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Tue, Jan. 21

Keep your power

Have you ever given away your power? I confess that I recently did so by trying to manipulate someone into approving of me. Here’s a story that’s embarrassing for me to admit. I share it so that you might recognize similar patterns in yourself and avoid them.

Last Saturday, I had a meeting scheduled in the morning. After a conversation with Steve, my husband, it became clear to me that he was unable to attend a meeting in Phoenix early Saturday afternoon. This meeting held importance for both of us. One of us needed to attend, and it had to be me. I would have to leave my morning meeting early in order to arrive in Phoenix on time.

I really wanted to participate in the entire morning meeting. I felt guilty about leaving before it ended. I also feared that the facilitator would judge me negatively for skipping out early.

When I called the morning meeting facilitator, I went into a long and unnecessary explanation about why I couldn’t stay. I know that my voice carried a tentative and apologetic tone.

Attempting to cover my embarrassment and to appear as a “responsible” person who fulfills her obligations, I implicated Steve as the one to blame for my need to attend the meeting in Phoenix.

Fortunately, the facilitator (also my friend) has a great deal of awareness. He knows the seductive, manipulative, and often subtle tricks of the ego. And he’s not afraid to speak his truth.

As my friend, he shared with me that a red flag went off inside him when I named Steve as the culprit in my dilemma. He suspected that I hadn’t owned the decision to leave early and go to Phoenix. I had tried to pass responsibility for it onto someone else, and I diminished myself by doing so.

He also called me on my tentative, apologetic approach to the situation. Fortunately, he said all of this in a gentle, non-threatening, non-accusatory way that I could accept. Through his courage and his boldness, I became aware of how I had given away my power.

Though my ego felt bruised in the face of his confrontation, I accepted it with gratitude. He had truly given me a gift of self-awareness, proving himself as a true friend.

In retrospect, if I had it to do over again with the awareness I now have, I would have said, “I’m calling to let you know that I need to be in Phoenix by 1:00, and I have to leave our meeting early.” That statement would have been brief, direct and unapologetic. It would have commanded respect, because it comes from a place of respecting myself and owning my choices.

The ego has many ways to lure us into giving away our power. It convinces us to let others pressure, manipulate and control us. In a myriad of ways, we allow others to step over our emotional and psychological boundaries.

But that’s a topic for another column. Please accept my experience here as encouragement to act differently than I did and to keep your power!

Dr. Marta is available for appointments and can be reached at (928) 451-9482 or at drmartacoach@gmail.com.

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