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8 Signs You Are Giving Your Power Away

Updated: Sep 13, 2022


Not that long ago I got a little slap in the face - the kind that wakes you up and shows you one of those deep truths that you wouldn’t have reached without some kind of trigger. It was during a session with a psychic (don’t laugh, if you’re not into psychics just roll with me and imagine that what I’m about to share was said by a close friend). We were discussing the significance of a particular romantic experience of mine, and I just had to ask, “was it as significant to him as it was to me?” As if she could even tell me that! HA!

But, I want you to listen to her answer carefully and apply it to your life wherever you may be needing this same message.

She said to me “I’m not going to give you the answer you are hoping for. But I’m going to ask you this. Why on earth would you give your authority away? It was REAL for you, so keep that. Keep what was real and beautiful and don’t let how someone else feels take that away from you. When you let him decide whether it was significant or not, you show up as less loveable.”

There are so many ways we unconsciously give our power away, whether that’s in a relationship, work environment, or simply scrolling through our Facebook feed. I’m not talking about power such as dominating over others. I’m talking about the power to be yourself and to trust that your feelings are real, your voice matters, you have a choice, and your gut and intuition were right.

Below are 7 ways you might be unconsciously giving your power away, and here’s a quick yoga practice to take that power back:

1. You let other people dictate how you feel

Do you get this one as often as I do? “You’re being so dramatic!” And then you immediately begin to question whether you are overreacting or start telling yourself you shouldn’t really be feeling that way. Don’t get me wrong, managing your reactions to people or situations that trigger intense emotion in you is an important life skill. However, when you let someone else dictate whether your emotion was valid or not, you are giving up an important part of who you are. One of the ways we can learn to validate our feelings is to take the time to get to know them and try not to attach statements like the one above to it. Your feeling was neither too much nor too little, it was simply what showed up in that instance as a result of whatever unique combination of life experiences you’ve been through that lead to that very moment.

2. You apologize when you didn’t do anything wrong and you give in to guilt trips

You know you didn’t do anything wrong. You acted out of the best knowledge you had at that moment, and yet you gave in when someone tugged at your heartstrings. You said you’re sorry or you committed to doing something you don’t believe in or didn’t want to do so that the other person didn’t feel bad.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to help someone feel less bad, and practicing empathy is certainly an honorable path. However, you are not doing anyone favors by taking responsibility for their feelings or actions. In fact, you are robbing them of owning their feelings which is exactly what I mentioned in my first point above. You can be empathetic and validate their emotions by letting them know you understand that whatever they are going through is difficult for them, and then keep your sorry to yourself.

3. You Can’t Say No

This leads me to one of the most difficult words for us to say. The word NO. How many times have you said yes to something that you knew was not aligned with your values, desires, or mission? For some reason, we tend to think that saying no is the worst thing we can say to someone. However, whenever we say yes to something, we are saying no to something else. When you agree to take on that extra work project that you’ll be spending the weekend doing, you are saying no to spending time with your family, taking care of your body or whatever else is important in your life. Is that really what you want? In my experience, the best way to feel less bad about saying no is to get very clear on your priorities and ask yourself if whatever you are saying yes to is worth giving up those priorities? If you are looking for clarity on what is most important to you I highly recommend that you read the book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” by Greg McKeown.

4. You tell yourself you have no choice

This one goes along with saying no. You ALWAYS have a choice. True, sometimes you have to make difficult choices. Does either presidential candidate seem appealing to you? No! Sometimes it’s just about choosing a lesser evil. But you do have a choice. Pay close attention the next time you tell yourself you can’t do something because of X reason. Very often it is again a matter of priorities. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking a leap of faith. Sometimes it’s shifting your perspective or getting out of your comfort zone. No one but you gets to decide what you do with your time and energy so get in the driver’s seat and choose where you want to go!

5. Too many things you do feel like an obligation

So now it’s time to mention all those things and people you feel obligated to. If obligation is weighing heavy on you, you may want to ask yourself where you fit into your obligations. Helping others is very admirable, but what personal price are you paying to do so? It’s actually healthy, and not at all selfish to have a limit to what you are willing to do for others. Self-sacrifice should come from the heart and lift you up too. If it doesn’t, you haven’t taken care of your needs. How many times have you been on a flight and watched that safety video where they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first and then help your child? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

6. You tell yourself you’re too busy for self-care