On a daily basis I find myself surrounded by two kinds of people: powerful and powerless. And until I started reading 'Keep Your Love On' by Danny Silk, I had no idea how these two tendencies wove themselves into my daily life.
Powerful people consciously and deliberately create an environment around them in which they want to live. They don't try to get people to respect them; they create a respectful environment by showing respect. They take responsibility for their choices. They choose who they want to be with, what they are going to pursue, and how they are going to go after it. The only people that can get close to them are those who know how to show respect, be responsible, and love well.
A powerless person is someone who blames their messes on someone else. The reason their life is the way that it is has nothing to do with them. They need other people to protect them, make them happy, and take responsibility for their lives. At the end of the day, they are a victim to the world around them.
I read the details of each of these types of people, and can clearly point to times in my life where I've been one or the other. Where I've depended on other people for my happiness, or where I've only felt included and significant in a relationship if I was in control. A lot of that powerlessness was rooted in deep unhappiness, but it was unhappiness that I did not want to take responsibility for. I didn't want to face it or figure out why I was unhappy. I just was. And it wasn't my fault. So those around me just needed to understand and find ways to keep me happy. Looking back, I know that me feeling powerless created a strong anxiety-filled and controlling environment around me. Not an environment that people were drawn into and wanted to be a part of. In fact, in my attempts to enlist other's support around me, I was actually creating the opposite effect and pushing people away.
But as I've gotten healthier over the last year or two, I've started seeing that only we can change our own lives. If we are unhappy, we don't actually have to stay unhappy. We can make changes. We can adjust our surroundings, our hobbies, the books we read, the people we spend time with. You are never stuck. If someone confronts you with something, why not take a step back and really think about it before assuming that they don't know what they're talking about. Me getting healthier stemmed from more than one person bringing things to my attention that hurt my feelings or made me feel inadequate. But those were things that pushed me to want to start trying and to make an effort to do better. Because until we know we are actively doing something about it, we will refuse to take responsibility, and assume that our insecurity and inadequacy is someone else's fault. Which perpetuates the cycle of powerlessness.
Being intentional with ourselves and our confidence actually invites people in. And it invites people in for the right reasons, and for the right type of relationship. Not one that has an element of control or manipulation or fear, but one that is strong because two powerful people who know who they are are coming together to be vulnerable, honest about their feelings, steadfast in their love, and loyal to the other. Those are the types of relationships that are the most authentic and satisfying, and also life-changing.