, or act is if you allow them to. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Once you give your personal power away to others you surrender your right to pursue your own destiny as you see fit. Moreover, you also surrender your right to feel good about yourself (and life in general) since your thoughts and feelings are being dictated to you by another person or, alternately, by some sort of external situation. When you surrender your personal power this way, it’s up to that other person or situation whether you feel good about yourself or not. You can never be directed or powerful by enslaving yourself this way. Deliberately surrendering your personal power to others is the quickest path to mental, emotional, and spiritual pain. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.
In my view, there are two distinct types of personal power, positive and negative. The former is the power you were meant to develop if you truly seek self-realization and personal happiness in your life. Positive personal power includes a range of self-validating attributes, including:
· Exuding self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-assertion;
· Showing generosity of spirit;
· Doing the “right” thing;
· Striving to establish healthy relationships;
· Finding real meaning in your life;
· Displaying sensitivity, creativity, and vision;
· Developing strength of character; and
· Manifesting the importance of self-realization and an active “inner” life.
This list is by no means all-inclusive but it provides a good idea of the attributes associated with a truly powerful person. Personal power is above all, humane and caring, and those practicing it live for their greater good and the greater good of others.
On the other hand, those operating from a standpoint of negative personal power tend to be users or exploiters bent on self-aggrandizement, domination, or control. Their sense of personal power is usually based on external drivers such as social or financial status, abuse of authority, or physical or emotional intimidation as opposed to a sincere desire for finding inner peace, growth, and contentment. The tools of their trade? Bullying tactics such as implied (or real) threats and passive-aggressive tendencies that include making others feel guilty, fearful, or insignificant. Negative power is exactly as its name implies. It is the “dark side of the force” whether applied knowingly or not.
Having a strong sense of positive personal power is the best defense in combatting the slings and arrows thrown your way by those who work strictly from negative frameworks. By developing your inner power you automatically seek to reject negativity and all those who apply its more malicious aspects, especially those who want to control you or cause you psychic or emotional harm. Like a flower garden needing protection from voracious insects or parasites, your positive inner self must be protected from those who would harm it as well. That’s one good reason (among many) why you need to develop your personal power.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the individual attributes that help create personal power:
It’s unfortunate so many people equate self-love with arrogance or narcissism since self-love is the fountain from which all healing waters spring forth. Without a balanced sense of self-love there’s no way you can move forward along the pathway of self-realization and spiritual growth. Self-love is based on honest self-appraisal and the realization that despite the usual human faults and weaknesses we all have, you are a person of value and that the universal source loves you just the way you are. Self-hatred or self-loathing are negative constructs that indicate you’ve accepted the tribal definition of your worth as a person or the distorted value assessments foisted upon you by others. That’s their problem, however. All YOU need to do is to refuse to accept their definition of your value and learn to love yourself for the unique and creative person you are. How do you learn to love yourself and reach your highest level of personal power?
Listen to what your inner voice has to tell you.
Within each and every person of true character is an inner voice or spiritual guidance system that directs those in tune with it in doing the right thing regardless of the circumstance in question. When in doubt, listen to your inner voice and follow its lead.
Eliminate all negative beliefs about yourself.
Loving yourself requires that you rid yourself of any and all negative beliefs you have about yourself. These negatives are often reflected in the mental conversations you have about yourself that are most often reflected by statements like, “I’m stupid,” “I’m ugly,” “I’m an idiot,” “I’ll never amount to anything,” and so on.
Quit trying to be perfect in your own eyes or the eyes of others.
Each of us has our strengths, weaknesses and middle ground issues so no one is perfect. Refute the negative estimations thrust upon you by others and learn to accept yourself just the way you are while vowing to change any areas within you that need changing. Remember, what others think of you is none of your business.
Stop accommodating others at the expense of your own happiness.
If you find yourself becoming increasingly unhappy over the fact that you’re continually doing for others with little or no appreciation for your efforts then it’s time to break free of the chains of co-dependence or subservience. Trying to make things right or good for others is a noble premise in its purest form, but not when your own sense of well-being or inner peace suffers.
Interact only with those who build you up, not tear you down.
Your path to true fulfillment cannot be accomplished if you surround yourself with those who are continually tearing you down instead of building you up. Granted, we often have to no choice when it comes to being around negative or toxic people (work and family relationships, for example) but you should never willingly seek out people who make you feel unhappy or continually chip away at your self-esteem by criticizing you or demeaning you.
Maintain a positive attitude no matter what.
No matter what comes your way in this life or how difficult or painful the circumstances, you must always try to maintain a positive outlook and attitude. When those self-defeating or negative thoughts enter your mind stop them in their tracks and start focusing on what IS right and good in your life. There is absolutely no value added by wallowing in a miasma of self-pity or negativity.
Respect yourself always.
You can’t project a sense of personal power if you don’t respect yourself nor can you expect others to respect you. Any personal lack of self-respect on your part only ensures greater pain and discontent in your life. You must love and respect yourself always.
Don’t try to love those who can’t or won’t love you in return.
One of the major pitfalls to avoid in developing a strong sense of personal power is loving those who can’t or won’t love you in return. Any time you find yourself on the weaker end of this equation you’re setting yourself up for great inner turmoil and no small amount of emotional pain. Remember also that you can’t force someone to love you or care for you. Those attempts at controlling others will only bring you to your knees quicker.
The path to developing your own sense of personal power is not all that difficult if you bear in mind what we’ve discussed here. If what you’ve been doing and thinking in the past hasn’t brought forth a powerful new you, then it’s time to leave the old ways of thinking and doing behind. After all, they’ve brought you little advantage over the years. So why not flip the switch and allow the power of the real you to illuminate your soul and the hearts and minds of those around you?
There’s never a better time than now.
“I choose to feel good about myself.”
“I’m a thoughtful and powerful person.”
“I respect myself.”
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org