Remember being told to kiss or hug a relative that you didn’t want to? Like Aunt Maude who reeks of flowery perfume and has an inch of pancake crap on her face. Remember doing it because you were told that it would make them feel bad if you didn’t?
So reluctantly, you did.
At that moment, you learned two things:
1. You learned to allow others to intimately touch you when you didn’t want them to.
2. You learned that you should please others.
And it’s moments like these when you learned to give your power away to others.
When we give our personal power over to others we are handing over our ability to create positive change in our lives. We give our power away when we allow others to upset us, make us feel defensive or become passive. These things are destructive to our health and well-being.
You may be giving your power away by doing the following:
1. Being a people pleaser. Do you go out of your way to please others? Are you always nice and polite to try and make everyone else happy? If you are trying to please others at your expense then you are giving your power away.
2. Believing that others can make you feel mad/sad/happy/angry/etc. No one can make you feel anything. You have the power to choose how you will react.
3. Believing that someone will complete you and make you happy. Outside of a relationship with God, there is no one that will make you complete. When you feel that you need another person in your life to bring you happiness, you have handed your power over to them. Plus, it is never fair to place the burden of your happiness onto someone else.
4. Tolerating toxic relationships. When we allow ourselves to remain in relationships that chip away at our well-being and keep us diminished, we lose our personal power. Toxic relationships can be in the form of friendships, relatives, spouses or co-workers. In order to be healthy some of these relationships may need to end or have boundries placed on them.
5. Being a doormat. Sometimes as Christians we think we need to be everything to everyone – that we always need to be nice and let others take advantage of us. Stop doing this. Don’t let other people wipe their shit on you.
6. Not voicing your opinion. When we feel silenced or are afraid to say what we think, you give your power away. Speak your mind with respect and without becoming defensive.
7. Obsessing over someone else’s bad behavior. You can’t control anyone else’s behavior – only how you react to it. If you obsess over it and rehash it or worry about it, you’re giving them control.
8. Trying not to rock the boat. Are you willing to try and keep the peace at any cost? Are you willing to go along with whatever in order to keep things peaceful on the surface? If so, then you are giving your power away to those around you. If you are trying to keep things peaceful at the expense of your inner peace – this is not healthy. It is an illusion.
9. Allowing other people to run your life and make decisions for you. You have your own ideas about your life – people will try and make you fit into the mold they want – they may even try to make you feel guilty. When people try and run your life, they don’t have your best interests in mind – they have theirs in mind. You don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations.
God wants us to seek him for strength and guidance. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You can become empowered to live a healthy, full life.
Are there ways you are giving over your power to others?