Keep Your Power

I believe one of the motivators behind the recent Occupy movement is the growing sense of frustration about the increasing financial inequalities in our society.

Similar frustrations are evident elsewhere. The sense of powerlessness over: the fact that “smart meters” are being installed in our homes, the HST being forced upon us, low barrier housing being built nearby, ever-increasing property taxes, land-use decisions that force unwanted changes, and over a multitude of other things — all can quickly turn to fear, which can then lead to anger.

When such emotions have nowhere to go then it doesn’t take much of a flash point before an individual begins to rage or a movement rises to challenge a decision from ‘above’. The recent defeat of the HST is but one example.

From my experience, there is another factor leading to our society’s sense of frustration and simmering anger: our feelings of disempowerment. While we are quick to point fingers at those people, companies, governments, etc., we fail to appreciate how, in the very process of focusing on them, we disempower ourselves.

How often do I hear people accusing others of “making” them feel angry, frustrated, anxious, etc., and of depending on others for their sense of esteem, happiness, or ability to choose? Very often; very sadly.

I think that the tendency of media to use disempowering and blaming language is one significant contributor to this trend. My favourite quote is a newspaper headline years ago that boldly asserted, “Protestors anger mayor.” Literally it means that the protestors made the mayor angry. He had no choice in the matter. Really?

The times in my own life in which I have been the most anxious, as it turns out, were when I believed others had power over me, and that she/he/they might use it against me. Similarly, the times I have been most fearful is when I have handed my self esteem over to someone else to manage for me. What nerve-wracking times these have been! What sleepless nights I have had!

Learning from my and others experiences, I conclude that giving away one’s power is the root of most fights between couples and other family members, the trigger to many road rage incidents, the cause of nervousness in public speaking, and very possibly, the destroyer of nations.

I have personally witnessed the most amazing changes in people (including myself!) when we reclaim authority over our own lives in every aspect — financially, emotionally, politically and more. It’s as though a switch is thrown inside of us. Suddenly, anger is directed in positive and life-enhancing ways. Self respect and respect of others, returns. I become open to discovering new ways of thinking and being. I feel way more connected to others and come to peace with myself. Oh, but that we would always live this way!

May we re-occupy our own sense of authority so to create, with others, needed life-enhancing changes in our fearful world.

Ian Gartshore lives locally, engaged as an empowering agent for personal. relational and energy transformations.