Thursday, March 29, 2012

Owning Your Power

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You're the guy who'll decide where to go.   
-- Dr. Seuss

You have a unique power: the power to love, the power to achieve, the power of your own way of being. You can deny this power, you can give this power away, or you can own it.

Denying your power, you may use it but with a complete lack of awareness so that you are oblivious to what is happening (for good or ill) to your self or those around you.

Denying your power, you reject the person you were created to become, obviously believing that you know better than God.

Giving your power away is the choice of allowing others to live their lives through yours, to think their thoughts through your brain, to speak their words through your voice.  

Giving your power away is synonymous with giving away your freedom, as well as the responsibilities that go with it.

Why would any of us make such choices?

Some of us simply do not want to be responsible for our lives. “Let somebody else drive the car … I’ll just sit here in the back seat. It’s so much easier.”  Well, yeah, if you don’t care where the car is headed and that there just might be a God who is not amused by your giving away what he gave to you with a very specific intent for how you were to use it and where you were to drive it.

Some of us refuse to own our power because of the fear of not being able to manage it. Power can be destructive. We love repeating, “Power corrupts!” I mean, come on: we have all witnessed powerful people leaving a string of damaged people, families, businesses, or nations in their wake. Wisdom here demands that we just not pick up what will inevitably lead to destruction, eh? But there remains the nagging awareness that in shirking our own power we are choosing to be a slave to others, choosing to not live as the individual we were created to be, and choosing to not love others with all the power that is uniquely ours.

Interestingly, some power-deniers love living vicariously through the lives and achievements of their powerful friends, church leaders, and such. These people often assuage their guilt over not owning their power by saying that they are here on earth to serve these powerful people. Maybe. But, if you are one of these “servants,” I have a question for you: Of what use is your impotency to the powerful?

Refusing to own my power, I go through life relating to others out of weakness. Rather than my seeking to be to you and for you the person whom God created me to be, I seek to be whoever you need me to be. Your beliefs, values, needs, and vision is all that matters: mine are irrelevant. You can degrade my beliefs, spit on my values, ignore my needs, and nuke my vision. After all, you matter, I don’t. (Of course, when I speak of “my” beliefs, values, needs, and vision in this context, I am referring to those memories of who and what I wanted to be, before I gave away my power.)

Owning your power means that you “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” People who own their power know that, because these Rights are God-given, they do not need the permission of other people or Institutions to pursue those Rights.

Owning my power means that I accept full responsibility for the world I have created and am creating. Powerful people never choose to play the victim.

Owning your power means that there is no longer a tin-cup shape hole in your heart that compels you to go through life seeking alms from others. As a creation of God you have value. When you enter into relationships, it is with a desire to share that value with others. When you enter the marketplace, you seek to trade value for value, not your weakness for the “charity” of others.  

In owning my power I recognize and respect in others the same unalienable Rights. I relate to you as freeman to freeman, not as freeman to slave. By the way, this includes those men and women who choose to behave as slaves. However much they insist that I am responsible for their life and happiness, I choose to treat them with the respect owed to a freeman, refusing to play the role of slave-owner.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

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