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In this issue:

HSP Gathering Highlights

2004 West Coast Gathering

Our Rights to Personal Power

Defining Personal Power


About LifeWorks

HSP Gathering Info




A newsletter from Jacquelyn Strickland   |    May 2004 Vol. 1 Issue 2

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. 


Finally, 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.  




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