Power in it’s literal meaning is; the capacity and ability to do something in a particular way. Yet power, thanks to history, as well as the current state of the world, does not have the same meaning to most of us anymore. Maybe it’s because we have built systems where positions and titles are seen as power instead of acknowledging power as the ability to do something in a particular way.
Power is also often referred to as some magical force within us all, a power to change, a power to be our true authentic selves and a power to create. Although I do resonate with this notion of power, I never truly owned it. I never truly embraced that word as something I could use to move me in a positive way. My life experience of power was too great and therefore unable to shift the deep connection that I have with power that one must be forceful, in control and in high places. This idea of power has been created throughout history and no matter how I looked at it, the word power was too dramatic, too clique and too forceful. Most importantly, when I used the word power in a positive affirmation I just felt too ‘cheesy’ too fake and no matter how much I tried I could never seem to soften it. Until, one day, a student who I was working with finally made sense of it all for me.
The student said; “I can do this”. Yes, that’s it folks, really, that is all there is to it. I can, I am able, I am capable. I don’t have to be powerful or forceful. I have the capacity to do something in a particular way and this capacity, this ability is the power itself.
For a long time, my expectations of power were far too grand, almost out of reach. This child taught me to simplify my understanding of power.
Be willing (intention) be capable (have skills) and be gentle (do it with love).
I am very lucky to be able to spend most of my days around such wise little people. Seeing things through a colourful lens of simple reality, inner knowing and truth.
It made me think, if we actually replace the word power with the word ability, then we can eliminate the belief that positions and systems are power itself. If we can just give children the skills they need to be able and capable to take action. But to do that, we must STOP modelling to our children that positions, money, gender, skin colour and fame are POWER!
JTLYK about Power
When I came into the world, I had special powers just like a superhero. An unseen energy that could move things in a way that gave me access to whatever I needed. I did this even before I could speak. I loved that time. But as I got older I learned that in order to be capable and able to take action I had to be powerful first. I realised that power was assigned to people according to their positions and place in the world. I learned that people in higher positions such as adults had more power than me and so I stopped doing things because I no longer had any power.
I discovered that people had more power if they had more money, nicer clothes, important jobs and even the colour of people’s skin made them more powerful than others. I forgot about all the power I once had within me, all the energy, ability and capacity to be me. I was shown by the adults in the world that only powerful people could take action. Powerful people make all the decisions, powerful people need to be obeyed and powerful people are more than I am, maybe more than I will ever be. I’m not sure how I came to believe all of this but it must have happened gradually over years, it must have formed in my mind as truth the more and more I experienced life.
To me, power is just energy and ability to take action. Power is not forceful, power should not make some people successful and others helpless.
I spent a lot of time and energy learning skills to make me capable and able to take action, but those skills were wasted when I found myself in situations where I could not take action because I did not have power or authority to do so.
Can we please put power back into the action, not the person or the position they have?