Any kind of power is a magnifier. One main source of power comes from our financial standing. However, commensurate with financial power is moral power, which is a power that has indelibly shaped our world by bringing out both the best and the worst in people, individually and collectively.
It is not helpful to simply avoid money or spiritual knowledge so as not to be corrupted by it. This only leaves people who are less thoughtful in charge of our world and our souls. But how do we move forward on our life paths in ways that both support our spiritual advancement and ensure that we cause more good than harm?
After a number of personal and private events that have pointed to the repeated misuse of power by spiritual leaders, I have been thinking hard about how we spiritual seekers can be more responsible with our own power.
While the misuse of power is disturbing wherever it shows up, it is particularly disturbing when it involves those people who are ostensibly meant to be guides for our spiritual development.
We expect these leaders, consciously or unconsciously, rightly or wrongly, to show us how to be good people—people with refined inner consciences. We assume this will be demonstrated through both their examples and their teachings.
They do not need to be perfect—in fact, a spiritual teacher’s human limitations can be their best teaching tools—but they at least need to be above the worst acts of exploitation and abuse. Shouldn’t they have figured out how not to perpetrate hate crimes, support extreme injustices, and harm innocent children?
Unfortunately, as it seems, many have not.
And others, while not making the worst of mistakes, still falter and blur ethical lines.
All people make mistakes in the course of their lives. All people deserve to be forgiven and to have the opportunity to set things right. But if you have harmed people, isn’t that a sign to return to the foundations of your spiritual practice? Isn’t one of the foundations of spiritual practice acknowledging your mistakes and truly making amends?
Again, I do not think that spiritual leaders need to be perfect paragons of morality—in fact, I think that this perception is in part what creates these problems.
My questions are simply these: How does someone who commits themselves to a spiritual path come to act in this way? What makes it possible to grow in spiritual insight and power and still be able to justify the exploitation and abuse of others? And, for all of us who are on a serious path of spiritual development, is there anything we can do to ensure that we do not also go down the same road?
The answers are many and nuanced, but the main issue is perhaps the result of spiritual versus psychological development. While true spiritual development requires a continual practice of ethical and moral growth, it is possible to grow in spiritual skills without growing psychologically. This means the person gains spiritual skill and power but does not have the psychological development to hold this knowledge.
There is a longstanding split between the psychological and spiritual approaches to development, each one wanting to stake a claim on “the best approach.” Many spiritual people believe that their spirituality is an advanced stage of development that puts them above the need for psychological refinement. Many others don’t even know the different uses and purposes of these two different systems. It is perhaps more beneficial to see the two as mutually supportive approaches where one without the other not only limits our growth, but also sets us up for significant problems. If, for example, I am a gifted healer and medium but I have not yet resolved my inner misogyny or contended with the shadowy aspects of my sexuality, then I might function excellently as a healer and medium but still be challenged by my human beliefs and unacknowledged desires.
Many mystical traditions account for the need for psychological growth as well as spiritual development. In these cases, most often the psychological maturity of the person is seen as a necessary precursor to their use of certain spiritual tools. However, in a world where many of the teachings of the mystical schools have been lost or corrupted by unhealthy power dynamics, the seeker is often left without a clear path.
I have seen many spiritual people abandon their psychological development, believing that they have expanded beyond it, only to be diminished by that lack. They overly identify with the spiritual part of their experience, which allows for their human drives to operate more and more in shadow—sometimes with the complete denial of their existence.
While I believe that the secular and the spiritual leader are very different in many ways, I also believe that one key problem they have in common is how their power distorts their view of what is ethical. This power, especially when the ego attaches to it, can result in many unhealthy distortions that lead to harmful behaviors.
Spiritual leaders face the unique pitfall of being able to easily rationalize—to themselves and others—that their behavior is sanctioned by greater powers and is therefore justified. But this is simply their ego. More dangerously, followers of such leaders are all too likely to project their own disowned spiritual power onto the leader, making it even easier for that leader to believe in the propriety of their actions. This puts the spiritual leader—or anyone on this path—at a great risk of losing their way.
