Giving away your power is easier than many people realize. It can sneak up on you in the most innocent looking of ways. Many people mistake the giving away of power for compromise. The two are very different, but sometimes due to upbringing or manipulation, the mind sees the two as being the same. The dangers of giving up your power are many. It steals self-confidence, causes people to question their every move, creates situations in which people live their lives being someone other than who they are because it feels easier than standing their ground, growth is stunted, and sometimes it makes it all too easy to give away the responsibility for your own life and actions.
A compromise would be a situation such as having dinner plans with a friend or partner, and having them ask if you can do something else because they just saw an ad for something that they have been dying to do or see. There’s no harm in changing the plan for the evening to do something that they are obviously so excited about.
Take the same situation. For the fourth time in a row, this person asks to do something other than go to that new restaurant that you’ve been wanting to try. See the problem? If you continue to allow them to change the plan and dictate what is happening, you are giving away your power. Obviously, your wishes are not important to this person on some level. They could be self-centered, or it could be even worse…they could be a controller. In either case, the air needs to be cleared because you are now on the slippery slope of sending the message that you aren’t deserving of consideration.
The above is just a simple example, but as you can see it doesn’t take much for the balance to be tipped. It is not possible for a person to make progress on their own journey when someone else is always in the driver’s seat. You may have been taught that nice people allow others to make the decisions…that it isn’t a big deal if you are always giving in to the desires of someone else. This is one case then your mama was wrong…if she was the one who taught you this. Before you know it, you will be seeking the approval of someone else before taking any action and you know on some level that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. It could go even deeper. Maybe you had a childhood in which the only way to retain some form of safety was to stifle your thoughts, desires, and emotions.
Okay, so it might seem easier to let them have their way than to engage in an argument. At that very moment it might be. We all know that fighting sucks. If that’s what the relationship is like however, don’t you ever wonder why in the world they are in your life in the first place? There are all kinds of reasons that can be presented. I know that, and at the time it might just feel like the right thing to do because it could be one of the most important relationships in your life. There will come a time though that you will find yourself with the full realization that maybe it shouldn’t be.
I had also mentioned giving away your responsibility for yourself. Even though it doesn’t feel good to be there, it isn’t hard to find yourself in the victim role. Once you get there, it is a daunting task to make your way out of it. Let’s face it, when your power has been handed to someone else, it is impossible to truly work toward making your dreams a reality…because the person who is in control is the one who decides what is a worthy effort. The manipulators love to plant seeds of doubt and fear. When that doesn’t work, they can and will stoop to intimidation or gaslighting.
If you find yourself in a position like this, the worst thing that you can do is blame yourself for letting it happen. To do so would just reinforce the belief that you aren’t capable of being in charge of your own life. It can be a long road, and you don’t have to do it all at once. Sometimes it isn’t possible to make it all better overnight. The important thing is to begin taking little steps to take back your power. Start asserting your right to decide some of the things that you will be doing together. Start asserting your right to have some time for yourself that is yours and yours alone.
It is important to state something which might be obvious, but needs to be said. If you are in any physical danger, you would not wish to do any of the above. If this is the case, it is important to enlist the help of friends and/or law enforcement to get out of the situation. Someone who is physically abusive is not going to cooperate with any effort that you make to be independent.
When walking in your own power, you may initially lose some relationships and you may end up with less relationships as a whole once all is said and done. This can feel scary, but it’ll be okay. Once you are comfortable being fully yourself, good relationships will stay in your life and new ones which are healthy for you will naturally be attracted. Hang in there. Things will get easier…one step at a time.