Have you ever given your power away?
There are so many ways it can happen:
You let someone else take the lead on a project because you think they’re smarter than you. You defer to your partner’s ideas about where you should go for dinner because you don’t feel like arguing. You pull over to the curb because the police car behind you flashed its lights and told you to stop your vehicle.
Okay, that last one was a trick. When a cop tells you to do something, it’s usually a good idea to do it.
But even with law enforcement, there are times when standing up for ourselves is called for.
So why is it so hard?
I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the easier it is to stand up for myself. I know myself a lot better, for one thing. And I’ve learned to communicate my ideas and preferences in a way that’s respectful to myself and others.
I still find myself getting snagged, now and again, by the old habit of giving my power away.
And that’s where the ear muffs come in.
I know what you’re thinking: You gave your power away to a pair of ear muffs?
But they were driving a police car and flashing their lights at me. What was I supposed to do?!
But seriously. Here’s what happened:
I’m a big fan of ear muffs. Mostly because I have no hair. Well, not no hair, but I like to keep my hair short. I also like to walk every morning, when it’s a bit chilly, and that’s when the ear muffs come in handy.
When my friend Juan first saw me wearing these, he told me that if I wanted to get a girlfriend, I shouldn’t go out in public with them. For the record, I didn’t show them to Melissa until after she agreed to go out with me. Now she loves them. In fact, I got her a pair too!
Sounds great, right? Everything was going fine with the ear muff situation in our household, until one day.
That was the day I got into a discussion with a friend of mine about the manufacturer of my ear muffs.
My particular pair of ear muffs are so in love with their manufacturer, they proudly display the logo on their back. Or is it their spine? I’m not totally clear on the exact anatomy of ear muffs, but the part in question goes across the back of the head of the wearer.
In the case of my ear muffs, the name on their spine is 180s.
At least, that’s what I always thought.
Then my friend came along and told me the name was Sogl.
That’s the manufacturer’s name, she said.
She said it with such certainty. Like, The sky is blue. Or The earth is round. Or, Unicorns like to eat dumplings under the starlight.
Okay, that was another trick. Though dumplings under the starlight are fabulous. Just sayin’.
Anyway, my friend made her ear muff pronouncement with such authority, I immediately believed her.
So much so, that when I lost my beloved muffs and had to buy a new pair, I went online and searched the brand Sogl.
And wouldn’t you know it, there was no Sogl online.
I figured the Sogl brand was only sold in stores and didn’t have online outlets. It didn’t even occur to me to search for any other brand name. My friend had said they were Sogl and I believed her.
It wasn’t until a few months later, when I saw my beloved muffs in a catalogue under the brand name 180s, that I realized what had happened.
I had given my power away to my unicorn-loving friend. Actually, she’s not the unicorn-lover. That’s me.
But I’d given my power away, that part was true.
Now, in the spectrum of Power Giving Away, deferring to a friend’s idea about the name of a pair of ear muffs is not a huge infraction. Indeed, it’s a small one.
But I was fascinated to note how easily I had deferred to her. I could have said, That’s weird. I’ve always thought they were called 180s. What makes you so sure they’re Sogls?
Or I could have said, They’re not Sogls. They’re 180s. I’m right and you’re wrong. Na na na na na.
But no. I had allowed the assurance of her tone to deflect me from the truth about my darling ear muffs.
The trick to owning your power is noticing when you give it away.
Once you’re aware of this, you can start to take it back. In the case of my ear muffs, I had completely failed to notice that I’d disowned my own perceptions.
I’d like to think that this little episode taught me a lesson, and from now on I’ll never give my power away ever again, but probably not.
It did change me, though. I’m one notch closer to trusting my own perceptions. And noticing when I don’t.
That’s not to say my perceptions are never wrong, but at least I can give myself the opportunity to back them up until they’re proven incorrect.
Plus, my ears will be warm while I’m doing it.
And that, my friends, is progress.
Have you ever had a Sogl moment? What did you do?
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