Things really start to get out of hand when the spiritual person starts believing that they are the same as the spiritual wellspring they draw from, which tends to result in their losing the connection to their human nature. And, because transcendence of the human experience is a part of most spiritual paths, it is very easy for the spiritualized ego to “jump the gun” and see itself as more advanced than it truly is.
The problem can be succinctly termed “spiritual bypassing”—when we avoid our human suffering with spiritual tools, skills, or mindsets. The remedy is to engage in rigorous psychological development—to emphasize the experience of the more fundamental and human aspects of the self so as not to lose sight of them while spiritually advancing. When we are truly on the other side of our human issues I have no doubt that we will know.
We can protect ourselves from gross oversights by tempering our advanced spiritual development with humility. If we recognize our limitations and the perils of advancing without attending to our limitations, we are more likely to act in a measured way, build a solid foundation, and not seek spiritual power that we are unable to wield in a healthy way. Unfortunately, there has been so much oppression of people’s spiritual nature that it is challenging to hold both humility and empowerment. This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the era.
We also benefit from not seeing the tools or the skills as the destination. For example, a specific diet or giving up one’s possessions are tools to create more awareness about how one operates or where one’s weaknesses are—but this does not make one more spiritual, nor does it ensure that we are immune to the misuse of spiritual power, just as being psychically open or knowing a lot of spiritual information does not imply a level of moral spiritual development. If we confuse the skill or knowledge with the development thereof, we have fallen prey to our own ego and we are at risk. If we support others in believing this confusion, we have slipped even further. The solution is to stop our obsession with the spiritual light show, the profound wisdom, or the latest uncovered gift, and get on with being a good person.
Three of the most powerful things we can do to keep ourselves awake as we grow and develop are to put ourselves in situations where our motives are questioned, to put ourselves in environments that are not “spiritual” by design, and (like everyone else) to put our spiritual practices in action by living a regular everyday life. In short, we remove the things that insulate us from knowing the truth about ourselves. We ask to be shown our limitations. And we live side by side with our brothers and sisters.
My prayer is that all the spiritual teachers and seekers continually find their way back to their hearts, that they have the courage and humility to see their transgressions, and that they have the willingness both to make amends and return to the source.
One key to being more empowered in our life is self-acceptance—truly embracing all of ourselves, both the good and the not-so-good. When we embrace all of who we are, when we’re willing to move into a place of true acceptance, it eliminates a lot of confusion. It limits the other challenges that arise when we’re trying to be something else by adjusting ourselves to the external in an unproductive way. But accepting ourselves, as you likely know, is, is no small feat. It would be great if it were as easy as saying, “I accept myself completely.”
And in a way, there’s an aspect of self-acceptance that is just that simple. We make a choice at some point in time to fully accept who we are. However, the path to that moment can be quite long. On this path, we learn about the many different ways in which we’ve been conditioned to think that we need to act, behave, and feel differently than is really right for us. This kind of conditioning usually starts quite early in our lives. And, depending on what we have experienced, some of us have received excessive doses of it. For example, minority cultures experience this type of conditioning to an extreme.
However, all of us to some extent have received a message that who we are would be better if it were adjusted in some way. We experience this rather than the more supportive experience of being affirmed, and we need to expunge it. We instead need to find ways to appreciate who we are and what it is that we are bringing forward—naturally and intrinsically.
There is a lot to do to learn how to fully accept ourselves. For today, I will offer one simple tool to help you on this path to self-acceptance—look at the other side of the parts of yourself that you are being told should be adjusted. If you have a flaw or something that you think has been problematic for you in your life, examine how it is also a benefit to you. You can see the strength that’s on the other side. All strengths have weaknesses, all weaknesses have strengths. So when you do you take a look at some aspect of yourself that you thought was your biggest problem and you start to see how it actually might serve you in other aspects of your life, you will begin to see that context plays a large role in whether or not this part of you is in fact a challenge or a gift.
If it is challenging to see how it might be of benefit, imagine situations where it might serve you. In other words, employ some creative thinking—explore how and when this aspect of yourself might be a powerful ally. Then you can start to consciously use these aspects more and more productively in different areas of your life.
As you do this, you will find that it is naturally healing. It breaks through the belief that these things about us are wrong and need to be fixed. It shows us that no matter what they are, even our most challenging traits have some productive uses. This helps us accept ourselves in a deeper way. This self-acceptance then helps us grow our sense of empowerment.
