The Meaning of Personal Power
When I was younger, exact age unknown, I played competitive soccer. I remember one game going up against a girl less than half my size near her team’s goal and hitting both her head and the ball. She fell to the ground. A whistle was blown. The exact details of the remainder of the game are hazy. What I do remember afterward is standing on the sideline, watching the ambulance come assess my opponent. I interpreted this event by internalizing that I was dangerous. I started to believe I am -- in my full power and expression -- dangerous, and that people will get hurt because of me and my actions. That was one strike against expressing my power. In yoga, personal power is associated with the sacral chakra. In essence, my sacral chakra dimmed that day.
A similar experience happened around the same time period. I was coming home with my parents after dinner one evening, and my mother and I were walking to the car. I got really excited, as most young children do, grabbed her hand, ran with her across the parking lot and caused her to trip and fall. As passersby helped her to her feet, I stood at her side covered in shame. She was in so much pain that we wound up going to the Emergency Room, where we learned she fractured her ankle. I, again, misinterpreted the event as “to be powerful is to hurt people.” From this misaligned belief, another little piece of me went dark; another bit of my solar plexus closed.
It is important to note these events happened during my developmental years of childhood and were very potent to shaping my self-esteem and self-beliefs. These two seminal moments, coupled with other experiences of colleagues and/or general society telling me it was not okay to express my confidence, in other words to play “BIG,” greatly impacted my expression of my personal power. I started to shrink myself so others would accept me and others would feel more comfortable in my presence.
Now, as an adult woman, after years of feeling empty and struggling with depression and anxiety, I have declared that much of this has to do with abjecting my personal power. To quote @LuvChildShawdi via Instagram, “[Power] is not about outdoing anyone or anything. It’s about outgrowing and evolving as you should.” This is exactly what I am doing. I am no longer playing small. I am no longer short-cutting myself out of fear of rejection in an attempt to gain acceptance. I am playing BIG. I am playing the POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, INTELLIGENT, BOSS-BABE WOMAN that I AM, the woman I was born to be, the woman I have always been.
What does “playing BIG” mean? Playing BIG means outgrowing jobs, outgrowing friends, outgrowing behaviors, outgrowing myself. I have outgrown the part of me that feels comfortable hiding, that feels comfortable dimming myself so that others feel more comfortable. I have outgrown relationship dynamics in all areas of my life. I am speaking up for what I need in all relational situations. I am setting boundaries with those with whom I am still engaged. It is not always easy. It is not always fun. In fact, I frequently feel embarrassed after speaking my truth and asking for what I need. I frequently second guess myself after instinctively standing up for my worth. But, the best part is that I have loving people to support me and guide me. I have people that I manifested into my life, because I declared to the universe that I am ready to love and be loved unconditionally, and I am claiming my personal power.
So for all the people who continue to shame me, or tell me I do not have the right to speak my truth, set boundaries, and stand in my personal power, I quote Ariana Grande:
“Thank u, next.”