Would You Give Away or Claim Your Power?
I am currently reading a book about women and money, and it quotes some statistics about how many women are financially self-sufficient.
The number seemed quite low, so out of curiosity, I asked in a women’s group about their degree of financial self-sufficiency.
Out of the almost 50,000 women in the group, 543 commented. Obviously, this is not statistically significant, but it did satisfy my curiosity.
Most of the comments were positive shouts of “I am!” with a small percentage of comments along the lines of “Not yet” or “Getting there.”
One woman responded by saying, “Is there a purpose to this exercise, other than to make people feel less than?”
At first, that comment made me freeze. It hurt me to think that I had hurt someone else. After a few moments, and a few deep breaths, I was able to let go of the tension because I knew in my heart of hearts that my intention was true curiosity. In no way did I intend for others to feel bad about themselves and their circumstances. Unfortunately, intent and impact are not always aligned.
I wondered if I should let it go, or continue the conversation. What is my job here on this earth? It didn’t take me long to make the decision.
I took to my keyboard, clarified my intent, and then said, “If I have the power to make you feel less than, then I would, in turn, have the power to make you feel more than. Do you want to give me so much power?”
As you can imagine, she didn’t love my response, and proceeded to reply, “You are not listening!” followed by several other sentences about my not being kind.
Yet, on my side, I did a little happy dance. I had spoken my truth. I had been the catalyst to someone being pissed off, and at the same time, I had planted a seed of empowerment. So easy to do behind a computer screen, right?
I once was very similar to this woman. I once gave away my own power to those around me. To my parents. To my bosses. To boyfriends. To strangers on the street or on the internet.
I gave them the power to lift me up and the power to tear me down. The power to make me feel less than as well as the power to make me feel more than. With a question. With a word. With a simple gesture. That was all it took.
Now, I am proud to say that doesn’t happen quite as often as it used to. Day by day, I am strengthening myself with love, with compassion, with action, and with all sorts of other nourishment. Day by day, I am learning how to take in what feeds and fuels me, while leaving the rest outside. Day by day, I am healing old wounds so that the scabs are stronger and not so easily torn open.
I spent too much of my lifetime giving away my power, and now I am standing firmly in it as often as I choose, because, yes, it is a choice. This woman on the internet chose to give me the power to make her feel the way she felt. Could you be doing the same? Would you rather claim it?
Theresa Destrebecq is one of those badass women with a whole lot of heart. She makes herself cry, and she’s not ashamed of it. Okay, maybe a little. She’s a champion for women, and loves supporting them to reconnect with their passionate, confident, empowered self, especially in the face of a loss — a lost job, a lost relationship, lost finances, or a more general lost sense of self. She has lost them all too. You can connect with her on her website, through her global book circle, or on Facebook or Instagram.