Dear Dr. B,
A friend of mine recommended that I check out your work and when I saw your photos I knew I was meant to find you. I figure that a woman holding a whip and smiling knows a thing or two about power. That’s my struggle right now: Understanding how I can be more powerful in my own life. I’m hiding in the shadows, being supportive of those around me but not really having anything to call my own, including opinions. Growing up, power was a dirty word so I don’t know how to handle even the concept of it. Can you please help me understand how I can fix this?
~ Sheepish in Seattle
Dear Sheepish in Seattle,
I’m so glad you found me!
Power is one of my favorite subjects for a whole host of reasons.
You’re so right about power having negative connotations. It’s developed a bad reputation because it’s often been abused by those who have possessed it. Power, like many resources, can be addicting to obtain, typically for all the wrong reasons. Personally, those of us who have had someone in a position of power take advantage of us (which, come on, is most of us in one way or another) both desire power and can be nothing short of repulsed by it. For a five-letter word, it’s a pretty loaded one.
Now, for a moment, ponder this: What if you had a lot of power and you used it benevolently? Wouldn’t that be fabulous? What if the causes and conversations you most valued could be positively influenced because of you? How would that change the world for the better? If all of us stood in the full glory of our personal power and used it for good, what a wonderful world it would be.
If more of us claimed more power we could make such differences in the lives of others and leave a positive footprint on our world.
Why do we avoid it, aside from the negative connotations?
I could write a book about this (Wait! What a good idea!) but I’ll just tackle one really big piece of the puzzle right now.
Wanting to fit in.
As humans, we need to belong to a social order or, from an evolutionary perspective, we perish. We need others. tend to find ourselves Wanting the approval of others, no matter what the cost. When we step into our power, using our voice to be authentically us, we take the risk of being rejected by others. Maybe they won’t like us? Maybe they won’t agree with our choices? The more bold we are, the greater the risk. That’s placing your power in the hands of others, often without them being prepared for that responsibility. Most people are just trying to make it through their day, not even aware of their effect on you, yet you might be handing them your future. Whhhyyyyyyy?
We’re really just afraid of our own potential. Of standing out because we have a unique gift that might be loud. As Marianne Williamson writes,
“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Marianne. Thank you.
What relationships might shift if you used your voice more? What ones might falter? Are you ready to receive those outcomes? I want you to stand fully in your power, to use your voice for good, so I’ve got your back. Who else in your life has it? Who has been encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone? Start to build your inner circle now, seek encouragement and support from them.
And, of course call me. As a seasoned member of the Badass Brigade, I’ll be in your corner from here on out.
~ Dr. B