For more about trusting yourself and your empowerment take a look at my article >>> “An Unstoppable Source for Your Personal Power.”
Compassion, freedom, love, integrity, vulnerability, and happiness are built on the bedrock of our trust in ourselves. When we can look in the eyes of the person standing in front of the mirror and know that we are showing up to the truth of who we are, we have everything.
Life’s betrayals do not just erode our trust of others, but they also leave us doubting ourselves. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we often blame ourselves for choosing the person who betrayed our trust in the first place. We might wonder what will stop us from making this kind of error again. This lack of trust with ourselves leaves us guarded.
This guarding actually perpetuates a cycle of disconnection; this disconnection opens the door to lower-frequency energies that impair our ability to operate at every level—furthering the challenges we might be having in these areas.
What makes it difficult to trust ourselves is less often about these challenging experiences themselves and more often about how we have been conditioned to relate to ourselves.
I was taught time and time again in the course of my life not to listen to myself. In many ways, I was taught that trusting myself was a form of arrogance—a blindness to seeing things as other people saw them. I was taught to think like other people and to interact on other people’s terms.
These things were taught to me under the guise of “getting along,” “loving others,” or even just passing the test.
The main message, through these experiences, was that my unique way of seeing and being was somehow wrong. I was taught that the clear messages from my soul needed to be adjusted to fit with the outside world rather than being a direct expression of it. I was taught that if I was in a situation where my needs and another person’s needs were at odds, then one of us was right and the other one was not—meaning there was always a high probability that I was in fact the one who was wrong.
Self-doubt then became the way—the backdrop of all of my experiences.
As a result, I was time and time again open to being hurt by others—in the ways that can only happen when we abandon ourselves. Because of this, my lack of trust with myself kept growing and I tried all kinds of ways to remedy this—most of them having to do with bolstering my ego.
I believe this is a common experience.
Since we all experience breaches in trust in our life, we all need to do repair work on our trust. We might first think that we need to figure out how and when to trust others, but we actually gain quite a bit more by learning how to deeply trust ourselves.
This is easier said than done. Quite often, as I just highlighted with my own experience, we have learned how not to trust ourselves both very early and in fundamental ways. Our lack of trust in ourselves is often insidious and difficult for us to see. It might show up as an ongoing feeling of anxiety for no apparent reason. It might leave us unable to see opportunities. Or, we might just be unable to accept the help we need.
We benefit from relearning that the way that we are is, by its design, perfect. This does not mean that we don’t need to grow and change or that we are not aided by questioning our own intentions. However, we are actually better able to do these things as we learn to trust ourselves more deeply, as a deep trust and respect for who we are actually makes it possible to see our limitations and to make changes that help us be better people.
If we can remember that we are made in a way that has its own inherent wisdom, and that this wisdom is very much needed by both ourselves and the greater world, then we can open up to new levels of trusting our self.
While we may at times make mistakes or errors in judgment, we can return to a trust in the fundamental goodness and perfection of our nature. And then, kindly guide ourselves in the direction of making better and better decisions as we move forward through new knowledge, new skills, and improved discernment.
As we come to deeply know our own truth, we can rely on it more fully. This allows us to make choices and put ourselves in situations that are truly right for us. It allows us to navigate the many complex situations that we find ourselves in in the course of our life.
Trusting ourselves is also a skill that we develop. As we work to be more honest, more caring, more respectful, we become a person whom we can truly trust. As we practice these skills, they become stronger and our lives become a reflection of our character. We feel this growth, and as a result, trust ourselves more.
My wish for all of us is that we know the fundamental goodness of who we are. That we realize the perfection of how we are made. And, through this, we develop the foundations for trusting ourselves in ways that restore our health, wholeness, and connection with others.
For more about trusting yourself take a look at my article >>> “An Unstoppable Source for Your Personal Power.”
One of the inquiries that most frequently comes up when I am talking to others is how to feel more powerful: in relationships, our work, and any other aspect of life.
