Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guarding and Managing Your Power

One of the more debilitating things for your power may be some of the people you are hanging around. Possibly, up until now, you haven’t thought of it, but you have experienced this. These are those individuals who most always leave you feeling drained of all power.  Sometimes an individual is in a bad way, needing far more than they can give, at present. I am not writing about those people. No, my focus here is on avoiding people who are always a drain on our power.
Vampires. These are black holes that can never be applauded enough, cared for enough, loved enough, counseled enough, placated enough: even multiple apologies for past hurts are never enough. Vampires will suck the power right out of you. Their guiding principle is to use, use, use: never to give. Avoid them.
Losers. I regret the term but I can’t think of a better description. No matter what these individuals do in life, it doesn’t work. Relationships are always breaking down and breaking off, jobs are constantly being lost (through no fault of their own, of course). Nothing ever works out for good in their life. Call them unlucky if you wish, but I call them losers who wish to be losers because they keep doing the same things, exhibiting the same behaviors that have never ever worked. My belief is that there is a reason for their losing streak – a secondary pay off, if you will—that is more valuable to them then success. They want to lose, to be pitied, and even to be rejected: it’s part of their grand strategy for attention. Stop giving it to them.
Victims. There are tons of books out there on Victim-ology and how such people are annihilating our culture. These are people who, long ago, suffered a terrible injustice—sometimes real, sometimes, imagined—and insist on everyone around them paying for this injustice. It is a crown of thorns by which they define themselves and all their relationships. It is their North Star. Sure, they would never see themselves in this light but everyone around them knows this to be an accurate description.
You don’t relate to such people: you relate to the injustice they suffered. The laws of love do not apply to them, only to you. While you must be patient, kind, not easily angered, and never keep records of wrongs (I Corinthians 13), they have been emancipated from the laws of love because, after all, “I have suffered so much.”
Maybe you may wish to work with such people, if you are a counselor, a therapist or a coach. Everyone else should keep his distance or your power will drain right out of your toes.

Introverts and Extraverts
            You are a unique individual with a unique personality. Subsequently, how you manage and guard your power will be unique to you. Here, I only want to consider the differences between introverts and extraverts.
Introverts. I am an off the chart introvert. I have learned to behave in certain ways so as to be successful in the endeavors I pursue. As I want to raise money for the charities I believe in, I had to learn how to work a room full of strangers. As a corporate trainer my clients better believe I can’t wait to be with them, even if it is for 18 hours a day. I love what I do but it taxes me beyond the imagination of most extraverts.
Introverts need time alone. One psychologist told me that for every hour with people, introverts need 6 hours of down time. I am not sure this is true for all introverts but it is a fact that introverts are charged by being alone or with the closest of friends, but only friends who understand their need for quiet.
Usually, what empowers introverts is such things as listening to music, reading books, watching movies, and visiting museums … but not with strangers! Writing this, I also need to point out the temptation for introverts is to allow being alone to use them, rather than using being alone for re-charging their power.
            Being with others charges extraverts. They love groups of people. If they are alone for too long, their power begins to wane! This doesn’t mean that extraverts do not see the value of being alone; only that it is usually not how they re-charge. The temptation for extraverts is to not always be as discriminating as they need to be in the people with whom they chose for empowerment. Whereas introverts will instinctively shy away from people who overtly drain them of power, extraverts are prone to thinking that the sheer magnetism of their power will cure what ails the vampires. After awhile they go home wondering why they feel so drained. After all, “people charge me!”
Obviously, these are generalizations: lumping people into categories should always be done cautiously and with the understanding that some introverts love meeting strangers and some extraverts love being alone for days at the beach. With this caveat, look back at when you experienced the fullness of owning your power. What did you do that made this possible for you? Whatever it is, make it part of your routine. Or else!

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

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