Sometimes, tapping into our real power begins with being stripped down to our core. When we lose the external props that used to hold up a false sense of self-worth, we may eventually find an inner strength we never knew existed. When unsustainable habits and shaky foundations of control crumble, we may find a more solid footing in deeper values to build from.
Power can be defined in many ways and seen from different perspectives. For some, power means control – control over others, one’s environment, and getting what you want, when you want it. The means of acquiring such control are often external – through more money, possessions, status symbols, sexual access, resources, weapons, empires…. From this perspective, having power may mean being the ‘top dog’, competing and winning (often at the expense of others).
Such a polarized view of power (‘I win, so you lose’) can be very short-sighted. Seeking immediate gains at the expense of long-term effects can blind us to the reality that such a power-game harms all of us, including those who perpetuate it, because it depletes the very source one is dependent on. Systems of control and oppressive cultural institutions ultimately exploit all people (the ‘dominators’ and the ‘dominated’) as they reinforce a survival mindset of lack to either submit to or overcome with force and manipulation.
10. POWER ~ Abuse & Authority
Essay by Katarzyna Vedah. May 1, 2019
But seeking control can also be about feeling helpless, and seeking power outside of ourselves can be a result of feeling that we have none within.
When we want power over someone or something, there may really be a part of us that feels empty or out of control. Taking resources, winning status and position, and dictating circumstances can make us feel more secure. Making others dependent on us, devaluing or dehumanizing them can make us feel more superior and valuable. But it’s never quite enough because we are never really ‘full’.
On the other end of the scale, we may seek strong and capable others to take the lead in our lives and relinquish our power and responsibility to those who have what we feel we lack. We may not have healthy boundaries to assert our value because on some level, we do not recognize it in ourselves. Rather, it is all too easy to project that value onto others and then find ourselves dependent on them for it, seeking their favor and approval.
All of us are capable of veering off in either extreme, with different people and in various circumstances. We all live on the spectrum of power, capable of becoming the perpetrator or the victim depending on the context. A balance of power can mean being responsible with its use, neither going too far out, (taking others’ self-authority away) nor too far in, (abdicating self-authority to others).
From this perspective, power is Choice. It is having respect for our own self-authority (as well as that of others), acknowledging our responsibility for its stewardship, and accepting the consequences for its use.
But power must be used ~ not denied, repressed or inflated ~ and how we use power is a choice each of us make every day.
“Just because you’re winning a game doesn’t mean it’s a good game.”
- Seth Godin. The Icarus Deception
VIDEO (YouTube): Blank on Blank
VIDEO (YouTube): Academy of Ideas
VIDEO (YouTube): TED Talk
DOCUMENTARY (YouTube): Trailer
RBG (West & Cohen)
The Corporation (Achbar, Abbott, Bakan)
CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS TO ENGAGE THE CAPACITY TO FEEL
VIDEO (YouTube): Mighty Mayhem
HUMOR / VIDEO (YouTube):
Right to Hold This Turd (College Humor)
Private Prisons (Adam Ruins Everything)
MUSIC / VIDEO (YouTube):
HEALTHY MENTAL OUTLOOK & PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT
EYES WIDE OPEN:
CONTROL & COMPASSION
PRACTICAL REINFORCEMENT FOR SELF-CARE & DAY-TO-DAY LIVING
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Dealing with a Toxic Person (Bright Side)
Toxic Relationship (Dr. Tracey Marks)
The Victim Mindset (Dr. Tracey Marks)
Rethinking Narcissism (Brian Johnson)
Real Narcissists: Warnings (Dr. Malkin)
Stop Manipulative Relationships (PESI Inc)
WEBSITE: 'Take the Narcissism Test'
BOOK: Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist. By Margalis Fjelstad
VIDEO (YouTube): The Little Shaman
EXPANDING PERSPECTIVES, AWARENESS & CONSCIOUSNESS
SOUL MURDER &
STATES OF POWER
Rethinking Civilization (Crash Course)
Those in Power - Alan Watts (AMP3083)
War Comes Home (California Humanities)
What It's Like to Go to War (Moyers & Co)
VIDEO (YouTube): TRIGGER WARNING!
Disturbing topics of rape, torture & murder:
Life As A “Comfort Woman” (Asian Boss)
Holocaust Twin Experiments (Buzz Feed)
Man who Witnessed Executions (BBC 3)
VIDEO (YouTube): TED Talk
Treating Childhood Trauma – Liz Mullinar
BOOK: Trauma & Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. By Judith Herman.