By Sibyl McLendon
When you see the words "personal power", I wonder what you think. The word "power" has such strange connotations these days: power lunches, power ties, power bars… the word has become virtually meaningless in today's society. Unless, of course, you feel power-less, or you are the one with all the power! The word has become trite and cliché. So many people are so out of touch with the idea of personal power that it is becoming a lost concept. Western Society is filled with people who feel as if they nave no personal power, and yet it is a part of their every moment of life! The need for understanding personal power, what it is and how to use it, is epidemic
I think of personal power as a gift to us from the Creator, but even an atheist can tap into and understand the concept of personal power. Reduced to its finest point, it simply means that every moment of every day, you are deciding what will happen to you. Now, let me interject here that I am speaking of people who are over the age of reason. Obviously, 5 year-olds are not in total control of their lives! It only feels to the parent as if the child rules the roost. But, after a certain age, everyone who is not suffering from a mental defect is making their own decisions about everything they do. And that is what personal power is: making decisions. Every second of every day, you decide what will happen to you. The difference between knowing this and just acting automatically is the key to personal success.
If you do not feel that you have any personal power, it is because you have lost touch with it, or you have given yours to someone else. No one can take this from you; you have to give it to them, freely and willingly. Let us take the example of the woman who is living with an abusive man. She feels powerless. She may be afraid to leave. She may still be thinking that he will change. What she is doing, in reality, is giving her personal power to the abuser, every moment of every day. She gave it to him by deciding to become involved with an abusive man in the first place. Or, she gave it to him the moment that he was first abusive, and she stayed with him anyway. She made this decision, and at any moment she can decide to leave. It might be difficult, but it is never impossible. Why did she allow herself to get into this situation in the first place? Low self-esteem, you might say. Well then, she has given her personal power to whoever it was that told her that she was worthless. By buying into it, she has relinquished her ability to make logical, unemotional decisions. The second that she ceased to make good decisions for herself, she lost touch with her personal power.
An extreme example of this is people who become involved with religious cults, especially to the point of committing suicide en masse. They have turned their personal power over to the leader, saying, "I don't want to make my own decisions anymore! I only make mistakes. You decide what will become of me. Promise me life everlasting, and I am your willing slave." Rather than thinking problems through, they have decided to give up total control. Maybe they had made a mess of their lives, but it was due to making poor decisions, and that is a problem in life that can be overcome.
Now I can hear some of you saying, "What about accidents? My sister was just standing on the corner when a car went out of control and hit her." Well, extracting the concept of Karma, she did make the decision to go out that day. She chose her route. She made every decision that led to her that street corner at that time. At any moment, she could have turned left instead of right. I am certainly not saying that she was the reason that she was struck by the car, but just that her decisions played a part.
Whether or not you believe in the existence of a Creator, you know that you have a brain. You can think. You use this brain constantly, so why not use it wisely? Consider the fact that everything that happens to you is the result of a decision that you have made. This is your personal power. You can make the decision to change at any moment. You can walk out of a bad relationship whenever you want. If you have allowed yourself to become financially dependant on a bad situation, take back your personal power, and make decisions that will create the money you need to change it. You can do it! The moment that you say to yourself that you are ready for a change, then you have changed. Connect to your own personal power, I guarantee you, it is there.