We are often challenged by only seeing examples of how to be powerful that we may be less than encouraged by. These supposedly empowered people might appear in some ways that don’t feel right and authentic to us. The confusion can be helped with a little semantics—the difference between someone who is powerful and someone who is empowered. Empowerment comes from deep within whereas power develops as a result of relationship dynamics. Power can come from an empowered or a disempowered place.
To learn to be more empowered, we can ask ourselves how we can come from a deeper place of power inside of ourselves—that is what I would like to examine here.
When we explore our personal power, we might be challenged by the examples of power I eluded to earlier. These examples of overuse or misuse of power are the result of identification with the false (or egoic) self. This false self leads us to believe that we are in power when others are not. It leads us to believe that maintaining this relationship is what it means to be in our full selves. This dynamic shows up in ways that are both subtle and obtuse.
The ego needs to continually be fed or pumped up. It needs proof that it is in fact secure. It will approach situations so that it can receive this bolstering—but underneath, there is a constant nagging sense that the security of the position can be lost at any moment. When we are coming from this place of ego, we may have experiences that help us feel powerful for a bit; for example, we might get praise or be put in a position of power.
We can at times confuse these experiences with having arrived at a place of empowerment. However, when we do not get these bolstering experiences or when something goes wrong, we can easily see how unstable our position is. What you might notice is a lack of consistency; that we’re sort of up and down and that we might need more and more, and then more again in order to maintain this sense of security or power or whatever it is.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ego. It’s not a matter of getting rid of it. It is a very important part of who we are. But we do want to see it for its role in our lives rather than sourcing our power from this place. An alternative is to source our power from a much deeper place—the core of who we are. There are many different terms for this; regardless of what we call it, this deeper place inside of us creates a more sustainable source of power. The first step is to begin to discern between the two.
Another way to come from a stronger place inside of ourselves is to use the tool of connecting with resources. Simply put, resources are energies in our consciousness that provide us with real depth of connection, energy, feelings of security, etc. A resource can be a spirit, a concept, a totem, or anything else that holds significant energetic power for us.
There are many different ways to approach the concept of resources. Here, I am going to write about it in the most general way. As an example, lets look at something like compassion. You can connect to this feeling—this energy, this way of being—in any way that’s right for you and then find ways to bring this through your own being and out into your life.
As we do this, we actually become stronger. One way to do this is simply by being more intentional. In other words, by stating that “I would like to be more…” (in this case, “compassionate”). When you do this, you are drawing on supportive and infinite energies to help strengthen you in any given moment. You can also ask for help. For example, “Please help me be more compassionate in this situation.” Whether or not you know who you are asking, you are going to benefit. You can also call on these resources through a practice. A practice helps you understand the resource you are working with more deeply and also how to more effectively work with it. In our example, you would increase your compassion through a practice by saying, “okay, in these certain circumstances or in a situation like this, I’m going to look at how I can be more compassionate.” Or, you can look for examples of compassion and draw from those.
As we begin to work with resources, we connect with the core aspects of who we are and develop a deeper understanding of them while also fortifying and learning how to act from them. This both confirms our power and helps us draw from a deeper, more sustainable place. This strengthening process in and of itself helps us detach from our identification with the egoic level and provides ways for us to be powerful that are also aligned with the kind of person we want to be.
Our work with resources and how we source our power are deep topics that require a bit of time to understand. If you have not already, take a moment to sign up for my mailing list so that you can continue to receive information that will help you to step fully into your power and let your light shine.
For more about self empowerment take a look at my article >>> “On Trusting Ourselves.”
Understanding how to use personal power to reach your next spiritual level is the key to achieving this transition. According to writer and theorist Ken Wilber, development is a continuum of processes that takes us from psychological “growing up” to spiritual “waking up”. Growing up refers to our personal development, while waking up refers to our spiritual development. In other words, our individual development of personal power allows us to reach our spiritual enlightenment.
Your personal power is central to your spiritual growth. The key component of this empowerment is recognizing that you are “at cause” for everything that happens in your life. In other words, the common denominator in each and every situation you encounter is you. Taking responsibility for your life, in a loving and compassionate way, will launch you to your next spiritual level.
It takes two to tango. Yes, the person you’re in conflict with may not have done right by you, but before you go on the offense, figure out the ways you have contributed to the conflict situation. The time you spend thinking about your own contribution to a conflict is not meant to assuage guilt from anyone else, but it will help you see your own role and help you be as constructive as possible with your feedback. Be honest with yourself.
