“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, then you aren’t.” –Margaret Thatcher
This quote has been making the rounds on social media, always accompanied by someone saying, “Damn straight!” or the like.
Yet I couldn’t disagree, more. No, I want to tell them. No. Assert that you are, in fact, powerful!
We live in a world where people, and especially women, can feel powerless. It shows up in the way we externalize happiness, thinking that things or positive public opinion will give us a sense of love and security. It shows up in the way that we numb out to our feelings, disconnecting from ourselves or each other, instead of harnessing these resources for their power.
The major work of self-realization is to fully recognize, own, and act from one’s sense of personal power.
What Power Isn’t
Sometimes we equate negative characteristics with power, thinking that it’s about domination, someone else losing or missing out, or a fundamental inequality. This is an out-dated notion of power.
Power is collaboration, interdependence, and everyone showing up to bring their particular, individual gifts.
Translation: to be a powerful society, and create a powerful world, we need YOU. We need you to own your powerful gifts, and show up to take part by playing your unique part.
Some people criticize personal growth as being narcissistic and navel-gazing. I’m sure that for some people, it can be, but in my own life and in my coaching practice, I’m always acutely aware of how helping people to recognize, own, and act from their own personal power is not about benefitting the individual. It’s for the good of the collective whole.
The clients that I’ve worked with have never finished our time together and sat back to say, “Ah, yes, my life is better. Too bad for those other poor schmucks.”
No. They’re owning their power, expanding their own sense of love and connection with themselves, and that becomes a greater capacity with their families. It becomes doing amazing work at their jobs or writing books that can change people’s lives. They’re cutting the drama from their lives so that they can be more effective in their day-to-day, which means that they are also more loving, open, and generous.
A fearful society is not a powerful society. The work of making courageous habits the back bone of your life is never going to be solely about you.
And about this business of “being a lady.”
Talk about antiquated notions about which I could care less- “being a lady,” which I associate with being overtly-passive, soft-spoken as repression as opposed to a natural communication style, sexually inhibited due to fear of societal repercussions, gracious and accommodating to the point of unhealthy people-pleasing, and uncomfortable undergarments–let’s just move past that.
There is no more power in “being a lady” than there is in “being a good little girl.”
There is immense potential for your own life and for the lives of others when you recognize that you are, in fact, powerful.
Declare your power.
You are not somehow more powerful just because you don’t declare it.
I’d like to see more people declaring that they are powerful. If it makes you uncomfortable to think of doing that, of stating something as simple as “I’m a powerful person,” then I’d invite you to think about why that is.
I’m guessing that few people would have trouble with saying, “I’m a kind person” or “I’m a loving person.”
Why not also recognize, own, and declare that you are powerful?
Owning and declaring your own power actually models for others, especially other young women who are looking to you for an example, what’s possible.
We face a lot of problems in this world. Violence, human-trafficking, economic disparity, and environmental crises aren’t going to be helped by a group of people who feel powerless. If this same group of people trying to help with these challenges is fearful of a simple declaration of their own power, how are these problems ever going to be legitimately faced?
Meeting the challenges that you might face in your day-to-day, such as clinical depression, substance abuse, disease and illness, dysfunctional family or marital dynamics, or an overwhelmingly busy schedule isn’t going to go well if you’re feeling too powerless to even look yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m a powerful person. I can face this.”
If you feel powerless, start the work of shifting that. It’s not a selfish endeavor. It’s for all of us.
Go ahead. Recognize your power. Then declare it, loud and proud, so that we can join one another.