We get so conditioned to keep things tidy– who wants to deal with the messes of life– that we learn to hand out our personal power to the lowest bidder. We avoid asking the difficult questions, speaking our needs, considering our passions at the risk of disappointing others, and setting boundaries crucial for our wellbeing because keeping the peace supposedly means putting the blinders on to the chaos happening internally. Keeping our untidy voices silent, the ones who prefer to get real, for years or decades on end is an excellent prescription for the eventual colossal meltdown. Our personal power will emerge, no matter how epic our battles to contain it.
Caroline Myss writes in her book, Anatomy Of The Spirit, a great paragraph on personal power. She says:
The late Dorothy Parker once remarked, “I hate writing. I love having written.” The same could be said about developing personal power: it feels like heaven once we’ve arrived, but the journey getting there is long and arduous. Life relentlessly brings us to realize the importance of the words of Polonius, “To thine own self be true.” For without personal power, life is a frightening, painful experience.
Like flying a plane with no rudder…
Handing away our personal power on a daily basis, something so many do, is much more terrifying over the long haul than asking for what we need, or setting boundaries, or yelling our anger every now and then. Because while we’re keeping our outward appearances neat and free of possible conflict, our inner workings are literally tearing us apart. Our bodies thrive when our spirits thrive and that can’t happen unless we’re true to ourselves, and learn to live that truth outwardly as well as inwardly.
Inspired by Anatomy Of The Spirit, here are a few questions to journal your way through. Answer them honestly and courageously. There is infinite power in your answers, so take your time.
- Do you like yourself? If not, what don’t you like about yourself and why?
- Are you honest? Do you sometimes misrepresent the truth? If so, why?
- Are you critical of others? Do you need to blame others as a way of protecting yourself?
- Are you able to admit it when you are wrong? Are you open to feedback from other people about yourself? Does it hurt to hear it?
- Do you need the approval of others? If so, why do you think this is?
- Do you consider yourself strong or weak? Are you afraid of taking care of yourself?
- Have you ever allowed yourself to be in a relationship with a person you didn’t really love, but it seemed better than being alone?
- Do you respect yourself? Can you decide to make changes in your lifestyle and then stick to your commitment?
- Are you afraid of responsibility? Or do you feel responsible for everything and everyone?
- Are you continually wishing your life were different? If so, are you doing anything to change it, or have you resigned yourself to your situation?
Talking does not heal. Taking action does.” ~ Caroline Myss