How to use personal power is often about looking for ways to create more of what we want. If you do not like the way a situation — or even your whole life — is going, you can choose to create more of what you want. Spend less time discussing, arguing, or even engaging with what you are trying to get rid of, and start to focus your efforts in the direction you want to go.
Clear communication finds its ground in your personal power. It is from the place of clarity and responsibility that we find in our personal power that we are able to constructively interact with the world around us. From here, we are able to let others know what we truly want, and negotiate the details of how it comes to us. The clearer that we are with our communication, the easier it is to create and co-create our vision for our life.
Our spiritual development is grounded in our ability to be intentional. What do we want to create in our life? How are we showing up to each moment? Being intentional is a sign that we are effectively using our personal power. It is a sign that we are connecting to ourselves and what the deepest part of ourselves wants.
What good is a sense of personal power if we leave a wake a disruptions behind us as we claim our place in the world? A sure sign that you are using your personal power effectively is that you are able to be gracious in most situations. This ability to be responsive, kind, and supportive will ensure that you have less to clean up as you change your life and will allow you to take your next steps more easily.
I help women step into their personal power and gain control of their life. To learn more, click here to sign up for my newsletter, or here to learn how my Personal Breakthrough Intensive will help you reach your next level.
It is one thing to feel a sense of personal power when things are going well for you, but it is when you know how to keep personal power during traumatic life events that you are able to surf the ups and downs of life with more grace and ease. Being able to do this is actually a type of maturity. Learning the skills associated with how to keep personal power under any circumstances is both grounding and liberating.
When we face any kind of trauma in our lives –the loss of a loved one, an illness, a major setback, etc. -we experience intense emotions associated with the events. This might be grief or anger. These heavy negative emotions are a normal and healthy part of the traumatic event, but, over time, can begin to warp our perspective and impact our ability to move forward. It is necessary to feel and honor these emotions as well as connect to a deeper sense of personal truth and faith.
Emotions associated with traumatic events need time, space, and holding. We can recognize that they come in waves. That we need to be willing to sit with them, or thrash with them, or whatever else, depending on the requirements. That we need to make sure to give them the time they need to be felt and honored and to run their course.
We benefit from putting ourselves in situations and around people who can be with us and our emotional experience, so that we do not run the risk of re-wounding ourselves. This support helps us avoid the pitfalls of a lonesome mind that might convince us that we are alone or unlovable because of how we are feeling. We also benefit from recognizing when the emotional process needs to come to a close and allowing ourselves to rise up again.
Regardless of what is going on in our emotional process, we are in a simultaneous process of the further refinement of our personal power. The two are not separate. They are intended to influence each other. However, we often get stuck in the emotional processing and fail to see the opportunities for growth and power that are inherent in the circumstances we are facing. We lose contact with our own sense of personal power.
To access our personal power we need to begin to believe that all events in life are conspiring to bring us home to ourselves. That, regardless of circumstances, our own heart and truth is able to be revealed to us. That we can take deliberate action to move towards what we most deeply want.
Clarify how we want to feel: When all is said and done, what matters more than outcomes is how we feel before and after we achieve those outcomes. By figuring out how you want to feel on a day-to-day – or even situational – basis, we deepen our personal power in our life.
Envision what we want to create: While how we feel in the now is of infinite importance, it is still helpful to know what we are moving towards. This does not mean that we need to be ready to take action to move ourselves in that direction (we may or may not be). Just knowing where we are headed is often enough. This shows us that our circumstance is temporary and a larger unfolding is imminent.
Foster these states: To fully claim our personal power, we can foster the states of being that support our intended outcome, or take action in that direction. These actions give us a sense of agency in our lives. The results of our efforts teach us about how much power we have to create what we want in our lives.
Pay attention to where we are going: There are numerous signs along the road of life. When we start to pay attention to what is going on around us, when we begin to move in the direction of what feels good to us, when we claim the things that align with our vision based on these signs… we remember that life is on our side and that, no matter the current challenge, we can find our way to something better.
Are you looking for a way to let go of the heavy emotional baggage of trauma and step into your path?
