You have power. You, right now, reading this. You have allllll kinds of power. You’re a goddamn Power Ranger.
I know, I know. It doesn’t feel that way. At least, a lot of the time, it doesn’t. It’s true, though.
Mind you, you don’t have unlimited power. You probably don’t have all the power you’d prefer to have, I’m guessing. You might not have the kind of power that you’d prefer to have. You may not even be aware of what, exactly, it means for you to have power.
But make no mistake: you are powerful.
What is power, in the context I’m using the word here? Simply put: power is the ability to make something happen, or prevent things from happening. The ability to move, or to cease motion.
Pretty broad, I know. But think about it: when you think of the kinds of power you want, when you think of the circumstances you’d like to create for your life, when you think of the things you’d like to bring into or eject from your life, what do all of those fantasies and wishes and preferences have in common? They all involve putting you in the driver’s seat. They involve you being more powerful, somehow, than you are right now.
Or, should I say, more powerful than you FEEL right now.
See, the thing is, we get brainwashed. Our culture isn’t great at helping us become more aware of our power. Of our ability to make things happen, or keep things from happening. Our culture is full of people who would prefer that you forget you are powerful, just as you are. They know that empowered people, don’t feel the compulsive need to reach outside of themselves for fulfillment, and, well, that fucks up the agendas of politicians and advertisers and activists who would strongly prefer you feel as if you need whatever they’re selling in order to feel powerful.
Empowered people sometimes make choices that politicians and advertisers and activists don’t like– so they’d prefer you remain ignorant of your basic, inherent, irrevocable power.
The culture doesn’t want you ruminating on, exploring, accepting, your power. The culture wants you focused on your limitations.
Oh, yeah. You have limitations, too. Did I forget to mention that? Limitations are kind of important to discuss, too– because it’s only by accepting our limitations that we can effectively claim our power.
I’ll repeat that. It’s only by accepting our limitations that we can effectively claim our power.
Here’s what happens, kids. The aforementioned culture– politicians, advertisers, activists, whomever– has created a world in which you feel less than. You’re not inherently pretty enough. You’re not inherently strong enough. You’re not inherently smart enough. You need this product; this service; this license; this degree, in order to be adequate. They weave this Illusion of Inadequacy by getting you to focus on your limitations– and it works, because everybody knows we have limitations. It’s a natural, easily observed fact.
You’re limited. You’re limited because you’re not, probably, the smartest person you meet every day. You’re not the strongest person, the fittest person, the most attractive person. These are real limitations. They’re not made up. The culture didn’t invent these limitations of yours. They’re real.
What the culture has done, however, has created an environment in which you’ve been conditioned to believe that your limitations are the most important thing about you and your life. So much so that no matter how smart you are, how fit, how attractive, how strong, you’re being constantly assaulted with opportunities to get smarter (!), fitter (!), stronger (!), hotter (!). Don’t believe me? Ask the smartest, fittest, strongest person you know if they’re somehow excepted from the cultural pressure to get better via some external product. Nope.
You know what you can’t do if you’re fixated on what’s imperfect about you, your limitations? You can’t focus on your strengths. The more neural wattage you spend focused on the limitations, the less firepower there is to develop and nurture the power you do have. It’s a nifty trick the culture plays on us, really– the more powerful we are, the harder they try to talk us out of acknowledging and exercising that power.
But you know what you have the power to do, among other things? Accept your limitations, without fixating on them, like the culture wants you to do. If you matter-of-factly accept that you’re not whatever you’re not, suddenly the Illusion of Inadequacy is shattered– the culture doesn’t have that power over you any more.
And then you can start to have some fun. Because getting in touch with how powerful you really are, by making a conscious, committed, realistic decision to accept your limitations? Is, among other things, hella fun.
Choose your focus. F them for trying to make your limitations feel more important than your power.
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