I keep seeing this quote around social media. No, I want to tell everyone who posts it. Recognize and claim the truth: you are powerful!
We live in a world where people (and especially women) can feel powerless. It shows up in the way we externalize happiness, thinking that having more “stuff” or having the approval of others will give us a sense of love and security. It shows up in the way that we numb out to our feelings, disconnecting from ourselves or each other.
I understand why someone would hesitate to claim their power. The first time I ever did, it felt bold and risky, like an invitation for my inner critic to bring up the very worst of my flaws.
But we need to own our personal power. The major work of self-realization is to fully recognize, own, and act from one’s sense of personal power.
What Power Isn’t
Sometimes we equate negative characteristics with power, thinking that it’s about domination, someone else losing or missing out, or a fundamental inequality. This is an out-dated notion of power.
Power is collaboration, interdependence, and everyone showing up to bring their particular, individual gifts.
Translation: to be a powerful society, and create a powerful world, we need YOU. We need you to own your powerful gifts, and show up to take part by playing your unique part.
Some people criticize personal growth as being narcissistic and navel-gazing. I’m sure that for some people, it can be, but in my own life and in my coaching practice, I’m always acutely aware of how helping people to recognize, own, and act from their own personal power is not about benefiting the individual. It’s for the good of the collective whole.
The clients that I’ve worked with have never finished our time together and sat back to say, “Ah, yes, my life is better. Too bad for those other guys.”
No–they’re owning their power, expanding their own sense of love and connection with themselves, and that becomes a greater capacity with their families. It becomes doing amazing work at their jobs or writing books that can change people’s lives. They’re cutting the drama from their lives so that they can be more effective in their day-to-day, which means that they are also more loving, open, and generous.
A fearful society is not a powerful society. The work of making courageous habits the back bone of your life is never going to be solely about you.
Declare your power.
You are not somehow more powerful just because you don’t declare it.
I’d like to see more people declaring that they are powerful. If it makes you uncomfortable to think of doing that, of stating something as simple as “I’m a powerful person,” then I’d invite you to think about why that is.
After all, I’m guessing that fewer people would have trouble saying, “I’m a kind person” or “I’m a loving person.”
Why not also recognize, own, and declare that you are powerful?
Owning and declaring your own power actually models for others, especially other young women who are looking to you for an example, what’s possible.
We face a lot of problems in this world. Violence, human-trafficking, economic disparity, and environmental crises aren’t going to be helped by a group of people who feel powerless. If this same group of people trying to help with these challenges is fearful of a simple declaration of their own power, how are these problems ever going to be legitimately faced?
Meeting the challenges that you might face in your day-to-day, such as clinical depression, substance abuse, disease and illness, dysfunctional family or marital dynamics, or an overwhelmingly busy schedule isn’t going to go well if you’re feeling too powerless to even look yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m a powerful person. I can face this.”
If you feel powerless, start the work of shifting that. It’s not a selfish endeavor. The work that you do in this area is actually for all of us.
Go ahead. Recognize your power. Then declare it, loud and proud, so that we can join one another!
Kate Swoboda, a.k.a. Kate Courageous, is a life coach, writer and speaker who teaches people how to practice courage in their lives and livelihood. Learn more about her and how you can practice courage in your own life and business on her website , or follow Kate on Twitter or Facebook.