Today I want to focus on “Letting Go of Powerlessness” – another letting go practice for Guidepost #3. In the book Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brené Brown writes, “Powerlessness is dangerous. For most of us, the inability to effect change is a desperate feeling. We need resilience and hope and a spirit that can carry us through the doubt and fear. We need to believe that we can effect change if we want to live and love with our whole hearts.” I love how she says, “We need to believe that we can effect change.” As I have worked so mindfully on these Guideposts the last 5 years – I have realized even more how important it is to me to feel like I can effect change in my world and in the larger world around me.
The biggest sign for me that I am buying into powerlessness is when I hear my thoughts say, “I can’t. . . ” It generally comes when I am feeling vulnerable, lost, afraid and when I don’t see a way to move forward on a goal or when I don’t see a way to change something that is painful. I will hear my inner powerless, scared part say, “I can’t do this.” And when I listen to that part, I feel hopeless, scared, disconnected and small. I have started trying to notice when the “I can’t” voice arises and I now try to recognize it and remind myself that I must be feeling scared right now and not able to see options. For me the “I can’t” voice arises more often when I am tired or overwhelmed. So often I go to bed for the night and remind myself that there is likely a way I can effect change but I just can’t see it right now.
Here are some practices I have found to let go of powerlessness and step into hope and my resilient spirit:
- Sleep on it and see if the problem looks more solvable in the morning
- Brainstorm other ways to reach my goal
- Talk to others and ask them for ideas on ways I can effect change in an area that I am feeling powerlessness
- Read about others effecting change
- Break down my goals into smaller action steps
- Remind myself of past ways that I have been able to change something, even when I couldn’t see how it would work out at first
Weekly Action Plan:
Make a list of signs that you are buying into powerlessness. Make a list of triggers that cause you to believe that you are powerless. Then try something different this week and see if you can find a practice that helps you cultivate hope again and that helps you step back into your power to effect change.