Being a person of power requires personal responsibility and the recognition that we all have the ability to shape our own lives.
Life is full of uncertainties. Since we never get to a place where we can control our circumstances, our true power lies in being accountable for how we choose to respond to what happens in our lives — whether good, bad, traumatizing, neutral, etc. — instead of blaming something or someone else for our state. This simple (but not easy) inner narrative shift from a perspective of victimhood to one of power, opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
It’s about cultivating presence and an awareness of how we relate to the events occurring in our lives — and based on that, how we choose to respond.
How do you know when you're in your power?
Most of us don’t have the awareness to choose because we’re operating from our automatic conditioning. Those automatic responses are based on our past traumas which can be deeply rooted in our nervous system. In those moments, we are simply reacting compulsively to what we perceive as our “set in stone” reality. But we actually get to choose.
With consistent awareness and practice, we can interrupt our automatic response, get to a place of presence rather than reactivity, and that’s where we gain access to our power to choose.
The goal is not to never be triggered — that’s impossible. But you can change the way the trigger impacts you. A trigger is usually a visceral sensation — a somatic memory that has been triggered. When that happens, the best thing you can do is to notice that it’s happening. For example:
“This feels like a familiar pattern…this time, I’m going to wait and take a breath for a moment instead of reacting from an unhealthy place.”
It’s an opportunity to be self reflective and choose something new instead of being a slave to your conditioning. Things will always happen in life. We can choose to be a victim or to get creative in our response. The latter yields power.
As you try to make changes, you may become aware of repeated patterns and traumas. Even though this can be uncomfortable, it’s actually a good thing when we capitalize on it in a healthy way. Traumas are unhealed wounds. When we’re triggered, we’re essentially reenacting an original trauma, and although that can be scary and even painful, the exposed trigger presents an opportunity to resolve or heal the old wound. The remedy for the wound is the choosing of a new, healthier pattern or reaction.
Our ultimate power stems for choosing to do something different from our default, automatic conditioned response. In those moments, we are healing our wounds, rewiring our nervous system patterns, and rewriting our story.
The power to choose goes beyond our response to things in the present. We can also choose how we relate to our history and how we let it define us.
All too often, we unwittingly allow our traumas to become part of our identity rather than something that happened. It’s not about denying the impact nor forcing ourselves to “get over it.” We can’t will ourselves past it — that's unrealistic. We have to heal our nervous system over time.
It’s about moving through the trauma, not suppressing it or trying to go around it. And, it’s also not about staying stuck in it.
This is a step beyond changing your thinking. It’s also changing your feeling experience and state of being. And for most of us, that requires some space holding and co-regulation to help you move through it. (I'm here to support you with that, if needed).
Building a witness:
When we’re stuck in our conditioning, we can’t even see that there’s an option to interrupt that patterning and choose something different. So how do we get that access?
The goal is to cultivate a part of you that can act as a strong witness who sees the reenactment starting to occur and can press pause. It starts with noticing — noticing your inner narrative; noticing what goes on inside your body when you’re responding to things; noticing the decisions you’re making and where they lead you.
Setting the stage to step into your power:
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to take stock by reflecting upon the choices we've made and those we wish to make moving forward. Below are some important questions to ask yourself as you close out the year and prepare to enter a new one:
What are some impactful choices you made this last year, both wanted and unwanted?
How did you respond to your circumstances to move in the direction you desire?
How can you respond newly to old events from a place of empowerment? How can you reframe your story more powerfully?
How will you continue to move life toward what you want in the new year?
In the areas where you’ve been overwhelmed, frozen, or in emotional distress, what support can you get?
If you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear your responses. In the meantime, practice seeing where there’s an opportunity to embrace what you can’t control and allow openings for unexpected shifts.
I look forward to reconnecting in the new year!