Taking Back My Personal Power

ATC Mixed Media Collage by Jennifer Shipley

Urban Warrior Princess – ATC

I ran out of time to post a poem by Dana Faulds yesterday.  Her poem fit in with where my head was at the time, which was a good place, but today, sadly, my head is elsewhere, and it’s not pretty.  So, I’m going to just write to you from my heart in hopes that my head will find its way back there.


It’s not been a happy day.  Nobody died.  I did not lose a finger or an eye.  My house didn’t burn down.  The sun is out and it’s beautiful, so what’s the problem?  It’s really simple.  A favorite friend of mine decided this was going to be an unhappy day and did what a favorite friend can do to make sure that I shared in the suffering.  I am trying to choose something else, but frankly, I am pissed off and sad and hurt, and that is my current head space, and I don’t like it one bit.  I feel a loss of personal power.  I’m watching a camel with a very heavy load walk along the edge of a high mountainous cliff.  One additional straw will not only break its back, but cause it to fall down the cliff, creating an avalanche and I am the gal standing below, alone, and holding an itty bitty little net.  I can’t fix it, it hurts me too, and I’m struggling with my own negative feelings directed at this person for being the instrument of this hurt, and these feelings are making me sick.


I do know some things.  I do know that by allowing others to upset me, that I am giving away my power.  By reacting and letting a someone in a destructive head-space create what he or she is intending to create, I am making a choice to let this person win, be in control of me and hurt me.  It could also be said that I am the one responsible for hurting myself by being upset about what another person did, because in reality, we are not puppet masters in control of other people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors, so nobody can actually MAKE me feel angry?


I do also realize that the path toward power and success does not involve blaming other people.  When you blame, you are a helpless victim.  Instead, taking the path to success involves taking responsibility for myself.  Admittedly, I’m still working out how to take responsibility when someone else is behaving badly.  I know it’s not my fault and I’m not going to take the blame for their feelings or actions.  The only responsibility I own is what I can control: me.  Allowing others to ruin my day is an act of blaming and it gives my personal power away.  It is a very unsound decision that causes me avoidable suffering and leads me off the path to success and onto the path of failure.


Now, how do I take back my power, because at the moment, it feels just slightly out of reach?  There was a moment this morning when I realized where I was – in a comfortable place snuggling with my kitty – and I realized that these moments are precious and that we never know how many of these we will get, so I pulled myself back into the present and loved my little Boo enough to fall asleep for a short nap.  I needed to stop this negativity for my own health, because migraines come to me from any little emotional upset.  Managing my migraines with success requires me to NOT get upset PERIOD, or to at least keep my upset to occasional extremely mild little flashes that are resolved quickly.  Yet, I still woke up upset, with a migraine.


I have only succeeded at letting go of the upset for moments, but it has crept right back.  And now, to add to it all, I’m mad because this person’s behavior lead to the nauseating headache that I’ve been suffering for the last few hours.  It was not just caused by my emotional state, but also by what they did; and it happened at a time when it could harm me the most.  The ugly truth is that this person, whether consciously or subconsciously, made a careless and selfish choice to sabotage my health.  AND now this could even sabotage my job interview.  Who wants to hire someone who gets sick for a job interview???  So that really sucks, and I certainly did not deserve the inconsideration, so that’s their mistake.  But now, by feeling this anger, I am further hurting myself, and that’s not on them.  That’s on me.  And as long as I feel this way, I have given away my power.

Artwork 2014-05-04 008

So I’ve been willing enough to let go of it, which has worked for moments.  And when it comes back, I tried repeatedly to redirect my thoughts.  But it is relentless.  Why does it keep coming back?  What is this invisible cord that keeps me attached to that powerlessness?  There must be something inside me resisting this process.  You are now observing the process of me honestly searching for that.  Do I want to suffer, to feel anger and hurt?  Is there some sort of self-righteous satisfaction I’m getting?  Well, if that is what I want, I’m not getting it, so that doesn’t really resonate for me at the moment.


Perhaps it is my compulsion to “fix” others.  This silly girl thinks that if someone discovers that he or she is causing a person they love to suffer, that he/she will wake up and stop creating suffering, apologize if he/she has been an ass and go back to being nice.  Ok.  Now I’m on to something.  This totally sounds like me and I just discovered my brain screaming, “WAKE THE #$%& UP! ” to this person.  Eureka!  I’ve found it!  Once again, I have found myself subconsciously trying to control what I cannot control, by attempting to wake this special person up so he/she can feel better and stop being a jerk…or to put it a not so flattering way, to see things like I do.  I do honestly want those I love to make healthy choices, ones that will bring success and remove a lot of unnecessary work and suffering…and I admit that this would improve things for me as well.  Win, win, right?


