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Stepping Into Personal Power

I thought I would share with you portions of my book Self-Empowerment 101 since it’s got some great Rosie Kuhn, PhDinformation and stories that inspire personal reflection and perhaps transformation – for those who are interested in that!

I start the book off with the chapter called POWER. To me, power is the fundamental issue each of us struggle with in every human relation, especially in relation to our selves. Without acknowledging our personal power and how we use it, we’ll continually experience events and circumstances as being out of our control; some are, however, much of what occurs is within our own personal power.

Stepping Into Personal Power
For me, each one of us is in some stage of recovery from some form of oppression and suppression of our unique individual expression. We learned to suppress our unique self-expression in service to fulfilling an essential desire to belong. By revealing the ways we suppress ourselves we begin revealing how we use our power – power to suppress and power to express. Power is not a thing you have or don’t have. We all have it and we all use it either in service to truth and well-being or in service to fear and control.

My dad was my role model for power. I wonder now about how secure he felt with himself, since he rarely allowed others to voice their opinions and truths. It was his way or the highway. I grew up frightened of having an opinion. I learned to want what he wanted. I dismantled my own truth for the sake of exercising ways of being that which supported his belief system. During my adolescence I felt powerless in so many ways. I was unable to generate acceptance from him, which led to less and less self-acceptance. The experience of not knowing how to be me was debilitating and despairing. I was on the verge of suicide – perhaps the last act of power available. Fortunately I found alternatives. I reached out for help from therapists. This act of power saved my life and my sanity.

Self Empowerment 101True power is not about controlling ourselves, other people, our circumstances or environment in order to avoid our fears. It’s about establishing right-relationships with ourselves in relation to our circumstances. Being in right-relationship means acknowledging the internal generator of our personal power and exercising this power in service to our own essential truth and our own unique expression of truth.  Here is a story about a woman who used her power in service to creating the identity she believed would have her feel that she belonged.

Like many of us, Melanie used her power to play small. A brilliant and creative woman with an MBA, she designed her life around men who treated her as a second-class citizen. Why? Because she believed she needed a man in her life to give her an identity – to give her status, and to her, status meant power. Melanie believed she didn’t have what it takes to create a successful career or identity on her own, so she insisted on using other people’s power to get what she wanted.

In her fantasies, Melanie was destined to become a General’s wife. The man she married was on the path toward being a high-ranking officer, but detoured instead toward academics and a  Ph.D. at Yale. Her fantasy shifted and she could see herself as the wife of a professor. As it turned out, her husband never finished his Ph.D., never got that position with a university, never got any real satisfying work, and Melanie never got that identity she had designed.

With the demolition of her dream of power through her husband, Melanie has continually resisted being the breadwinner of her family for the greater part of her thirty-five year marriage. She’s attempted to avoid financial success in order to maintain her fantasy of someday having the man of her dreams provide the life of her dreams. While using her power to do everything she could to encourage and cajole her husband to step into a career of any sort, she’s constantly frustrated and deflated by the lack of enthusiasm he displays while appearing to search for a job. As they both approach their late fifties, it’s becoming more obvious to Melanie that she cannot get her identity needs met through her husband. Isn’t it fascinating that both of these brilliant people who are so full of potential make choices that have them look and feel so disempowered?  Both have taken a very powerful stands to appear helpless, hopeless and powerless. You wouldn’t believe how common this story is. You probably know people like this yourself.

My job, as Melanie’s coach, is to reflect how she uses her own power to empower her belief in being helpless and powerless. She’s moments away from conceding that she has been creating this illusion for the sake of staying in line with a myth about what a real woman should be.

Like Melanie, many of us give away our power in powerful ways for the sake of maintaining a belief that living within the cultural norm is a safe place. We believe that by relying on the power of others—including our families, culture, religion and government—we will get a fulfilling and satisfying life; a promised life. Rarely, if ever does living through other people’s power truly fulfill our essential truth – our essential self.

We cannot not be powerful. As long as we live, we have the power to choose within each moment to use our self-generated power in any way that serves our well-being. And when we are serving our well-being we serve everyone’s well-being. I encourage you to consider acknowledging your personal power. Notice how you generate it and how you use it. Consider hiring a coach to support you in coming fully into our own unique expression through self-empowerment.

Rosie’s book Self-Empowerment 101 is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, or by ordering it at your local book store.

Enjoy more articles from Dr Rosie Kuhn

Rosie Kuhn is a Life and Spiritual Coach. She has been training coaches through the Transformational Coaching Training Program for seven years at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California. She recently self-published Self-Empowerment 101 and is working on her second book Exercising the Muscles of Spiritual Intelligence, which will be available by the end of the year. http://www.theparadigmshifts.com/


Self-Empowerment 101: Re-enchantment with our own capacity for empowering ourselves and others
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