“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Fear is the antithesis of personal power. We experience fear for so many reasons, often fear of the unknown, equally often, I believe, as fear of re-experiencing past pain. Our past experiences so often dictate how we live our future. This can be a great tool for our own protection of course – if we touch a hot stove as a child we won’t ever do it again! However, it can also be a block to how we conduct ourselves authentically.
When I was a teen, a couple of guys once said that my friend was the one with the personality and that I was the one with the looks. Highly hurtful to both of us. I think, especially in our teen years, we often place a higher vale on looks, she likely felt a great deal of pain from this and completely overlooked that I also did. And for my part, I didn’t feel comfortable expressing my own pain from that comment – because I got a compliment (so did she, but again, higher value on looks). The truth is, though, that comment stayed with me and still comes up from time to time in my mind as one of the most hurtful and damaging comments I ever experienced, even now at 51. I’ve been through a lot in my years but for some reason that stands out.
When that guy made that comment he essentially told me that my personality sucked and that all I was worth was my body, my looks. I was a shy kid and a bit on the awkward side, and called weird more than once. So I was already sensitive to this and trying my best to fit in. I tried to fit in through alcohol and drugs mostly, so this simple comment solidified my choices, I needed booze to fit in, to come out of the shell.
I gave my power away.
Now all these years later, and 19 years sober, I have learned and grown so much. I’ve finally come into a place where I feel authentic and have allowed the real Reena to show up. And finally, finally, realized that what people think of me is none of my business. What I think of me, however, is vitally important. Over the years I’ve worked on myself through yoga, reading countless books on spirituality and self-esteem and you name it! I’ve educated myself, taken course after course after course and got to a place where I felt like maybe I had more than a body and looks to offer (thankfully – I am 51 after all lol). There was still a piece of me that felt like I wasn’t enough though.
How many people, particularly women, feel this way? Staggering amounts! So how do we reclaim our personal power? For me, it started when I looked at the ways I was I was not living in accordance with my own values. My values are tied up in a sense of justice for all, in equal opportunities, in freedom, in authenticity and truth (for a start). So when I looked at the ways in which I was stepping out of my values and committed to changing that, I ended up changing a lot! I was finally ready to give up some things in my life that were causing conflict within. I stepped through a lot of fear and claimed my space. I did this through coaching, mindfulness as well as my meditation and yoga practices. It allowed me to see who I really was from my core and find the courage to live from that.
I reclaimed my power.
I’d love to hear how you are going about your own journey to personal power, please leave your comments!