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Gaining personal power

Various life events, such as losing a job, interpersonal relationships, or perceived failures you’ve experienced, can make us feel like we are losing our personal strength and self-confidence.

We also lose our personal strength by compromising our own needs: saying “yes” when we want to say ”no”; when we don’t say out loud what we really think or feel; or when we agree to follow a course of action in order to adapt to the wishes of others. Personal power is also lost by avoiding things, by negative beliefs about ourselves and the world, and by negative self-talk.

Conversely, personal strength is gained by honestly telling what we feel and need and by saying “yes” to the things that we have the capacity to do. When you have an important thing to get done, instead of avoiding it, just start, take the first small step - try breaking it down into such small pieces that success is possible. Continuous small successes feed our self-confidence and the experience of self-worth. When you get to experience flow states and glimpses of joy of work as well as progress, instead of just surviving, then you know you are going in the right direction.

Next time when a situation feels overwhelming: Think about a situation that is bothering you or that you feel is a problem.

What is the story I am telling myself about this situation? Could there be other possible solutions than what first came to my mind or what I consider most likely?

What is the worst possible situation that I fear will happen in this situation?

What happens if my worst fears come true? Am I genuinely in danger, or is the worst-case scenario just causing me strong discomfort?

Think about how you would like to act or think about a similar situation when it comes to the future. How do you want to behave? Whose human behavior do you want to model?

How do you know you handled the situation the way you wanted? How does it feel? How do you want to deal with the emotions raised by the situation in yourself?

Also look for positive influences: People you look up to and would maybe like to become more like them. It is said that “You can’t be what you don’t see” so following people who have progressed further along the path with a similar challenge gives you hope that can move you forward. Once you can visualize what not ”just coping” with a situation looks like, but instead ”thriving in it”, it’s much easier to move forward.


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