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If you’re wondering how to find your purpose in life and achieve it, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Whether you’ve struggled with this question before or are just embracing it for the first time, it can be daunting to get started on the path of development. The tips below will support you in your personal journey. You can also check out my article “What Nobody Tells You About Finding Your Purpose.” Regardless of where you are in the process, these nine steps will help you get on track and stay there.
1. Uncover: It is challenging to uncover our life purpose when it is buried under unresolved past issues. This junk of the past can conceal our motives for our current interests and actions, making it hard to tell which direction to even face when starting down the path towards our purpose. The first step of finding your life purpose is working through the personal emotional baggage and false beliefs that were developed prior to this stage in your life.
2. Discover: After you begin to resolve the past, who you really are begins to emerge more clearly. You begin to notice more of your strengths and natural inclinations, and spend less time getting caught up in the stories of your. Although you have been there all this time, this phase of finding your purpose can feel like a stage of discovery.
3. Strengthen: Once you have made contact with your deeper self it is time to build and strengthen that self. This step includes both continued self-discovery work and letting go of any unresolved business from the past. It is a good time to nurture the skills and traits that are associated with your true self.
4. Pretend: You may or may not feel ready to step in more fully to your life purpose at this point in time. Let your imagination guide you. Try on different hats and approaches. Give yourself the opportunity to explore outside of whatever box you have been accustomed to.
5. Enjoy: Our joy helps to guide us to our true purpose in life. Pay attention to where your enthusiasm and your joy are. Identifying these reactions and what causes them will help you find your way to your life purpose. It will also help you stay on track with your purpose as you get further down the road.
6. Practice: Just because you are meant to do it does not mean that you know how to do every part of it. There are skills that need to be developed for you to achieve your purpose in life and take it to the next level. Learn what they are and begin to practice them in any way that you can.
7. Refine: It is very unlikely that you will be 100% clear and on track with your life purpose from the start. It is important to pay attention throughout your process. See where your energy levels and enjoyment go up and down. Notice where your natural talents shine. Make adjustments so that you are more on track.
8. Support: Manifesting your life purpose requires support. People who understand and believe in you are essential to your ability to find your purpose in life and achieve it. Pay attention to who supports you and who does not. If you do not have these people in your life already, begin to look for them. No dream is fulfilled in isolation.
9. Master: Keep learning and developing what you have now determined is your life purpose. Do not worry if it does not have a label. Allow yourself to focus on the many aspects of what you are undertaking and develop each of them to a whole new level of mastery. This advanced skill level will give you what you need to overcome new levels of challenge and reach new levels of personal fulfillment with your life purpose.
Understanding why personal power is important to your spiritual development begins with understanding that personal development and spiritual development are interdependent, mutualistic processes. The idea that each of these processes is separate and strictly secular/spiritual is a misconception that will prevent us from truly claiming our personal power.
Personal development resources take many forms, but they often manifest on one of two paths: a spiritual path or a secular path. In my experience, people in need (or in hope) of developing themselves turn to their spirituality or they turn to therapy. Each of these paths boasts many strengths, and some shortcomings. Neither is inherently “better” than the other, but both tend to leave out some of the valuable components of the other.
Having a toolkit of personal development skills will help you go deeper in your spirituality. Likewise, your spirituality will help keep you grounded and centered as you work your way through personal development practices. Each of these paths offers value that will enable you to reach a level of personal clarity beyond what can be found by just pursuing a single path alone.
In the same way that spiritual development provides a firm foundation from which to begin personal development, personal development is part of the essential groundwork that spiritual development is built on. Our personal power, or our empowerment, is a critical component of our spiritual development. Here is why.
Spiritual Development Demands Humility: The more that we grow in our spiritual power, the greater the problems that can be created by our unchecked egoic needs. Because of this it is essential that we are humble and true.
“Please let me say it loud and clear, the more you powerful are, the more your actions will have impact on people. The more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t your power will ruin you and you will ruin the other.” — Pope Francis
Without a sense of personal power, one is subject to the whims of the ego. One uses power to cover up for their limitations. Personal power is not power over. It is the power of choice and being right-sized. It allows us to know our limitations as well as acknowledge our greatness. It provides the foundation for being humble and therefore worthy of our spiritual development.
