Some think power is an ugly word, but we all crave the experience of what we say and do mattering. That’s power.
There are two kinds–personal power(which we all need) and power in relationships(which is massively important).
Every human experience has to do with this need and the biggest misunderstanding comes from thinking you can have power with others outside of relationship. We can’t, at least not healthy power. You can control others, but this isn’t lasting power. It’s an illusion.
They can just get a bigger gun, bigger car, more money, bigger muscles. Whatever.
Yes, you can do terrible, harmful things–and these are most often done by people who don’t feel their own power–to others outside of relationships. Power in relationship, however, is amazing and wonderful. Think about yourself. Who hurts you the most? Who matters when you are at your highest and lowest?
The people you care for, that’s who. Those in relationships with you.
Personal power comes from knowing that you can choose what you will and won’t do. Choice is power. Never forget that. What job you choose, how you choose to live with your friends and how you treat those around you–all your power and you’ve got it, baby.
I am frequently confronted with parents who can’t understand why their kids lie to them. (This is also seen in romantic relationships.) The simple, most basic answer is–power. Kids are smaller and weaker than grown-ups. They know this. They know you give them everything–clothes, food, nurturing. They are dependent on you and therefore, less powerful. They lie to avoid consequences. It’s part of the job of parenting for us to help them see the negative, trust-consequences of lying. We parents get to help them understand how to feel powerful without doing horrible things to others.
Tricky if we don’t know it ourselves.
In romantic relationships, this power differential is a major player. In effect, relationships in almost every way–who you’re attracted to and whether you feel unequal/equal once you’re in the relationship. Think about it–power comes through positional aspects–sexual attractiveness, money, education. If you don’t feel good enough or are unconvinced that you bring something valuable to the table, relationships don’t feel equal or even viable. This is part of why younger, attractive people get with older, bigger money people.
In the biggest, most life-long sense, however, power comes from how you live your life. How you treat people and what you as an individual offer–listening to others, being concerned about their welfare, even when your own is on the line. Power and love at this level are entwined.
When you love someone, what that person does or doesn’t do makes a bigger difference. You can shrug off the opinions of those who don’t matter or who you think are nuts/wrong. The ones who have the most impact on you are the ones you love.
So, choose how you’re going to experience your power.