As always, I looked up power and one definition was: the capacity or ability to influence the behavior of others or direct the course of events.
This definition resonated big time. And it got me thinking a lot about the way we humans use our power. Because the truth is that we all hold such great, great power…
But the question is how do we use it?
I’ve seen it used so many ways: Empowerment of others. Advancement of an idea. Transformation of a situation. Influencing the growth of an individual as well as a community. I’ve also seen power used to instill fear and create guilt. I’ve witnessed people using their power to get what they want without any regard for anyone else. And I’ve seen power being abused in many inequitable relationships.
And this type of behavior isn’t just employed in big corporations or political offices; no this type of behavior is exemplified in yoga communities, small companies, school yards, on the Internet, in relationships, and behind closed doors.
The truth is, the reason behind every single disagreement in every single relationship, is an imbalance of power. Power over another can ruin and rule a lot of our relationships.
I mean, we are very powerful beings, flinging our power all over the place, in any one given moment. Are we conscious when we use this God given power? Are we using it for the benefit of all individuals involved?
Best to know what you want and then discern if that desire for power is coming from a conscious place or an egotistical need. Making the wrong decision could mean cleaning up lots of karma later.
Are we consciously utilizing our power in a way that is compassionate, admirable, and yet beneficial? And is it in balance with just how much power we are allowing others to express?
Power over money, power over decisions, power over sex, power of earning capability, power over the community, power to make the final choice.
On the flip side of expressing our power is examining how often and how easily we give our power away. Because that is such an easy thing to do, without even knowing we’re doing it.
Saying yes when you mean no. Avoiding confrontation to keep the peace. Allowing someone to speak on your behalf. Not standing up for what you believe in just because you’re afraid; of something that is probably irrational anyway.
I hear people say, “he/she took my power away” or “he/she wouldn’t let me be myself” or “he/she made me feel this way”. And now, this whole bullying thing that has become an epidemic in our schools, at work, and on the Internet has gotten me thinking about power.
The truth is this:
You were born with power and you are in charge. Period.
You are the one who has to learn how to use it in a kind, beneficial way.
And no one, I mean no one, can take it away. Ever.
We willingly give our power away and we manage just how we use it. Period.
I know some of you out there are saying, “Oh really? What about war? What about rape? What about divorce? What about adultery? What about terrorism? What about sex trafficking? What about these horrific things that go on every day that some of us in our bubble don’t even pay attention to?”
I get it. It hurts my heart, some of these things that are happening around the globe that we have absolutely no control over. And we sometimes feel powerless to do anything.
I get it.
But here’s the deal…We can manage ourselves and only ourselves. We can choose how we use our internal power to make things right, to ignore, or to pray. We can stand up for what we believe is true and right and just, and we can pray that our efforts create something different.
I tell my girls, all the time – no one can make you do anything, ever. Not even me. I can only suggest, challenge and redirect. At some point they have to make their own decisions on how best to use their power.
And that of course, led me to the idea that if this were indeed true, well than, you can never be a victim. And that in actuality, every single time that you have felt powerless, you have given it away. Unconsciously or consciously.
When you sit in that … potentially uncomfortable-ness for a little bit, you realize that in and of itself is such a powerful place to be. When you recognize that you have complete responsibility and jurisdiction over your power, life takes on a whole new meaning.
Because if you gave it away, you can get it back. Anytime you want.
You can get it back.
And that is power.
By Dana Damara
“My passion on the mat is proper alignment, powerful breath and effortless flow so you feel that off your mat. Your practice becomes sacred space where you arrive to find more meaning, depth, authenticity and integrity in your life."
- Dana Damara: mother, author, yoga instructor, speaker and yogini.
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