Recently, a good friend asked me an interesting question.
What do you do in your life or what have you done in your life that makes you feel powerful?
I’m not exactly sure where this came from. Perhaps my pal is under the impression that I feel like a powerful person in general. If so, she is mistaken. I possess none of the attributes our society typically associates with power. Money. Prestige. Popularity. Physical strength.
Generally, I don’t even exert my authority over those I might be considered to have power OVER. My piano students. My sons. Sure, every now and then I am forced to play my teacher/parent trump card. But for the most part I trust my students and my children to do the right thing and, generally speaking, they live up to my expectations. Children are awesome that way.
So maybe she was simply wondering what makes ME feel powerful as opposed to what make someone else feel powerful. That I can address.
I feel powerful when I accept my unique strengths and weaknesses and circumstances and determine to be my best self in spite of/because of them.
I feel powerful when I express myself creatively through writing or blogging or beading or making music or teaching, when someone tells me I have left footprints on her heart or made a difference in his little corner of the world.
I feel powerful when I take care of myself, when I meditate and eat nutritious food and challenge my body to run.
I feel powerful when I believe deep inside that I don’t need anyone else’s approval of who I am, what I want, or what I stand for. That applies to my weight, body type, lifestyle choices, spiritual beliefs, and long-term goals.
I know what it is like to feel powerless. I spent more than twenty years with an abusive man; he wanted me to believe that I was unworthy and helpless. He was wrong. Ten years post-divorce, sometimes I feel lonely and frightened and unsure of myself. But all I have to do to make those feelings go away is acknowledge them and they disappear like a vapor.
I have learned to differentiate feelings from choices. I can live in fear or I can choose to feel whole, calm and confident.
What makes you feel powerful?