I was talking with a friend recently and noticed that she seemed a little unhappy. I asked her if everything was OK and she confided in me that she was having a rough time with somebody she was close to. She actually felt that she and this person seemed lately to be in a constant state of conflict, and that no matter what she did, it was simply not good enough for this person.
I could see clearly that my friend was in a state of anxiety about the whole affair. And not only was she anxious - she was annoyed and frustrated. She felt that she was being ‘taken for a ride’ by this human and that the same pattern seemed to be repeating itself over. And over. And over.
As much as she tried to bow out of the conflict, she found herself getting dragged back in - time and again. It was almost as though this man would not stop until my friend admitted all guilt. Problem was, my friend had apologised – time and again (side note - I actually struggled to see what it was she was apologising for – she hadn’t actually done anything!)
She was now at the end of her tether over the whole affair and was also starting to realise – thank goodness – that there was simply nothing else she needed or wanted to apologise for. SHE WANTED TO STOP GIVING HER POWER AWAY.
As I sat there listening to her story, I got thinking. Thinking of the (countless) times in my life I had made myself ‘lesser than’ to make somebody else feel more comfortable, or more powerful:
The amount of times I’d said yes when I meant NO.
The amount of times I’d felt SHAME for something I had no need to feel shame about.
The amount of times I’d felt GUILT – for what?
The amount of times I’d spent precious hours trying to justify myself, or something I had done, to someone I SHOULDN'T have been giving my energy to.
I strive to do my best, always – sometimes I win, and sometimes I fail. When I fail, I do my best to learn from the experience, and to make amends. After YEARS of giving my power away and feeling helpless and vulnerable to the influence of other people, I have finally learnt that enough is enough.
I have finally learnt that I have the power to choose how I react. I have finally learnt that people will only treat us as we allow them to.
HERE IS HOW YOU CAN STOP GIVING YOUR POWER AWAY:
DON’T allow bad behaviour:
If you have made an error somewhere along the way, apologise for it. Do your very best to make amends and to learn from the mistake. THEN WALK AWAY FROM IT. Don’t allow it be a continual chain around your neck – don’t let yourself be dragged into months or years’ worth of regret and worry and shame because of it.
Don’t get caught up in mindless arguments with a toxic person. Understand always that you can NEVER win an argument with such a person. And nor should you want to! Direct your precious energy elsewhere. When such an argument occurs, do not allow yourself to be dragged into it. Detach yourself emotionally, then WALK AWAY. It is truly NOT worth your energy. It is not worth your sanity.
Don’t spend precious energy justifying yourself, or your decisions, to ANYONE. Obviously, be mindful that your actions aren’t impacting negatively on another person or persons. But feeling shame or guilt for something that has NOTHING to do with anyone but you? Please. Walk away from that.
At the end of the day, and indeed at the end of your life, you will want to feel as though you have lived your very best life. The life that is best for YOU. A life in which you have no regrets – a life in which you may have made mistakes and even fallen flat on your face once or twice (as I have), but a life that was truly and authentically YOU. A life in which YOU hold the power. Don’t leave it too late – start living this life TODAY.
Have you ever been guilty of giving your power away? I'd love to hear your story. Tell me in the comments.
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