The Quickest Way to Giving Your Power Away

October 6, 2016 Self-work

There are two things that people like to frequently do that are both a) useless, having more of a negative impact than positive, and b) giving your power away.

The two things are this: complaining and staying in a “victim” state.

When I first learned how much of a negative impact complaining can have energetically, I remember thinking I didn’t complain that much. Then one day I walked out of the teacher’s lounge in the school I was working in and was hit with a realization: I had just spent the last 45 minute participating in the middle of a woe-is-me-blame-everyone-else-for-everything-that’s-out-of-my-control fest with 5 other women. That’s literally all we did the entire time we were in there.

Thing is, every time you do this, you’re giving your power away. Specifically, the power of choice. You always have the choice to make something different.

My process at acknowledging all the times and all the ways I’d done things like this went, over a course of several months, something like this:

First, I started acknowledging when I walked away from a conversation and realized that all we’d been doing was blaming and complaining. The beginning step to change is recognition. Next, as I became more aware of this, I was able to start catching myself in the middle of participating in these sorts of things, and learned to either change the subject, or walk away. From there, I began to learn who the key instigators were – people who maybe weren’t obvious “Debbie Downers” because they were nice and caring people, but the moment you got into a topic with them, they quickly turned onto the negative problems of the world and how awful everything is. For certain people, I stopped asking, “How are you?” because inevitably, nothing good ever followed in response. Eventually, I would just walk out of the room if certain people walked in. No amount of politeness is worth people draining you.

It got to be a super interesting experiment over a period of time. I found that there were some people who, no matter where I tried to take the conversation, would literally argue with me to bring it back to a negative victim-state. Fascinating.

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Let me be super transparent – I still get caught in that cycle sometimes. Especially if I find myself in a scenario with either new people or people I haven’t seen in awhile. I’ll be in a conversation and realize later that it went in that direction and that I actively participated. There’s no use in beating myself up here, just acknowledging that it happened, and making a mental note to pay more attention next time.

That being said, something I have learned through my own experiences around this that surprised me at first was this: sometimes, it’s actually really important to sit right in the middle of a victim/complain state and be in it. Let me explain.

There are places and spaces where things have happened to us that feel unexpected and unfair, and often make us feel the range of negative emotions – sad, angry, jealous, pissy, irritable and so on. The thing is, if you don’t acknowledge how you feel about this kind of stuff, and instead you go straight to gratitude and sunshine, that’s what’s called a spiritual bypass. Essentially, it means that you’re trying to not feel thing sucky thing, and instead going straight to “everything is wonderful” when everything is in fact, not wonderful. So you’re lying to yourself in attempt to feel good and avoid the pain point of whatever is hurting you.

An example:

A few years ago, I was scheduled to have a pretty major surgery. From the very beginning, I was super optimistic and called in to the Universe that I was going to have a great experience. And for 95% of the whole shebang, I did. But on three separate occasions, I had massive breakdowns. I sobbed my eyes out, I woe-is-me’d and life’s-not-fair’d and so on. Because in that moment, that’s how I felt. I’d been carrying a lot and needed to set it down for a minute and acknowledge my emotions right then and there. So many of my other days I truly felt great about the whole experience, but on those three occasions, I set down my baggage, said (read: screamed) irrational (and sometimes hilarious, in hindsight) fears and worries. I threw temper tantrums like a little kid. I got it all out. And here’s the most important part of the whole thing: when I was exhausted and finished (and usually at this point, laugh-crying) I exhaled. I let go. I got back up again, and said “Ok. That’s over. What’s next?”

It’s important that you acknowledge when you need to feel something. Feel it all the way through. Get it out. Just don’t stay in it. If I had pretended like I was doing great when underneath I wasn’t, that’s the equivalent of putting whip cream on garbage. 

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Are there times when you’re caught up in victimhood, complaining and ultimately giving your power away? Are their choices you could potentially make to create a better scenario for yourself, even if it’s just 1% better than it was before? Do you have some feelings you’ve been surpassing that maybe need to be let out in order for you to let go of them and take your power back?

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