What makes the difference between our ability to choose an apple over a Twix bar when we want to lose weight?
Why is it that even though we know that some of our habits are dangerous for our well-being, yet we can’t give them up? Why can’t we break through our old relationship patterns when we know we lose out every time?
There is one key to change that does not get discussed nearly often enough and that is Personal Power. Also known as “Personal Energy”, it is the fuel we need to show up to life in our whole glory. We need the right amount of personal power to make choices that lead to a healthy, happy, joyful and purpose-driven life.
When the balance in our personal power account increases, it becomes easier to make important decisions, drop addictions, break up with a cheating partner we’ve been putting up with and make other changes to create the life we want.
When we’re operating on a high amount of personal power, the quality of our life goes from being a Commodore 64 to a MacBook. Without enough personal power, we are like a brand new Porsche who can’t make it to the grocery store five miles away because there isn’t enough fuel in it.
Below are 10 ideas to help you increase the amount of personal power you have to improve your satisfaction in different areas of your life. You might find that attending to one that seems easier (such as #1) will increase your personal power enough to tackle a more challenging one (such as #5).
So don’t get overwhelmed, just take a small step. Know that this is a list I need to refer to occasionally because things slip through the cracks.
Here we go!
1. Eliminate one expense out of your life you know you don’t really need
Some examples are: A gym membership that you pay but haven’t used in over six months (or start going!), the high calorie Starbucks drink that you spend $6 on every day, or buying one more pair of sandals to add to the other six pairs you already have just because they were on sale.
You know what it is. Whether it is a $20 or a $200 a month expense, it is still a leak in your life. Plug the drain. Save the money that you free up towards something you want (a trip) or spend it on something that actually adds to your life.
2. Practice getting over your ego and letting the other person be right
Your ego may be pissed but your heart will thank you for it. It is an act of self-love that increases personal power because you behave in the direction that can help bring you what you want: intimacy and harmony in your relationships.
Our need to be right stems from an unconscious (and rather innocent) attachment to the ego identity we know ourselves to be. When that feels threatened, we get defensive and close our heart to the other person’s needs or perspective. This is a challenge for a lot of us.
Once your personal power numbers start going up, putting your ego aside and choosing peace and love over the ego satisfaction of being right becomes so much easier. This, I believe, alone is a recipe for eternal happiness.
3. Make amends with someone you have unintentionally hurt and haven’t forgiven yourself for
Call them, show up at their door, or write a letter that you don’t intend to send. It’s time to let go of that dead weight! Express your guilt and what you have learned and forgive yourself.
The benefit of this is twofold:
a) Releasing the guilt frees up that energy to be used creatively in your life.
b) Admitting to your wrongs and taking the step to release the energy of resentment will prevent you from attracting similar situations (sometimes with roles reversed) into your life so you can learn the lesson through the back door.
4. Write a letter of appreciation and gratitude to someone you respect and love
Be bold, be enthusiastic, be genuine. Think of this letter as a container for how you see and appreciate this person and their positive impact on your life. It is an act that increases personal power because what we honor in others, we activate and appreciate within ourselves.
We give ourselves permission by raising a glass to their wonderful qualities and traits that light up our world. Since our soul knows that we are all one, showering someone else with genuine compliments and appreciation will have the same effect as giving it to yourself.
5. Move on from a job that sucks the life out of you
You may be rolling your eyes but you know it and I know it. It is a drag to get up. You use up so much life energy to get through the day to do it all over again the next day. You could be using that energy to create an exciting future, rather than just to maintain the status quo.
Give yourself the gift of a peaceful, joyful and satisfactory work environment where your contribution is verbally and financially rewarded. Love yourself enough to create a better option for yourself.
6. Practice giving what you need to other people
For example, if you recognize that you tend to fish for compliments regarding your physical appearance, and need that affirmation, practice giving compliments to other people. Make sure they are genuine. Think of it as your positive thoughts finding physical form through your words and voice.
Appreciate kindness, beauty, creativity, punctuality, honesty, sense of humor and generosity in people. And verbally express it. You will be appreciating and strengthening these very things in yourself.
7. Invite your inner child into your adult life
Do you remember what gave you immense joy when you were a kid? Even if you had a horrible childhood, there were activities that gave you comfort. Find out what it is and make time to allow yourself to do that.
To give a personal example, when I was a little girl, I liked pretending to be the chef when we were playing house with other neighborhood girls. I would pretend that I was a mom cooking food for six kids and that I had to go and gather supplies for my big dinner.
Now I do the adult version of that, which I call experimental cooking. Basically, I let myself play in the kitchen, make a mess and experiment with different spices, vegetables and made up recipes. Once in a while, I come up with a dish that everybody loves and I get a kick out of it.
The point is to bring that curious child out and let him/her play.
8. Quit trying to change that one thing about you that you deem unlovable
You aren’t perfect and will never be. If you have a quirk, a habit or a personality trait that you can’t seem to eliminate, now is the time to accept it. Trying to fix or eliminate something in ourselves is no different than being at war with a part of us.
The only way to change something is by giving it room to breathe by accepting it. Maybe you bite your nails, maybe you cut people off when they are talking, maybe you are a jealous lover, maybe you’re always running late. Fine! Just accept its presence.
That trait or habit doesn’t take away from the whole of who you are.
9. Practice voicing your needs and boundaries
This does not mean that we walk around yelling at people for not meeting our needs or going into a rage in blocked up traffic. It just means, if the neighbor keeps leaving his gate open and his dog does his business in your yard every day, talk to your neighbor about it.
If you do it with the intention of healing a relationship in your life and loving yourself by speaking up for yourself rather than just venting or for revenge, the benefits will be immediate.
10. Commit to giving yourself one compliment a day
Such as, “I love my hair,” “I love how I make people feel at ease,” “I am a good kisser,” etc.
Can’t do them all? Great! Pick one that tugs at your heart and do it. Allow yourself to experience small victories and watch them add up enough to catapult you into the life that you desire and deserve.