Keri Nola, MA, LMHC
NOTE: Picture of Keri Nola by Monica Alfonso
Did you know that many of us walk around giving our power away without even realizing it? I spent more than 20 years of my life wondering why I could never seem to get a grip on my sanity, and why I often felt anxious, depressed and dissatisfied, even though the exterior trimmings of my life indicated that I “should” be happy.
After much inner work and exploration, I discovered the absence of joy in my life stemmed from my unconscious choice to hand the power of my happiness over to others…family, friends, partners, bosses, you name it, everyone, except ME was responsible for why my life wasn’t where I wanted it in any given moment. Uh oh! No wonder I was often miserable!
What I know for sure is that until we know better, we walk around abandoning our power on a daily basis. This happens in our language when we say things like, “I HAVE to go to this ridiculous meeting,” or, “SHE/HE MADE me feel bad!” as opposed to “I’m choosing” to go to this meeting and “I” felt bad when I heard him/her say that to me. It shows up in our behaviors when we agree to do things we don’t really want to do, or on the contrary, when we keep ourselves from doing things we want to do. It also shows up in our thoughts when we believe our misery is anyone’s fault but our own.
These patterns are supported by many cultures and keep us stuck feeling victimized and out of control. When we are ready to feel empowered, we have to pull up our adult pants, take ownership in our lives by releasing our victim mentalities, and choose accountability for the ways we have gotten ourselves wherever we are (this does not, however, mean taking ownership for other people’s choices, behaviors, or actions toward you) and where we will go next.
Have you decided that you’ve let others run your life long enough? Are you ready to get out of everyone else’s business and back into your own? If so, here are five tips you may find helpful to support you in moving forward and living the life you deserve. They can be used in a general sense or in specific situations. Try one, practice it and see how it resonates with you. Remember that change is a process, and it’s helpful when we honor our efforts and compassionately meet ourselves where we are each step of the way.
1 — Breathe. The breath is our most powerful antidote to stressful feelings. Close your eyes and intentionally inhale and exhale, allowing yourself to return home to your highest self within.
2 — Identify feelings. Ask yourself, what am I feeling? Then name the feelings that come up. We have a lot of feeling words and yet there are only four core feelings and then varying degrees of their experience…happy, sad, mad, scared. Which resonates with you?
3 — Start with “I.” Empowerment means staying at home inside ourselves. We cannot be present with our power when we are outside of ourselves talking about “you” and “them” and “her” and “him.” Watch your language. Mindfully begin your sentences with “I” (this includes internal and external dialogue) and ensure that you own each feeling, need, thought and behavior that you may be having in reaction to others.
4 — Identify needs. Now that you have identified your feelings and claimed them, what do you need? If you are sad, do you need comfort? If you are mad, do you need understanding? If you are scared, do you need reassurance? Once you identify your need, decide how YOU can meet it. Too often, we wait for others to give us what we need. But when we can comfort, understand and reassure ourselves, we take our power back and connect with others out of want versus need—that, my friends is true love!
5 — Take ownership of your part. Blaming others, is the single most disempowered position we put ourselves in. Simply put, STOP BLAMING. Others are responsible for THEIR thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and WE are solely responsible for how we react to what we witness and experience with others. When we breathe, identify our feelings and needs, and speak from “I,” we take ownership of ourselves and we walk through the doorway of freedom…welcome to your empowered life!
If this was easy, we would have done it a long time ago, right? Spiritual and emotional growth and development require our intention and a deep knowing that we deserve peace, love, joy and abundance. Here’s to our mindful transition back home to our Divine power!
Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit www.pathtogrowth.com, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.