The idea that I was powerless over other people (not me) places and things, went against everything I believed I knew.
How could that be when I worked so hard to help others change? Apparently, I misunderstood.
I had been Mrs.Fix-it for others, forever! Then to be told I didn’t fix anything or anyone, felt just wrong!
Yes, I had repaired things with tape, glue, needle, and thread, that’s not the things I’m speaking of. It was systems like school issues with my sons decades ago. They each had different educational challenges that needed different services to help.
If there wasn’t help in the school system, I went to the medical then government systems to get the help needed. This continued until either I got results or ran out of options. Then we moved provinces and started over again.
Looking back, of course, I get it.
I needed to understand the right definition of power to understand powerlessness. Pushing myself took energy. That meant energy = power, right?
- The ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a quality or faculty – “the power of speech” similar; ability, capacity, competency
- The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. “He had me under his power.” (I’ve lived this) similar; control, authority (ugh)
- Physical strength and force exerted by someone or something.Power (Verb)
- Supply a device with mechanical or electrical energy
- move or travel with great speed or force. Similar; control
Well, I was sort of right and way off base at the same time. I pushed everything because I believed this was how I got things done. When I didn’t have the capacity or competency, I used force and control. Sometimes it seemed to work other times not so much.
All of my efforts drained the little energy I had, as I was always working from an empty cup. There was little energy being added as I didn’t know-how. It took so much to get things done; I was always exhausted.
I got sick at the drop of a (germ) hat. This too, I seemed powerless to prevent. I either did too much or I was at a standstill. Time spent lying in bed or hiding under a blanket on the sofa. I drank tea in front of the TV waiting for the inertia or illness to pass, waiting to be refueled enough to move and fight another day.
This was an exhaustive cycle to live. I tried to change my mom and my siblings in my younger years. Trying to talk reason to the unreasonable (now there’s some insanity).
I tried to change the drinkers in my life to no avail. As I looked more honestly at these situations and myself, it was clear I had changed not one other person only me, and not in a particularly good way.
I pushed, yelled, cried and change may seem to have come. I was ever so hopeful, but it was only a salve to calm the beast. All previous behaviors returned; the drinking, unpaid bills, abuse, and irresponsibility was right there waiting for the beast to calm.
Once I recognized the insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, I had to get off the merry-go-round of craziness and denial.
Humility, a modest or low view of one’s own importance, or in my case, power.
To accept one’s own powerlessness is humbling. My ego believed I could help guide (read control) the actions of other people, places and things. This was not a conscious belief, I had always felt unworthy, less than.
I think it was the need to control something. Focusing outward was far less frightening then to even take a peek inside. I’ve heard it said, that to know better is to do better, but there’s quite a path between those two words.
My views on this;
Learn – experience
Know – WOW
Situation to absorb – so different to experience
Prepare – what if? – consider ramification
Decide – what do I want? Yes/no
Do (practice) – jump in with both feet
Reassess often – try again
Practice makes better
Over and over until it’s a habit.
To know better + time + thought + more time+getting ready+ prepare +practice+time+practice some more +Do better, more practice +do even better, more practice + do even better, etc. Eventually, a new habit, your new typical response.
I was almost 40 by the time I understood what powerlessness truly meant and longer still, years actually, to settle into living it, not questioning if the situation was that which deemed me truly powerless.
Understand, I was never powerless over me. This I did not know. I could change my mind, especially if I said yes when I wanted to say no or if the situation changed making it impossible to do.
I could make my own decisions and not always bow to what others wanted or demanded of me. I could let go of my feelings about what others did, knowing it was their life to live.
I could let others know if I was concerned, set boundaries and stay strong while not accepting the unacceptable. I have a right to take care of myself and that which is mine to care for.
There is peace in knowing that I can love and accept another for who they are not an action they did. I only had two release my belief that I had to do for others to be worthy of their love, respect, kindness, friendship, and acceptance.
I respect others enough, not to do for them what they are capable of doing for themselves in their time if it’s meant to be. It’s not for me to play God and know what their path is and what experiences they need along the way.
This is not an easy task with my nearest and dearest. I hate to see those I love, suffer or be in pain or denial for that matter. Minding my own business is occasionally more work because my old ego sometimes remembers when and how I may have responded in years past.
I can shift focus on why I’ve tripped. Typically happens if I’m tired or angry. H.A.L.T.
Hungry – a rarity
Angry – occasionally connected with tired in the form of bitchy
Lonely – I connect to my Higher Self daily and have friends who get me as close as the phone.
Tired – When I am not paying attention to myself.
I can get overwhelmed with an unreasonable list of what I want to accomplish with a finite amount of time and energy. I have become more self-aware of these and have learned to manage them better as I move through life.
What does it take for you to have the energy you need each day?
– time to rest and rejuvenate.
– time to connect to my Higher Power then meditate
– read something inspirational and journal daily.
– go to bed early enough to read for 15 minutes then mentally be grateful for your day.
– make sure you have enough time to sleep eight hours. When it isn’t perfect, give yourself permission to stay in bed if the schedule permits, or there is always the next night.
– control your thoughts, even the ones that say you’re too tired to work can be adjusted.
– remember that you are always enough.
– know that you are doing the best that you can today and every day. Even if it’s less than yesterday.
– know that today is going to be a good day and things are always working out for you.
Even a positive thinker can have many a dark and hopeless day. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those days, gratefully. It’s not a place I ever want to go again. Working diligently to shift my attitude, thoughts, and feelings has made a difference, even with a typically positive attitude.
I am at peace and happy with who I am and how I show up in the world each day. I may be powerless over the life others around me chose to live, but not how I respond to it. The better I am at keeping the focus on myself and taking care of my insides, the less turmoil I live in my outside world.
I know I can’t be Mrs. Fix-it of the world, but I can still have an impact by being the best version of me when I interact with people. When I do this, I am humbled by my inner power and external powerlessness over others.
I know, things are always turning out right for me and for that, I am grateful.
Author: Tammy Rowland