Being powerful is not about having power over others.
It’s about having power in yourself, so that whatever anyone else does, or whatever happens, you can be okay, ultimately.
Those whose power is dependent on having power over others and external circumstances, are the most disempowered of all. Because one can never truly have power over others and external circumstances.
I understand that this concept is rather abstract and perhaps difficult to apply. So let’s dig a bit deeper.
How does one find power within, become able to survive and thrive, whatever happens? I’d say, in short, this comes from learning to accept oneself, and owning everything about oneself, shamelessly and fearlessly.
This means being able to tolerate one’s bad feelings as well as good, accepting when one feels sad, angry, upset, jealous, insecure, psychotic, heartless, ashamed, afraid, stressed, or otherwise distressed. It means letting one feel whatever one feels, and not blaming those feelings on anyone or anything else. Simply owning those feelings, allowing those feelings, and not trying to get away from them or stop them.
I love how Louis CK puts it in THIS INTERVIEW WITH CONAN. He says, “Y’know, underneath everything in your life, there’s that thing, that empty, forever-empty. You know what I’m talkin’ about?” And he goes on to tell about an experience he had, where he grappled with that feeling and came out on the other side, not just as a survivor, but empowered from having gone through all that.
It reminds me of Jacob wrestling with the stranger in the desert (who turns out to be God). Or Jesus going into the wilderness to be tested. He came out of the desert filled with power.
When we are tested, and we meet those tests, we become more powerful. And those tests are about sticking around when the going gets tough, and the toughest tests are about what is within ourselves.
So in conclusion, learn to accept yourself. Learn to feel your feelings. Be kind to yourself.