Alice Walker once said that “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”, but in reality we do. Even if it appears to us that the amount of power we have is negligible. Our personal power can manifest in the way of support from a friend, researching every piece of information you can to make a situation better, or finding someone to help / support you.
It can be difficult, once you’ve fallen into a self-esteem trap, to see your own power. But as a community, what we can do is confront the framework that we use to look at ourselves and the way we look at others.
One issue that comes up in almost all of our workshops is personal comparisons. “Why does everything good happen to them?” “I’m not good enough” and “I’m not as good as she/he is, they’re more talented than me” are all standard examples of what we’re talking about.
The problem with personal comparisons is that they blind us from our personal good (i.e. the things that are good in our lives) and our own achievements. Our frame of reference becomes negative, we unwittingly give up our power and we stop seeing ourselves.
We give up our power by succumbing to a negative thought “I can’t do that, I’m not that clever / good-looking /fit”, in reality if your best friend turned around and told you that you could never achieve something because you weren’t smart or good-looking enough, then it would hurt. But when we do it to ourselves we accept it without thinking twice.
We’re taught to compare ourselves with others in the early stages of education. Some kids in class turn out to be good at everything, some kids have their speciality subjects, some kids feel like they are the lesser counterparts of their class peers, and some lose interest. A personal comparison cycle begins for every one of those groups, which puts distance between those individuals and their actual ability.
Don’t do that to yourself, every time you compare yourself to another person you are distancing yourself from your good. That is not fair.
The reality is that all of those children were (and are) capable of achievement. The reality is that you are, and always have been, capable of achievement.
The only way a comparison can define you is if you accept it.
We have the power to make things better for ourselves and for others. There are some fantastic projects, public speakers, authors and everyday people promoting self-love. We can start by openly discussing the frameworks that we use to look at ourselves and encouraging those closest to us to do the same. By doing this, we can establish new positive frameworks through which to see ourselves.