I realized tonight that, for most of my life, my power has been like a hot potato in my hands. I’d stand there, popping it back and forth between both palms, jumping up and down looking for anyone to pass it to. “Oh God this is hot – here! You take it!” and I’d chuck it at an unsuspecting bystander.
Eventually, after passing it back and forth between myself and numerous people, I’d find someone who was happy to have it.
Somehow it didn’t burn in their hands with the same ferocity as it burned in mine. Relieved, I then attached myself completely to them because, without any sense of power, how else could I make decisions for myself in my life? Giving them my power had bound them to me – at least until I made the decision to pass it on to someone else.
And for me, that felt safe. I didn’t want to deal with having to step into it. I was happy to avoid making the decisions it would require to really own that power and use it in the way that best expressed who I was. I was happiest being in the passenger’s seat, letting someone else call all the shots, allowing them to decide where we were going and how we’d get there. Even just thinking about it now, I feel an odd sense of peace.
What’s interesting is that the type of person who’s willing to hold that hot potato is usually not the type of person that wants to see you express the fullness of your being. Anyone that wants to see you have everything that you want (and then some)would toss that potato right back to you and say “No, I don’t want this. This is yours. I want to support you and watch what amazing things you’ll do with it.”
I think I’ve realized that the type of person that is happy to hold onto someone else’s power is someone who also doesn’t know what to do with theirs. In some ways it may be that they haven’t even realized that they have power of their own and so they need yours instead. Or perhaps they’ve given theirs away too, and so they must borrow yours. Of course there are certainly those people that enjoy collecting as much power as they can from others – thankfully I think my intuition has kept me from having these people in my life, but they’re out there nonetheless.
Recently, I gave away my power to someone that I don’t think even knew that I had given it to them, which underscores another point: whatever you decide to do with your power, it’s not about the other person. Regardless of who you give it to or what you do with it, your power is ALWAYS yours; whenever, wherever and however you decide to claim it.
When I think about what creates this burning sensation around holding my power, it of course has to do with fear. And when I listen deep inside of myself as to what that fear is about, I hear the words “I’m afraid of hurting someone with it.” I’m sure this idea comes from the way I was raised. As one of six kids I was part of a collective; none of us owned our own power. It belonged to everyone and to exercise it for the good of just oneself ultimately was perceived as being hurtful to everyone else.
And so, today, the feeling that came up for me was “I don’t want to be an inconvenience.” I don’t want my existence to ever cause difficulty for anyone else. Of course, understanding how I was brought up, this makes complete sense. My needs, MY wants would always be inconvenient whenever they came up against what everyone else needed.
And so I learned to apologize, a lot. I learned to read what other people wanted and tried to find a way to offer that to them. I used my power in service, which was a wonderful idea and I’m sure made a positive impact on the world in a lot of ways. But the aftertaste that was constantly left behind was that I wasn’t important. I didn’t know it at the time, but I wasn’t serving from a place of owning my power – I was giving that power away in small chunks in the hope of being of service. They are two very different things.
So now, I’m being offered the chance to walk away, to avoid and to take what really would be the easier path. Or I can ante up, find the place within myself that says that I am worthy, that there is no part of me that, in simply being me, could ever be an inconvenience. Even in writing those words, I want to walk away from believing that – I want to chuck that hot potato at the next person that will take it.
Problem is, I now know that whoever will take that hot potato is not the person I want in my life. So yes, I’ll have to take a more difficult road – I’ll have to deal with whatever blisters form as a result of me learning how to hold my power. However, what I do know is that once I settle into allowing my power to do what it was really meant to do, which is never to hurt anyone or anything, it not only won’t burn anymore, but it will be a force so great that its boundaries will be limitless.