After posting Part 1, I asked readers to send me examples of situations in which they feel powerless.
Many of the responses took the form of "I feel powerless when people don't behave the way I think they should." For example, Marianna in San Francisco wrote "I feel powerless when my kids don't do as I say."
I can assure you, Marianna, that if your kids suddenly became the most cheerfully compliant little angels on the planet, the boost in your sense of power would not last for long. Why? Because real, lasting power is UNCONDITIONAL. It's there for you -- within you -- no matter what. But you can't connect with it if you think it resides in someone else's behavior.
Let's back up a step and clarify one thing: Power is not the same as control. In fact, the most profoundly powerful experiences arise from letting go of control.
So how do you connect to your power when your kids aren't doing as you say? Take a deep breath and remind yourself that...
1. Your power is in YOU, not in their behavior.
2. You don't need to control them to feel powerful.
3. You're free to choose any perspective (interpretation, belief, attitude), regardless of external conditions.
Then exercise your freedom of thought by trying out a variety of perspectives until you hit upon one that makes you feel better. For example:
- I don't blame them; I wouldn't want to do that either.
- I'm glad my kids are not mindless lemmings.
- I can bring a spirit of partnership and playfulness to this situation.
- They're giving me an opportunity to develop advanced leadership skills.
While this could eventually lead to "compliance," what's important is that it doesn't have to, because you'll start feeling more powerful the moment you shift your perspective.