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It’s easy to perceive “power” from a negative perspective. We see abuses of power all around us because they are fairly easy to see. However, there are positive uses of power that happen around us, as well – we just may need to take the time to look for them. So, what do you think of when you see or hear the words “personal power,” and do you see yourself as a powerful person?

What you think about personal power will influence your ability to claim it and exercise it in your life. If you believe that power means either control or loss of control, without knowing why, you will hesitate to claim it.

If you think, even subconsciously, that power is bad, negative, angry, manipulative, abusive or intimidating, you won’t be motivated to empower yourself or others. Too many people have been conditioned to believe that “power” means “having power over,” but it is really not about that at all. Rather, it is about having the power “to” – to act, to influence, to cause or make happen, to create and to do.

Most importantly, power is not an external force. Instead of coming, as so many people believe, from economic or social status, education, successful careers or material wealth, power is first and foremost internal.

It comes from feeling that you have the final accountability and authority for your own life. It comes from feeling a strong, vital and respectful connection to others – family, friends, community and, in fact, all life on the planet. And this kind of personal power benefits others as much as it benefits you. (If you work it right, it benefits others more.)

So, take some time to think about personal power. Then ask yourself, “Do I feel powerful?” If not, why not? If you do, then the next question becomes, “How do I use my power?” There are a great many answers to that question, and each reveals a facet of our personalities, and perhaps, our souls.

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