Power is part of our DNA, part of who we are. Power (and passion) are therefore woven into our life's purpose; they are part of why we are on the planet. Without power, life is a humdrum experience that lacks meaning or real engagement. When we lose our sense of power, we feel deficient and invisible. What results is anger. Sometimes our anger is overt, leading to violence, abuse or aggression. On other occasions it is silent, leading to sadness or depression.
On a macro level, we only have to watch or read the news to witness the degree of violence present in much of the world, a result of so many people feeling victimized, helpless and powerless.
But what about you? First and foremost, anger is a reaction to loss of love. It also arises when we feel powerless, unable to control others either verbally, emotionally or psychologically. What we need to understand here is that now we're not talking about "power", but "force." What's the difference?
Power vs. force
Force is a "faux" power we resort to when we feel deficient and want to feel powerful. It is false because force is actually a weakness that leaks out as aggression and dominance.
Real power – a soul quality – is actually the energy that accompanies self-confidence, self-worth, self-awareness, authenticity, equanimity and gentleness. Power is supportive, not defensive. Power comes from an inner "knowing", an inner drive and inner authority. Power is the soul's "right action".
Powerlessness and its resulting anger come not from the heart, but from a fear-based mental and emotional sense of not being in control, or feeling victimized or trapped by your life or environment or lack of opportunity, be it at work or at home.
Anger also arises when you feel unable to express yourself , either because you lack the ability to communicate, or feel unheard and misunderstood, circumstances that quickly lead to feelings of frustration and low self-esteem.
Finally, anger arises when you feel you lack a capacity to "do" or "be". This might be because of a physical or mental disability, career problems or financial hardship. When you feel "limited", anger and frustration often result. Anger arises, too, when you cannot fulfill your dreams or visions.
The antidote to anger
First, on a practical level, it's helpful to explore the reverse side of frustration. Powerlessness is sending you a message to look beyond where you are now. So ask yourself what you need to do, be and have to reduce or eliminate your frustration. What knowledge, skills or abilities do you lack? What would empower you to feel capable and powerful? Are there new or different directions or interests you might pursue that would give you a sense of purpose and power? Can you challenge yourself to explore the unknown and break the boundaries of your life?
- Where are you on the power-force continuum?
- Would your colleagues and friends say you are forceful and aggressive?
- Are you a "control-freak?" Do you move to anger quickly when you feel you're not in control?
- Do you ever reflect on your forceful or aggressive thoughts, words or actions? If so, what do you see about yourself? Any patterns?
- Are there people in your life you can empower? How can you do that?
- Do you feel stuck, powerless or frustrated? What talents, skills or abilities might enable you to forward the action of your life?
- Think of someone you can empower and decide how you will do that.
- Can you take some time to reflect on your life purpose or how you can contribute to life?
- What was being around anger and force like for you and your family as you were growing up?
Second, on a spiritual level, powerlessness is an opportunity to explore within, to touch the true source of Power where your real empowerment resides. Often, this "inner" will point you to the "outer", telling you that real power is about serving the needs of others.
This doesn't necessarily mean that "power" means "volunteering" (though it might), but more that a sense of authenticity, self-confidence, fulfilment and meaning comes from making a conscious choice to support others.
Personal power and the soul
True personal power is the result of passion and purpose that is heart-driven, not ego-mind driven. Personal power results from empowering others, not yourself. As Deepak Chopra said, "Seventy-five percent of what a person does, they do for their self – and there isn't one."
If we understand this, we can discern the difference between the love and gentleness of power and the ugliness and harshness of force.
So, power begins with me, my True, Authentic Self. It begins with identifying and making healthy choices to change and grow in life and allowing the ripples from this growth to move out and affect others.