You are surrounded by millions of people with an incredible amount of power, and they don’t even know it. The power they have comes with no effort, and often grows stronger over time. All this, and no lightsaber!
So who has it, and how do you get some?
That power is given to the people in your life when you allow their behavior to change yours. When you avoid socializing with friends because you feel they will judge your weight, your clothes, or hairstyle, you give those friends your power. When you feel you can’t be yourself with peers or have a voice in your relationship for fear of judgment or shame, you give away your power. When you allow the outside world to determine your value, you relinquish your power.
In other words, the power you give away is the authority to define your self-worth and be in control of your life.
A healthy perspective of yourself is as vital to your well-being as your heart is to keeping you alive. Your measurement of self-worth impacts your mood, your job, relationships, marriage, and your outlook on the future. You carry that measurement around in your mind every day, high or low, and it becomes the way you absorb and react to the world around you. When a pattern develops of comparing yourself to others and believing you will never measure up, this may lead to distorted perceptions of who you think you are and what you are capable of.
You may be relinquishing your power when you:
- Believe life happens “to you” and your efforts don’t improve the outcomes. It seems safer to sit back and let life happen.
- Feel helpless, insignificant, or incompetent in comparison to others, or that your voice doesn’t matter.
- Experience life as an endless emotional roller coaster. You find that your mood tends to match the ups and downs that come along each day. This may include increased anxiety, depression, or a sense of being “stuck.”
- Struggle with forming meaningful relationships.
A healthy perspective of yourself is as vital to your well-being as your heart is to keeping you alive. Your measurement of self-worth impacts your mood, your job, relationships, marriage, and your outlook on the future.
Alternatively, embracing the unique person you are, with all of your flaws and imperfections, puts an ever-present lightsaber in your hand, empowering your sense of self to do battle with incoming negativity. This renders comparison-making less meaningful, allowing you to participate with people and events in your life in a more positive and realistic way.
You can restore your power when you:
- Embrace the outlook that life’s joy comes from your full participation, feeling empowered and worthy. Next, add the affirmation that this can happen “because of” you!
- Gain awareness of the people and situations that cause you to feel inadequate, less competent, and make you want to withdraw or live in the shadows. Recognize how these situations influence your symptoms of anxiety and depression. Take some time on your own, or with the help of a professional counselor, to better understand these thoughts and emotions and the steps you can take to overcome them.
- Recognize that your self-worth is of equal value to everyone else’s; decide to choose to believe THAT above all else.
- Choose one person whose friendship you value and experiment with being the “authentic you” in their company. Take note of how you feel about yourself in those moments and how being your authentic self affects your relationship over time.
Consider how the power flows in your life. Do you give it away, allowing distorted perceptions to impact how you feel about yourself and your ability to influence your life? Or do you embrace it, empowering the authentic you to define your self-worth and control your life? The latter is worth fighting for. Grab your lightsaber!
© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Nancy Warkentin Houdek, LPC, NCC, GoodTherapy.org Topic Expert Contributor
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