We live in uncertain times. Too many things seem to be causing fear and worry.
The climate, political unrest, wars, economic uncertainty, threats to our health and well-being not to mention all the things just in our personal lives.
Many of us don’t feel as safe anymore looking at what is going on in the world around us. Looking at the future causes fear and uncertainty. There is a sense of powerlessness.
Lately just around where I live, mother nature has been threatening and destructive with flooding, washouts, and windstorms causing damage, injury, and death.
It is no wonder that we feel as if we have no control over our life. It’s easy to feel powerless and even hopeless at times.
How can you gain your power and balance back and not get carried away and feel subjected to the chaos around you? How can you maintain a sense of positive power?
This third blog in this series of four is about how to feel less powerless in an uncertain, hectic world.
In the first and second blog of this series I talked about what’s eating away at your confidence and how to deal with life’s challenges. All of that has a lot to do with empowering yourself as well. Click the links to read these blog posts.
In this blog post I go deeper into the feeling of lack of power or control:
With all the emotional upheaval going on these days a lot of feelings get stirred up. Those feelings are connected to what you think about. Any thought you have will trigger some kind of feeling, positive, neutral or negative.
People are always telling stories in their head. A story is a series of thoughts triggered by what you experience. When you don’t like what you experience it feels uneasy, uncomfortable, or fearful, and a pattern of thinking starts up.
These thoughts create a story matching the experience. Your clever mind will find other experiences matching this story and before you know it you are watching a thriller in your head, where the worst case scenarios play out and you are the victim of the disasters.
Our primal (autonomic) nervous system will always react the same way to danger. Your brain does not know the difference between a real danger or just you thinking about it. Whether there is a bear chasing you, or you are thinking about how your life is going to fall apart when your partner leaves you, your nervous system reacts the same, with a stress response: fight, flight or freeze.
You can feel that in your body. In fact, I bet you can feel something right now when you think of that thing you have been dreading.
In our society most people are used to processing things with their mind on an intellectual level. They tend to over-analyze every action, experience, or feeling which can paralyze them into inaction.
When there is so much going on that triggers a lot of feeling, we don’t want to feel it, it’s too scary and uncomfortable. We are afraid it will knock us of our feet. Like opening Pandora’s box. We are afraid it may completely swallow us.
We prefer using our intellect, thinking, avoiding how it feels in our body and making it into a mental experience: the story.
This is how all the drama is created and where fear mongering comes from. We can’t deal with things on an emotional level, so we escape the feeling and create the story. Here is also were our excuses and arguments are born. We can justify just about anything and believe our own little lies.
More often than not, our own story depicts us as powerless and we don’t matter. Which just isn’t true. Unfortunately people tend to buy into this story about themselves. This keeps them stuck in the victim role and they get better and better at arguing for their limitations, without really knowing that this is what they are doing.
It could be as simple as having failed to live up to expectations when you were little. Your dad made a remark, 'honey, your drawing doesn't look anything like a horse', and you think you can't draw. You love painting but you believe the story you can't. Your choices and decisions are based on this story, and when someone invites you to a painting party you decline and argue why you can't paint and how this is not for you.
We all do this at some level.
We believe the story we tell ourselves and possibly miss out on the good stuff, the fun things in life!
People are feeling really vulnerable right now and they allow this vulnerability to keep themselves small. They believe they are powerless and it’s just safer to not be seen or heard. They become a servant of their circumstances, instead of an intentional creator of new experiences.
But just like feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, feeling powerless is a MISPERCEPTION too!
Our world is suffering from a global disease: Dis-empowerment.
We are all personally responsible for curing it, but when the common believe is that we are powerless and it isn’t our responsibility, there can’t be any personal accountability.
When the enormous amount of emotional reactions we have to deal with on a daily basis are met with very low personal accountability, a world like we have today is created.
It's a vicious cycle
If every human being would take personal responsibility and hold themselves accountable for being and doing their very best, and looking after themselves and their own community the best they can, the world would be a better place!
“Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
During my career as a Physiotherapist I have seen many patients with all kinds of injuries and problems.
I loved my profession.
I was good at what I did.
I have always really cared about the well-being of others.
