Don’t Give It So Much Power

Are you a survivor or a victim? Do you fall prey to the things that happen to you or do you put them in perspective and ask what you can learn from the unfortunate circumstance? Do you often feel devastated by the cards that are dealt to you, or do you gather your bearings and ask yourself, ‘what do I need to do to recover from this’?

Life has lots of challenges. We live in a world that offers both good and bad. Many times the unfortunate things have occurred have nothing to do with your behavior…they just are. Cancer, traffic accidents, space shuttle disasters, terrorism, physical disability are all occurrences that happen through no fault of your own.

Personal situations like divorce, abuse, downsizing, a spouse’s addiction may not be in any way a result of your behavior. Yet, those types of life circumstances require the use of the life skill—reframing.

Reframing is the ability to look at life’s situations and glean what can be learned from them. Where is the growth in the situation? A person who uses reframing does not fall victim to life’s circumstances—they grow stronger.

I frequently ask clients to practice the life skill of reframing by teaching them an empowering statement to keep things “in perspective”. I ask them to memorize the phrase, ‘No one or nothing deserves that much power’. They must use the phrase anytime they feel overwhelmed with life’s circumstances. This applies to situations that fall both inside and outside of their control.
• If your ex-husband or wife is power struggling with you about the kids and you are giving it too much mental energy…tell yourself, ‘my ex does not deserve all this power’. Remind yourself that only you can give your ex all that power. You may not be able to control whether they take you back to court, but you can control how much time you think about it.
• You feel overwhelmed by the Columbia shuttle disaster and are starting to question if anything is safe in this world. I would ask you to say to yourself, ‘I won’t give this event so much power that it colors my vision of the world’. This is not meant to be trite, but accidents happen, and those brave astronauts lived life to the fullest. The gains were worth the risks to them.
• Your adult child is mad at you because you wouldn’t loan him money to pay January’s bills. You feel guilty and wonder if you’re doing the right thing. Your head knows that you must stand by your convictions, but your heart questions whether you should give in—just one more time. Don’t give your child that much power. Take back your confidence and do the right thing. You own the power, now have the confidence to live with it. Be thankful that you have the strength and wisdom to do the right thing. If people are so mad at you…so be it. Possessing a strong backbone isn’t going to make you popular, but if you know in your heart that it is what someone needs, take back your power and feel good about your decisions.

The next time you’re arguing about a situation, tell yourself, ‘I won’t give it all that power’. If you use that reframing tool, you will be mentally healthier, have a better sense of control, and you will join the group of people who choose to look at life through empowered eyes instead of through the eyes of the victim.

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