Begin With Yourself

[continued from Don’t Give It Away]

I was going to move on to Skip’s next question but found myself meditating on yesterday’s question: What does it mean to give your power away? I wrote about HOW people give away their power but didn’t really address the question: What does it mean to give away your power? I thought about the question all night and this morning I went back to the beginning. I revisited the first 5 posts I wrote in this “truly powerful people” series. This the beginning of the very first post written 3 years ago:

Truly powerful people are dedicated to inspiring true power in others.

It goes like this: empowered people empower others.

When I wrote those words I understood – as I still understand – personal power as an aspect of relationship, something created between people. The phrase, “…give away your power” implies that power is something possessed. You have it or you don’t. If it can be given away then it can be acquired. It cannot. Power is like artistry. It is generated from a way of being. Were I to write those words today I would add this:

Empowered people empower others and thereby empower themselves.

It is a circle, a feedback loop.

So, I need to clarify my statement: giving away power is actually not possible because power is not a possession. Power is an energy that can be magnified or weakened. It is possible to drain power from a relationship, to reduce it, to shrink it, to deny it, to fear it, or to diminish it. And since power is magnified or diminished in the space between people, when “giving away power,” all are diminished.

Each of us has a relationship with our self. If you doubt me simply listen to the conversations inside your head. Who are you talking to? Who is talking? Who is listening? For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that no one….is one. No one is unified. Singular. We are split into different roles (this split is what it means to be driven out of the Garden of Eden – it’s a metaphor of becoming separated from your self), and one of those roles really likes to judge. Listen to the phrases you say to yourself: “I’m good enough/not good enough.” We like ourselves. We dislike ourselves. Who does the liking? Who does the disliking? The point is that you are in a relationship with yourself.

The process of empowering the self is the same process as empowering others. Empowerment begins when we cease attempting to get power from others and create it within ourselves. Sometimes seeking power from others looks like seeking approval, sometimes that looks like seeking attention, often it looks like trying to control. It sounds odd, doesn’t it? Why would you need to seek attention from your self? How often have you said the phrase, “I didn’t listen to myself?” How often have you invested in your self-doubts? When you withhold your voice, you are controlling your self. When you attach to the notion that you should be more like others, you are negating your self. All of these are examples of “giving away your power.” And, to be more accurate, it is impossible to give away your power but it is infinitely possible to give away OUR power. We are all in this together.

[…to be continued]

For a humorous look at the wonderful world of innovation and new ventures, check out my new comic strip Fl!p and the gang at Fl!p Comics.

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