I have felt powerless so many times.
As recently as this last week when the guy I'd been dating for a couple of months completely ghosted me. Even more was the fact that I wasn't even really that into him, yet he had spent weeks pursuing me, telling me he was in love with me, broke down a few of my walls...then abruptly walked away without an explanation. I felt helpless with frustration.
I felt really powerless as just about a year ago, I saw the end of my business Uplift start to take root, then seemingly couldn't stop the irreparable cracks that became the potholes that eventually led to us getting swallowed up.
I always feel powerless when out of the blue I hear from my father who has never chosen to be a real father in any way that counts, yet feels compelled to reach out to me at the most sensitive times in my life (the day I announced Uplift's closure when my head was spinning, my 40th birthday when I was contemplating middle age, etc.)
Powerlessness, in its myriad forms, sucks.
And it's the problem I'm solving for in all of my work in the female empowerment realm: it's important to start with each of us as individual women, and when more and more of us take a sword to the ways in which we feel powerless and get personally empowered, we gain the POWER in society (at work, in classrooms and schools, with our partners, walking down the street, in how we're represented everywhere, in the micro, in the macro) we need, want, and demand.
2019 was a hell of a year for me. But even with all of the fear, pain, stumbles, and fuckups, I learned and grew more in that one year than any other in my entire life.
And that brought me to a huge revelation: I (and we) have the ability to use the lessons we learn from the times we feel powerlessness in order to gain power.
I can actually leverage my fears, my pain, my stumbles and my fuckups to get stronger (and we women can collectively do this too for the power in society I mentioned before).
There's power, first, in just that awareness alone. Insight and Awareness are the leading edge of personal empowerment.
Then, the idea that "Rejection is God's protection" applies in so many realms of powerlessness: I have looked back and thanked the universe for my unanswered prayers and wishes more often than I can count. I am exactly where I need to be, with whom I need to be, in order to grow and manifest everything I want. I have to believe and accept that and not try to control where I'm going. It will unfold.
Most important, my moments (hours, days, weeks, months) of feeling powerless have slowly morphed into a recognition of my own resilience. I have, over time, especially thanks to the recent spate of challenging times that seemed to open my eyes very wide, replaced feelings of powerlessness with the ability to thrive even in the face of those challenges.
I purposefully move forward even when things are shitty.
All of this means that the difference between powerlessness and empowerment is simply perception.
We aren't actually powerless, ever. We just feel powerless. That's a huge difference.
Even in the worst of human experiences, like the one he endured in Auschwitz in the 1940's, Viktor Frankl notes:
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way...
...Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
We have the power in our own hands, right here, and that's what I'm building my 2020 around. How about you?