Spiritual Development is Challenging. There is not a single person on a spiritual path who goes untested. The tests, both successfully met and not, are means by which wisdom, impact, and spiritual capacity are gained, much more so than the peak experiences and other epiphanies we might be lucky to have. Each test that comes our way is an opportunity to learn and to grow by recognizing our role in its creation.
“Swami Veda says that whenever he gets sick first he thanks the Lord himself that he has the opportunity to close himself and he goes into silence. So each time he has pain he just closes his eyes and he thanks that now I have an opportunity to look within more.” — Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral
Personal Power helps us to be strong enough to ask the important question, how have I helped to create this problem? Without a toolkit of skills developed in our personal development work, we are unable to do this in a healthy way. We may blame the other party or situation or we blame ourselves when we ask the question. Either way, our spiritual development is curtailed.
Spiritual Development Requires Effort. To develop ourselves spiritually, we need to maintain continued focus and applied effort. There are no spiritual gains made by sloth or inactivity. Our outcomes are the direct result of the effort that we put in. This continued effort is the act of devotion. Devotion yields powerful results on our spiritual journey.
“That’s exactly it. True devotion only appears when we have just one desire and feel that we will die if we cannot realize that desire.” — Paulo Coelho
Without developing ourselves personally, we are unable to act from our adult self on a consistent and regular basis. This inability gets in the way of any sustained effort on our part. The ramifications of being unable to sustain our efforts is larger or smaller based on the place we are in our spiritual development. Some people have spiritual awakenings that are not in balance with their personal development, throwing them into experiences that challenge their mental health.
Personal development and spiritual development have many areas of overlap. However, they also provide some unique skills, techniques and insights that support us in becoming our full self. I encourage you to dive into both!
Looking to capitalize on the work you’ve done in your personal and spiritual development? Sign up for a one-day Personal Breakthrough Intensive with Dr. Kate Siner. You’ll use extensively researched and highly effective emotional and mental release techniques, combined with values work and strategic planning, to root out your limiting obstacles and eliminate them. Create space for your growth! Learn more →
Our personal power is the key to our wellbeing and personal effectiveness. Personal power is the empowerment of the true self that exists in all of us. It provides us with strength, courage, and compassion throughout all life’s ups and downs. By learning how to improve personal power, we facilitate this life long pursuit of empowerment that encompasses every area of our life.
As you learn how to improve personal power, it is important to differentiate between true power and ego inflation. If I did a good job, and it makes my ego feel good, I might feel powerful. If I am praised, and if makes my ego feel good, I might feel powerful. While these things might help us feel powerful, real personal power comes from internal, not external, motivations. True personal power makes our ego’s grasps at power look like what they are –feeble. Below are 8 steps you can take to improve your personal power. The kind you really want — the real kind.
1. Learn what is in your heart: We are bold in our actions when we are connected with the trough of our heart. The word courage –a form of personal power — is formed from the Latin word cor or heart. When we are aware of the contents of our heart and we know its truth, we are more powerful than we previously might have imagined. Think of the powerful rebellion of Ghandi. When we use our heart as our guide, we become clearer and more resolute. Our confidence is no longer the confidence of superiority but the confidence of devotion.
2. Love and Acceptance of who you are at your core: You are completely perfect and infinitely flawed. Learning to truly love and accept yourself, while still holding yourself accountable for your actions, is a powerful skill that helps you maintain perspective, even as you are being tested and stretched by life’s circumstances. When you find a part of yourself that you are having a difficult time accepting, try asking yourself how this part of you is productive or helpful. Learn to see that there is always a flip side and that, often, negativity or positivity is just a matter of use of that part of yourself, rather than an inherent goodness or badness.
3. The recognition that you have the power to change: A lot of people believe that they have the power to change over the course of their lives, but don’t give themselves the power to change in the moment. You do not need to hold onto something that does not serve you any longer than you want to. Let yourself be at choice in each moment as much as you possibly can. When we truly recognize our choice in each moment is when we truly feel our personal power. Click here to read more on embracing your power of choice and how to change your life when you feel stuck.
