Giving Away Your Power

by Dave Wine, President & CEO

Another benefit of being mindful in our lives is how much it improves our ability to recognize all of the ways we give up our personal power to other people and situations.  Whenever we allow another person or situation to determine how we are going to feel, we are giving up our own power and transferring that power to that person or situation.  Is that what we really want to do?  It is so easy for us to say, “life would be so much better if that person was like this…”, “I could be happy if I wasn’t dealing with…” (insert person or situation), “life just beats me down – it is so unfair” “my work would be fun and rewarding if only…” and so on.

You see, whenever we play out any form of being a victim (which is what we are doing in the instances above), we are transferring our personal power, our ability to choose how we are going to feel, to that other person or situation.  Life is going to give us unreasonable people, challenging contexts, thorns along with the roses.  So the key question for us is whether we will choose to keep our power or give it away.  If we give it away, we will allow those things to determine how we feel and relate.  If we keep our power, we will recognize that no matter what, we have and own the power to choose how we are going to feel regardless of the person or situation.  It really is our choice – we can keep that power or give it away – no one else has the power of choice in our lives but us.

One thing I have found helpful that I’ve shared before is mindfully saying to myself, ‘I could choose peace rather than this.’ Or another, ‘I could choose to see this differently.’  Saying these to yourself, even out loud, provides just enough space in-between your emotions related to the person or situation to give yourself the recognition that you have a choice.  Sometimes you will still opt for feeling bad, angry, or victimized, but even then, you can do that knowing there is another choice you could have made and that you could choose yet to make.  Again, the key is not giving your power away.


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