A newsletter from
Jacquelyn Strickland | May 2004 Vol. 1
Defining Personal Power
Personal power is not how
physically strong we feel, but the use of our knowledge, thoughts and
feelings to act in a manner to get our own needs met in a positive
way. A person’s self-esteem
and self-concept are directly related to whether one gets their needs met
in a positive way or negative way.
Stephen Bavolek, The Nurturing Family
From: Harriet Lerner, PH.D.
Author of The Dance of Anger,
The Dance of Intimacy
Personal Power is not about
giving ultimatums; being reactive, threatening; using last ditch efforts to
force someone to shape up, and it is not about giving mixed messages where
our words say one thing (“I can’t take this anymore”) but
our behavior says another (we continue to take it.)
Instead, personal power is
about declaring a ‘bottom line’ – this evolves from a
focus on one’s self, from a deeply felt awareness of our own needs
and limits of tolerance. We clarify
a bottom line, not primarily to change or control the other person
(although the wish may be there) but to preserve our own dignity, integrity,
self-esteem, welfare and well-being.
A parent might enforce limits and discipline in order to preserve
the dignity, integrity, self-esteem, welfare and well-being of family
members or the family unit.
It can feel scary to reach that
moment when we have really clarified our bottom line. However, as we become clearer about what
is acceptable and tolerable to us in our relationships, our partners and
family members will also become clearer about where they stand and what
they will and will not do.
As HSPs, we too, need to learn to set and communicate our
personal boundaries in order to preserve our own self-esteem, dignity,
welfare and well-being. For some of
us practice alone works well. For
others, it is important to seek out supportive environments in which to
“test” our perceptions in order to set a boundary.
once we have become clear on boundaries we realize are important to our
self esteem, the challenge then becomes sharing one’s thoughts,
feelings, and needs in an appropriate way to those around us. More on this in future issues.
subscribe unsubscribe this issue archive