4. Take action: When we take actions to create positive outcomes in our lives, we feel more powerful. When you see an opportunity to move things forward, seize the moment. This can be as simple as picking up some trash off the ground or saying something kind to a stranger. It is also important to take action to put boundaries in place for yourself and to give clear feedback to others when things are not going well.
5. You are instrumental in shaping events: Your love, kindness, care, and compassion can sculpt any moment. You have the ability to shift the tide when you see things moving in an unpleasant direction, or add more to things moving in a positive direction. Begin to recognize your contributions to the unfolding of all the events that you experience and you will unlock a giant piece of your personal power.
6. Work with the pain: As much as we want life to be pain free, it is not. The teaching is in the pain. This does not mean you should become obsessed with focusing on the pain of life, but pain does serves as a cue that we are going in the wrong direction or that we are not quite on track. Next time you are feeling this challenge let it remind you to refocus on what it is that you are trying to create.
7. Be with discomfort: Another teaching that helps us step into our personal power is discomfort. Trying to push away all the hard and uncomfortable things in life does not work. When things are hard, it is sometimes necessary to be willing to just let it be hard. Have your anger. Have your sadness. And THEN, move on. Difficult emotions will pass on their own, if we do not hold onto them.
8. Celebrate: Celebrate yourself. Celebrate others. Celebrate your life. Gratitude for all that we have is critical to feeling empowered. When we look at our life or ourselves and see that our efforts have yielded more love, more happiness, more abundance, and we take time to acknowledge these successes, we naturally feel more powerful and more right in our own skin. Find ways to acknowledge you for all of your efforts and gain even more personal power.
Whether you lost your job because of a company cut back, a major mistake, or a personal issue, losing your job can cut to the core of how you feel about yourself and can seriously affect your ability to carry on with life as usual. As with any difficult time, it is incredibly important to take action that affirms who you are and allows you to regain personal power after losing your job.
This list of practices will help you figure out how to regain your power after losing your job, but it isn’t only that! This is a list to keep someplace you will see it every day — to remind you to keep doing things that will help you stay on track, pick yourself up, and move on with your life after challenges.
Give yourself a moment to breath: Like any loss, grief is a healthy part of the process of losing your job. It is all too easy to move on too quickly and not give ourselves a moment to feel the impact of what has happened. When you bolt from pain like this it actually holds you back later on in life. Taking some time to grieve now will mean that you will be less likely to get really off track when you start moving forward.Focus on what you did right: Without being defensive or negative, remember that even if you lost your job, there were many things that went right for you and that you did, in fact, do right. Take stock of how you were successful and effective in your job. This will help you to feel better and to better represent yourself when looking for future work.
Learn from your mistakes: Again, without being defensive or negative, take an honest inventory of where you might have done better or what you might have done differently. Any “failed” situation provides us with new insights into how we might change our behavior to get better results. Yes, there are situation that are totally out of our control, but it can never hurt to consider how you might do things differently going forward.
Get support: You will need support in many ways to continue to move forward: emotional support from family and friends, professional development support in getting yourself ready to get back in the job market, networking support in contact the right people, and so on. Independence and self-isolation are not the same thing. You cannot do this alone and it is counterproductive to your empowerment and happiness for you to try. Embrace the resources around you!
Take action: There is a time to pause and a time to take action. If you want another job, you will benefit from creating an action plan and strategy for getting a new job and moving forward. When you take action you will feel more powerful and capable in your life. This will result in both short and long term gains.
Reframe: Is the sudden increase in your free time after the loss of your job a benefit or a detractor from your life? Is it possible that losing your job is actually freeing you to find something better? These are the kinds of reframes that empower you to take action and make change. As bad as things are, try to open to the potential positive impact of every situation. Ask yourself, what is the good that will come out of this?
Keep your Perspective: There is no doubt that losing your job is a life experience that most of us want to avoid. Nevertheless, it is an experience that many of us do have. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, it does not mean much of anything about who you are or what you are capable of. Keep your self-talk framed around “I lost my job, now what?” instead of “I lost my job, I am worthless.” Avoid making this experience mean more than it does.
Stay the course: If you have a difficult time finding work after losing your job, keep practicing this list of suggestions. Each of these practices will keep you feeling more powerful in your circumstance. Do not worry if you have a bad day. Just get back on track as soon as you can.