I was confident of my skills and knowledge.
I believe everyone has the potential to improve or get better. Everyone.
I know the body has an extremely powerful self-healing capacity and I know all of our cells are constantly replaced by new, potentially healthy ones.
In the very beginning of my career I struggled with my confidence.
Attributing lack of my patient’s recovery to a lack of my skills, I felt I failed my patient.
But over time, as my competence and confidence grew, I realized that the progress of my patients was never my responsibility. It was theirs.
Sure, my responsibility was to keep learning and training to update and upgrade my skills and implement new science and techniques into my practice. And always giving my best.
I have always loved educating and coaching people, empowering them with knowledge and know-how, cheering them on to better, healthier habits. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
As the years went by, I wondered what it was about my patients that did so well, so fast. They were the ones that didn’t need to come back for more therapy.
One of the things they had in common was that they held themselves personally accountable for their well-being. They decided to take action. They took what they learned and implemented it into their lives. Even if they couldn’t be cured, they did better because they were able to manage their health much better.
Taking responsibility and personal accountability are important aspects of self-empowerment.
Nobody can feel empowered unless they have responsibility. Responsibility is something we need to be given and it needs to be taken.
Somehow we’ve been conditioned into believing that health is in the hands of the doctor, pharmaceuticals, or the government. The responsibility was taken over and we have gladly put our health in the hands of so called experts. Now it is hard to take back this responsibility, it is discouraged by our medical system and pharmaceuticals rule the science behind medicine.
When a person wants to heal the natural way, it triggers a lot of judgements from both the medical professionals as well as the public. Where is our autonomy? Our common sense? If we continue to make others responsible for our health, we will never get well.
Who is responsible for the well-being of our earth? Our government? Does it help that we keep blaming and making others responsible when we don’t even claim our individual responsibility to keep our home, our neighbourhood, and our community clean, safe, and peaceful? When we value convenience more than morals? When we don’t think for ourselves and refrain from being skeptical about what we are told by the media, science and politicians?
Laws and regulations are put in place to govern a clean peaceful community, which takes away our own personal responsibility.
How is it we can’t do the right thing for the right reasons anymore? Why do we even need to be told what to do, or not to do? What happened to personal accountability, common sense and common practice?
If we would all mind our own business, and keep our own life clean and peaceful, keep our actions congruent with our values and stay critical of our own behaviour, the world would be a different place. If we would stop blindly following others because it is convenient, and listen to our conscience and keep it clear, we would be happier and healthier.
Why is it relationships don’t last any more? Marriage vows seemed to have become meaningless. People don’t take responsibility for their own well-being and happiness and for being a positive contributor to the relationship.
Having a partnership doesn’t mean that the other is now responsible for how you feel. You are responsible for how you feel. Even if your partner is having a bad day. Your part is to bring your best, your love, and your care to the relationship, be the best you and see the best in your partner. You have to care enough to know that your feeling good depends on YOU, not your partner. When both partners bring their best, see the best in each other and look after their own well-being, they both take responsibility for the relationship and themselves. Nobody can blame anybody else for something gone wrong. Of course, non-judgmental communication with love and respect is KEY.
More and more people are depressed, chronically ill, and unhappy. What they have in common is they feel victimized and dis-empowered. Responsibility was taken away from them and now it is hard to take it back. Feeling overwhelmed by life’s adversities, fears, worries, they seem stuck in a place they don’t want to be but don’t know how to get out of. As long as they keep blaming their circumstances for how they feel, they will stay stuck.
Why is it we see so many people that just don’t care anymore, they just can’t anymore? They become complacent, bitter, or just get by in survival mode, going through the motions.
They avoid challenges, they avoid painful emotions and are in constant search of something that will fill up the void they feel. Waiting for something that will make them feel better. Waiting for someone who tells them they can make them feel better. Why do you think some politicians can get so many votes? They know how to speak to those that don’t know they are responsible or they don’t want to take responsibility.
We are all personally responsible to challenge ourselves, to feel our feelings and own them, and to open up to positive feelings as well. Do the right thing, for the right reason. Don’t wait for something or someone to come along. You need to be the one doing something, change your habits of thinking and doing, in order to change your life.
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