4 Ways You Relinquish Power and 4 Ways to Get It Back

One pair of red shoes stands out in row of white shoes along wallYou 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:

  1. Believe life happens “to you” and your efforts don’t improve the outcomes. It seems safer to sit back and let life happen.
  2. Feel helpless, insignificant, or incompetent in comparison to others, or that your voice doesn’t matter.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Recognize that your self-worth is of equal value to everyone else’s; decide to choose to believe THAT above all else.
  4. 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

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Joanie

    October 3rd, 2016 at 9:15 AM

    I tend to get pretty frustrated with the people who are always poor mouthing, thinking that bad things always happen to them and that they have no control over what happens to them.
    I’m sorry but you don’t have to live like you are predestined to be a failure. A lot of that responsibility is on you and eventually you have to own up to your part in it, know what you can control and get to work.

  • Hildy

    October 3rd, 2016 at 1:10 PM

    So empowering once I finally recognized that yes I am just as important as the next person out there!

  • Rica

    October 4th, 2016 at 8:23 AM

    It is always nice to have that one person with whom you can feel comfortable and confident, who never makes you feel anything than good about yourself. IT would be great if we could always have more people like this in our lives.

  • derrick

    October 4th, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    when you are unable to see the power that you hold, that’s it. you are giving it all away.

  • Jonathan

    October 5th, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Neither one of my parents were ever all that supportive of me so I guess that has been a pretty tough one to recover from. I have had to learn on my own to be strong and confident, not because this was something that they ever instilled in me but because I noted somewhere along the way that no one was ever going to give this to me if I didn’t just reach out and take it for myself.

  • mike

    October 7th, 2016 at 10:44 AM

    Funny how most of us are pretty adamant that we will never allow another person to change what we believe but we do a darn fine job trying to make sure that they come around to our side of things!

  • LL

    October 7th, 2016 at 1:22 PM

    true our society is afflicted with everyone wanting to be right. Makes us all closeminded

  • StarBucks

    November 6th, 2016 at 2:23 PM

    Great read!

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