The other day during a discussion with a dear friend of mine we got talking about their sense of feeling very trapped at this time in their life. As the discussion unfolded I had a realization that much of what they were going through had to do with their personal power and their perception that it was gone. To me as an outsider in the story I could see that it wasn’t, but that didn’t make any difference because they couldn’t see it, so at that moment, for all intents and purposes they were trapped.

This got me to thinking about personal power, what is it and what part does it play in our lives? The phrase personal power is tossed around a lot in regards to having it, having it taken, getting it back and so on. But what is it?

What is Personal Power?
Is it confidence? Yes I think it is, when you are feeling your power you are feeling confident. Is it having choices? Yes I think it is, seeing that you have choices and the ability to make a choice reaffirms your power in a situation. Is it self-respect? Yes I think it is, because when you respect yourself you feel empowered about your ability to handle any situation. Is it the ability to act on our choices? Yes I think it is, making a choice and acting on it is a very specific act of personal power.

Can Personal Power really be all these things?
Yes it can. To me Personal Power is a mix of how we accept ourselves and how we act that out. If we see ourselves as trapped and powerless we will be, and remain, trapped and powerless in that situation. If we see ourselves as boxed in but with options, even ones we don’t like, we will step up to work through the situation. We will be empowered.

The movies have many extreme examples of this (check out Robert Benigni’s Life is Beautiful (1997) or Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), examples that clearly illustrate the idea that when we choose, even in a situation that seems to imprison us, we maintain our personal power and sense of self.

I want to look at this from a more personal perspective. Think of the person in the job they truly hate, they stay because they don’t think they have the skills for anything else or they don’t think there is another job option for them. Think of the person in the abusive relationship, they stay because they think the abuser will change or because they believe that no one else will want them and being alone is unthinkable. What about the person so afraid of their own success they have to rationalize every step of the way to prove it is viable, instead of just taking a chance? The everyday examples go on and on. They all come down to the individual rejecting the truth at hand because they are afraid of change, pain, being alone….they are afraid so they reject their ability to do anything about a situation and they chain themselves while telling themselves (and anyone who will listen and support their theory) that it is the situation or other people in it doing it to them.

It is fear that destroys our Personal Power and responsibility that fuels it.
When we are in a situation where all the options are just too painful we say we have no options and basically turn over responsibility to everyone else in the situation, the ones we see as having all the choices. By doing that, we invalidate ourselves and our ability to have a say in our lives, even if the ‘say’ is our own choice of finding joy in pure hell. So with that concept you can add responsibility to part of what makes up personal power – owning up to ones participation in one’s own life.

When we can’t think of another option, or face the options available because they are too painful and we are afraid we become powerless by our own hand, we chain our own power.

There is nothing to take back because it is never actually gone.
The reason it is called Personal Power is because it is…personal. It is ours. It never leaves us; never. We deny it or are afraid to use it so we chain it up. We have the ability at any time we chose to simply accept our power back into ourselves, to unchain ourselves. I think that is what terrifies people the most; it is far easier to say no I am helpless that it is to say I have the power to affect the world around me and take responsibility for that power. Because what if we screw up? I counter that with…what if you don’t? Seems to me a life lived in chains of fear of failing or hurting or finding happiness to have it snatched away…well it seems to me that is surviving not living.

What do they say in the comics?

With great power comes great responsibility. Are you ready to remove the chains of fear on your personal power and become responsible for your life? To become your own superhero?

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Martin is known as The Truth Revolutionary because she works with people to uncover their personal truth. Personal truth is a discovery which frees people to live up to their full potential and find new joy in their life and relationships. You can register for her Free Report “Fight Self-Deception, Dis-ease, Shame and Disillusionment: Become a Truth Revolutionary”, or sign up for a free consultation, read her blogs and find out more about Samantha at