Too many women have learned that the only way to step into a position of influence is to team up with a powerful man. How many of us have had relationships or sought alliances with bosses, coaches and father figures, who seemed to provide us with confidence or an opening into a bigger, more expansive world.
Actresses feeling the need to cozy up to male producers and directors because this is where the power lies, is just one example. The same dynamic has been cultivated - by men and women alike, naively or begrudgingly - in corporations, politics, sports, families and everywhere in between.
Women have stood up to it, and many men have aligned with them.
Not everyone is able to join the marches. But everyone is called to withdraw their energy from upholding outdated patterns, and to redirect your energy towards your own empowerment.
True power is not power over others, but the ability to tap into your own inner resources and strength, and to act from a place of internal coherence and a sense of agency. To calmly and firmly say No to what’s not working for you, and to point out dysfunctional dynamics in an adult manner.
The first task is to become aware how you give away your power: when do you fall back into a state of helplessness, dependency, hostility or feeling bad about yourself? In what situations do you want to resort to beliefs like “I can’t do it”, “I am being abandoned” or “I’m not good enough”? All these misguided beliefs - which are never really true - lead us to give up our own power. To look to others to do it for us, or to hide in a safe place where no one can hurt us.
True power means taking responsibility - for our faults and mistakes, and for showing just how much we are capable of. That doesn’t mean you have to turn into a flaming proponent of women's rights. It simply means to fully step into your own self, without all the “what ifs” and “I can’ts.”
We live in a culture where we quickly point to other people and blame them for what’s wrong. And sometimes rightfully so. But we can’t control what other people do. We can however start to take charge of our own lives. That begins by facing the challenges in our daily lives, even if we may not feel equipped to deal with. It begins by reminding us of our own inner value, and the million ways we are already making a difference.
If all the energy that goes into blaming others or the circumstances would go back into dealing with our own healing and empowerment, we would be much further along as a society.
Gerti Schoen is a writer and psychotherapist. In her spare time she enjoys learning, being in nature and around animals.