Re-framing personal power

“Stoop and you’ll be stepped on; stand tall and you’ll be shot at.” ~Carlos A. Urbizo

I’ve stooped for as long as I can remember. I raised to think that in order to be a good Christian woman, I needed to excel at being a doormat, and I learned that lesson well. I’m tired of stooping and being stepped on, but it’s all I know.

The few times I have scraped my courage together and stood tall, I got shot at. I really don’t like being shot at. It feels much more threatening and hurtful to me than being stepped on. I realize that’s probably just because I’m not used to it, but being shot at feeling potentially lethal whereas being stepped on is just uncomfortable.

Clearly, all of this is related to my difficulty in claiming my personal power. It’s enough of a struggle for me to claim my personal power because it violates all of my childhood lessons about what it means to be a good person. I’m realizing that it’s even more challenging for me since I tend to view any attempt to claim my personal power as dangerous since it might get me shot at. (Actually, it tends to make me very likely to get shot at because the people around me aren’t used to me standing tall, so they tend to react negatively to it in what is likely an unconscious attempt to return things to the status quo.)

So where does this leave me? First of all, it was helpful to see this belief of mine stated so plainly. Yes, if I stand tall, I’ll be shot at, and that’s no fun. But you know what? Getting stepped on all the time isn’t much fun either. It tells me that there is no place that is safe if I am placing my value in other people’s hands. The key, I think, is learning to let go of other people’s reactions. Yes, I may be shot at, but unlike real guns, I will only be hurt by these shots if I allow myself to be. Therefore, my focus needs to be less on trying to find ways to make myself safe (it’s impossible) and more on letting go of the need to measure myself by anyone else’s opinion.

Easier said than done.

DailyOM recently had a post about personal power that was really helpful to me in shifting my thinking. The author of this article makes the importance of personal power all about our ability to pursue and achieve our own dreams for our lives. In fact, it claims that personal power is about “being in complete truth with yourself.” It’s not about having power over others; it’s not about being overbearing or meek; it’s about taking responsibility for being the person we are meant to be. That’s a powerful re-framing for me.

Because I am in the process of trying to create my own business(es), the focus on pursuing and achieving my dreams and desires for my life in this area is very much at the forefront of my thoughts on a regular basis. Although standing tall to do the work necessary to make this a success is rather terrifying for me at times, I know that it’s necessary if I truly want to be a successful solopreneur. Perhaps keeping my eye on my dreams rather than on my wish to feel safe will carry me through the hard times when the shots coming my way feel threatening and I’m tempted to stoop.

In the meantime, I clearly need to keep working on my solar plexus chakra. It’s come a long way, but there’s still much work to do. Perhaps a suit of emotional/psychological/energetic armor will come handy while I’m at it …

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