Power stealing is often disguised as caring, or constructive advice. Here are a few common power stealing techniques.
Devaluing your opinion or feelings, deflecting questions or facts, labelling, dismissing legitimate concerns, comparing, bragging, changing the actual facts and putting words in your mouth, speaking in a condescending tone, unwillingness to take their part, not acknowledging accomplishments or progress.
On any given day, under any given set of circumstances, the balance of how we feel about ourselves, that precarious never-ending journey of self actualization, can be tipped. Are we relevant, are we doing enough, are we contributing? The universe tests us, challenges us to gain more layers and strength. In these times we can feel our most vulnerable, questioning our purpose and whether we are fulfilling it. Our power (confidence, self-esteem, purpose) can be shaken, taken and shifted.
Everyone has the ability to steal power, people steal power most the time quite unknowingly. It’s a never-ending dance of unspoken words, often misconceptions. It is also two sided, they have to steal the power and you have to let them.
Its that moment where someone questions themselves, perhaps a job they have done, if it was completed correctly, if they fulfilled their side, it could be a decision they made. Perhaps they have a guilty conscience from the past they are trying to quiet. It is easier to take feelings of unease and shift the momentum and responsibility onto the other person, then to pull back the layers and look into why we are trying to take a little air out from underneath the others persons wings. Often times they aren’t even trying to make the other person feel bad, often its not even something they could put into words. Its quite likely their own insecurities coming out into the light and in order to maintain the balance in their world, they shift yours by stealing your power. People steal power from one another, usually because of some hidden agenda within their world, yet its shifted to you and you carry it unwillingly over to yours. Large amounts of time can be spent thinking about why someone would steal our power. What did they really mean, or what were they thinking, why is that their opinion, and are they judging me?
People steal power, not because of you or something you are lacking. People steal power because of something within them, that they are feeling, or they lack. Maybe they feel guilt because they couldn’t help you. Maybe they are frustrated that they couldn’t get you to preform the way they needed you to. For whatever reason, someone chooses to steal your power, I can guarantee you, they did it because of something they perceive themselves lacking, and you let them do it because of the perception you have at the time of yourself and something you are lacking.
A clear indication that someone has stolen your power in the moment, is when you walk away feeling a little fuzzy headed, as your thoughts swirl and start to collect, you start to say things like. Next time I am going to speak up, next time I would ask them this, next time I would make things clearer. When your power is stolen and you don’t speak up to clarify your thoughts, we walk away and feeling unbalanced. They didn’t see it for what is was, why didn’t I speak up? That is not the way things are at all, why do I let people make me feel this way? Why do I let them do that to me, it feels like they are judging me, it feels like they think they are better than me, it feels like they don’t take the time to see all of the work I have done, they just want to look at what they think is the right opinion because its their opinion, they disregarded my perspective all together.
The best way to deal with power stealing, is speaking up the moment it takes place. It is harder to go back and recreate the situation, then it is to practice recognizing that fuzzy feeling of unbalance and taking the time to work through it right on the spot.
If you take time to trace back different times you have had your power stolen from you, it is quite likely the situation is similar each time. People will continue to steal your power in that moment, until you do the work to clearly define your values and live as close to them as possible. By this I mean, not letting others compromise how you see or represent yourself. Taking back your power doesn’t mean you have to be bitchy, or aggressive, and being vocal and assertive, does not make you bitchy or aggressive. Don’t let others push their insecurities, values or truths onto you. Live closer to your authentic life and you live your best life.