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       Power  refers to the ability to influence what goes on in your life and your relationships. It is about figuring out what YOU need. Power is your ability to advocate for yourself, be assertive and pro-act. When you have power, you live your life as a survivor rather than a victim.

      Power is not the same as control. Control is when you try to impose your values, thoughts, feelings and needs on another. You try to control others because you see your happiness as dependent on their changing into how you want/need them to be.

    Consider the following statements as they relate to your personal power. Appraise your growth, assess your strengths and note the areas that need work.

 •     I afford myself the same status that I do others.

 •     I think of power as positive.

 •     I feel comfortable when I am powerful.

 •     I do not see others as more powerful then myself.

 •     I speak up on my own behalf.

 •     I am able to say no.

 •     I am able to ask for what I want calmly.

 •     I draw power from being able to communicate.

 •     I am no longer intimidated by people I perceive as powerful.

       Certainly, there are times when you feel more powerful than at other times. There are many reasons for this fluctuation- mood, issue, place, person and relationship all play significant roles in your ability to feel powerful. Concentrate your efforts on those areas that feel problematic-where you feel minimized and powerless. Pay attention to when you confuse control and power. The difference is easy to discern if you pay attention to what you feel, for when you feel your power, you will be calm inside. There may be a problem, but you stay focused on what you can do about it, not on what the “other” needs to do.

      However, when you are trying to control, you will feel desperate and stressed. You may find yourself constantly trying to figure out how to change “it”. You will be obsessed with finding a solution. Maybe you will whine, nag, cry or have endless conversations in your head about what you can say/do to bring about that change. You will feel frustrated and inept. It is easy to tell when you are trying to control as your personal peace is obliterated and you are filled with anguish.

        When you try to control another, the result is that you surrender your personal power. However, once you accept what you can’t change, then you are free to focus on what you CAN change. It is in making that shift of perspective, you regain your personal power and then you will find all the possibilities that can lead to peace in your life.

 ©2009. 2011. Donna F. Ferber From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce won an Honorable Mention Award by the Independent Publishers Association.

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4 Comments

  1. Sharon B on the 19. Mar, 2011 remarked #

    In our cultural the word control often has a negative connotation but so does power. When we say someone is powerful it does not always make us think that it is a good thing.The thesaurus actually uses the words force and tycoon. I believe that those who have power and present it as respect are the most powerful of all. I actually would not describe myself as powerful although I would agree that I am powerful in many of the ways your definition describes above. It is interesting how a single word that has a given dictionary definition means completely different things to so many.

  2. CJ Golden on the 19. Mar, 2011 remarked #

    Wow – such perfect timing. I just spent an evening with my ex and his wife (with my former mother-in-law in tow).

    I have no problem being with them; as a matter of fact it is quite freeing.

    Reading your blog, Donna, helps me to understand why:When I am with them I feel powerful – where, when we were married he was in control.

    Power is freeing, refreshing and takes me to the top of the world. It feels darn good!

  3. Dawn on the 19. Mar, 2011 remarked #

    I think the terms power and control are interchangeable. The distinction is who is feeling empowered and in control. We feel controlled or out of control if you will, when we allow ourselves to hand our personal power over to someone else. We take back that personal power when we are feeling in control of our emotions, our decision- making abilities, in essence when we trust, cherish and respect ourselves again. As a teacher, I see young children who are born and maintain a very strong sense of confidence, control and personal power. Our job as caretakers of the next generation is to nurture those natural human qualities and foster resilient characteristics for maintaining personal power and self-respect particularly in our girls. We must also raise respectful young men who do not look at power and control as a way to dominate the people around them.

    • admin on the 20. Mar, 2011 remarked #

      The goal, I believe, is to express personal power or empowerment and not have it be at the cost of controlling another. Bullying is one example of when children(and adults) misuse power.

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