“Self Care is how you take back your power.”Lalah Delia
A funny thing happened to me the other day. Something that allowed me to stay confident in my self care journey and to practice taking back my personal power.
Returning a pair of shoes that I decided just didn’t fit the outfit I had originally chosen them for, the saleswoman snickered, “Oh yes, these shoes are way too hot and sexy for you!”
I immediately tapped into my feelings of insecurity. I had come into the store just after a workout in my yoga-clothes-no-make-up-running-errands-look. Then this stranger said something that had me questioning my own beauty. Her words stung in a way that made me go to a dark place of, “I really am not hot and sexy and would never have looked good in these shoes.”
How often do we give away our power to someone else?
Psychotherapist, lecturer and author Amy Morin says, “Giving away your personal power robs you of mental strength. Making a conscious choice to take back your power is key to being in control in your life. But before you can create positive change, you need to recognize the ways in which you’re giving your power away.”
Ms. Morin lists 9 ways we can keep our personal power:
1. Don’t waste energy complaining: There’s a big difference between complaining and problem-solving. Grumbling not only implies you have no power over your situation, but also shows you lack power over your attitude.
2. Accept responsibility for how you feel: Saying your mother-in-law makes you feel bad about yourself or claiming your boss makes you mad suggests they have power over how you feel. Accept that it’s completely up to you to manage your emotions, regardless of how other people behave.
3. Establish healthy boundaries: Giving in to guilt trips and refusing to speak up for yourself gives power to other people. Establish healthy physical and emotional boundaries that give you control over how you spend your time and with whom you spend it.
4. Practice forgiveness: Forgiving someone is the best way to take back your power. But to be clear, forgiveness isn’t about saying what the person did was OK. Instead, it’s about choosing to let go of the hurt and anger that interferes with your ability to enjoy life.
5. Know your values: Take back your power by acknowledging your values and living true to what’s important to you.
6. Don’t waste time on unproductive thoughts: Have you ever come home from work and spent the entire evening wishing you didn’t have to go back again tomorrow? Suddenly, you’re giving your eight-hour workday 12 hours of your time. Take control over the thoughts that occupy your mind so you don’t give more brain power to areas of your life that don’t deserve it.
7. Avoid language that implies you’re a victim: Saying things like “I have to work 60 hours a week,” or “I had no choice but to say yes” infers you’re a victim of unfortunate circumstances. While there will certainly be consequences for the decisions you make, acknowledge that you always have choices.
8. Make your self-worth independent of other’s opinions: If your self-worth depends on others holding you in high regard, you’ll likely become a people-pleaser. Evaluate the merit of criticism you receive, but never allow one person’s opinion to determine your self-worth.
9. Be willing to stand out from the crowd: Self-doubt and fear can lead you to want to blend in with those around you. Trust that you’re mentally strong enough to stand out and dare to be different.
“Even if you choose to give someone the power to write your story for you, you can always take back the pen.”Sandra Cooze
After a few minutes of sitting in my car wallowing in my own self-pity, I made a conscious choice to take back my power. This woman was not going to ruin my day. I was not going to be a victim of someone else’s insensitivity.
I went back into the store.
Approaching the woman without anger I said, “I just have to let you know that what you said was hurtful to me, and I would like to believe that was not your intention.”
She said no, she didn’t mean to be hurtful. In fact, she meant to be funny, and when I didn’t laugh she knew she should have apologized. But at that point she was too afraid to do so. Now she was very apologetic. She thanked me for coming back in and for giving her a chance to fix the bad situation she had created. The conversation lasted less than 5 minutes and ended in a hug.
I took back the pen and re-wrote part of my story. Then I practiced forgiveness, celebrated a core value of mine to be respectful to others and expect the same, and I stopped complaining. In the end, I took responsibility for my feelings.
And I have to admit, when it was all over, I felt quite empowered – and very confident that even out of those shoes, I was one hot and sexy woman.
To read more by Amy Morin go to: Amy Morin
For more tips on self care go to Fuzzy Red Socks