I can see the answers so clearly.  I do know some things.  But I can’t make anyone see what I see.  I can’t even vocalize it eloquently when there is no space that welcomes it.  My wisdom is unwanted here.  My precious gems are simply gravel here.  People can only hear the message or have the epiphanies they are ready for, and they have them in their own way, in their own light, in the way that works with the way they see things.  I can’t bring that to fruition and expect them to see it exactly the way I do.  I can only control me.  So I have to find a way to allow those I love to run their lives with philosophies that are destructive and painful and be okay with that, and just allow them to discover a better path in their own way and in their own time.  I may see that someone is making choices every second to fail and suffer and I may know that we all have the power to change our lives by simply changing the thoughts and beliefs that don’t serve us, then making different, better choices every second of every day, and I may be practicing that myself and seeing my life improve, but I can’t make anyone else go with me.


Because I can’t say it there, I’m gonna say it here, because this is my space to say whatever I want and if someone doesn’t want to hear it, they don’t have to read it.  This is the truth:  Every single choice we make matters.  Each mundane decision compounds, and all together, they create out lives.  Is it messy?  Is it healthy?  Have we mastered the skills of our dreams?  The life we are experiencing now was created by a long series of decisions/practices.  Did we practice organization, house keeping, being healthy, our guitar, drawing, mastering our lives…or did we practice slovenliness, avoidance, carelessness, instant gratification, procrastination, fantasizing, stagnation, mediocrity…?  And it’s not just what we do, it’s also what we think.  Thoughts drive our feelings and our actions.  Every thought is powerful.  Every single little thing we do and think is significant.  Our lives are the way they are because of a series of choices that we have made based on our philosophies.   Are you happy?  Do you have or are you creating the life you want?  Are your philosophies working for you?  If not, then simply change them.  Don’t blame others.  Don’t be a victim.  We can’t have the life we want when others are in control of it.


So this brings me back to me.  I know what I need to do.  I know the consequences of not doing what I need to do, so I’m doing it.  And what about the apology that I still want?  I do want it, but I can’t let that want make my suffering continue.  So to get myself to where I can be okay without that, I’m going to bring compassion into this situation.  I learned this from reading works by the Dalai Lama:  love, compassion and understanding has the power to dissipate anger.  If I understand and accept the suffering that another is experiencing (even if it is self-inflicted) then I can understand that they probably aren’t operating with the direct intention to harm me, and I can forgive them for their error, whether they are aware of it or not.  In truth, they are just desperately and blindly reacting because they aren’t able to cope with the situation they are facing, and not being able to cope is a horribly awful and out of control place to be.   That doesn’t mean it is okay for people to be assholes to each other when they are upset.  There is no justification.  That is on them.



But it helps ME immensely to forgive, whether someone deserves it or not.  Forgiveness is in my power and it heals my own suffering.  It is the healthy choice that serves me and puts me back onto the path to success.  I am willing to do it.  I can understand and even feel the pain, frustration, anger and hopelessness that this person feels, and I feel compassion for them.  I’m no longer taking their behavior personally.  I won’t react to it with anger anymore.  I won’t give my power away.  I won’t carry the past with me, allowing it to continually hurt me, repeatedly.  I won’t respond to another person’s mistake by creating an internal environment that allows there to be the most suffering possible in response.  I chose to win.  I choose to be empowered.  AND, since I didn’t create the original problem, I can’t fix it and it isn’t my responsibility.  All I can do is take care of myself and be the best friend I can be.  Right now, I am letting go of what is making me sick and taking back my personal power and having an AWESOME DAY, DAMN IT!!!!


ATC Artwork - Acrylic Gesso Transfer Collage by Jennifer Shipley

Play – ATC

About Jennifer Shipley

I am an artist, musician and a rockhound with a passion for nature, animals and minerals. I have an etsy shop where I sell mineral specimens and my handmade crystal and gemstone jewelry. I am into healthy, natural living, spirituality, quantum activism and Buddhist psychology. I earned my BFA in Printmaking at California State University, Long Beach and taught drawing and painting for two years at Suha Art Institute in Torrance, CA.


  1. What a plsuaere to meet someone who thinks so clearly

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