Power is a very hot commodity. With power we can do anything from run a country to break cement blocks. The emotions that underlie power can be varied. Sometimes power (which is an energetic force) is fueled by confidence and purpose, but quite often it is fueled by anger, revenge and resentment.
More often than not power is conferred upon someone by other people who officially or subconsciously project power onto someone. Being powerful typically involves a lot of responsibility and some may avoid or even run away from power in the world some avoid identifying themselves as powerful due to a desire to remain small to avoid punishment or blame or to feed a sense of self which sees itself as weak and disenfranchised.
When we are in positive power we access our inner reserves and tap into a place in our own psyche that is confident, assured and balanced. We mitigate our power with compassion and empathy while maintaining a clear sense of purpose and drive to reach our goals. When we are in negative power we may be brutish, callous and entitled. We utilize our worst qualities combined with manipulation, strength or intelligence, and may leave a trail of destruction in our wake.
We may find ourselves wielding it quietly like a snake or loudly like a lion, but the results can still be devastating or uplifting depending on our level of psychological health and self awareness. When we are unhealthy not self aware we will embody neurotic power and we see the effects of neurotic power all the time in corrupt politicians, tyrants and bullies.
Positive power can be elevated and become then becomes the state of empowerment. When we are empowered we not only draw from our own internal gifts and reserves but also from the energy of an outside source. When we are empowered we have a responsibility that extends beyond our own personal interests. Being powerful is necessary in order to do basic things such as state what we want or need, draw boundaries or protect our own self interests.
Being empowered implies that we have been selected to not only enact our own highest intentions but also to honor that which has empowered us. When we are empowered it may come from a group of people (such as when someone is elected to a position in a government or organization) or it can come from a higher source (such as those who feel compelled to become spiritual teachers or spiritual leaders). When we recognize that the source of energy underlying our power comes from outside the confines of the personal individualized ego and originates from a greater source we move into greater holistic alignment with the universe, and also take on greater responsibility.
Personal power is fine until it becomes overly-self interested and shortsighted. When being powerful serves only the personal ego it may be appropriate for self care but can struggle to recognize the higher purpose. Empowerment from the universe, God, or a group requires that we are open to inspiration and that we remove our personal, emotional or egoic preoccupations and biases to the best of our ability.
Accepting the state of empowerment also means we are honest about whether our actions stem from our own egoic or ideological biases or whether our leadership and power is serving the greatest good. This can get tricky for those who may believe that the abasement, ridicule, punishment or persecution of a person or group of people is empowerment from God or some other ideological scapegoat (something we've seen too many times throughout history) but one can be sure that this stems from misunderstanding, bias, and fear. So while we may be working from a state of empowerment it is being fueled by fear, limitation and confusion. So we must be mindful of who/what we allow to empower us.
Power is necessary in order to practice healthy self assertion and can be an invigorating energy to tap into when we need to push through personal obstacles. Some people have a natural connection to the energy of power, while others deny it in themselves and displace it onto others. Moving into empowerment allows us to step outside of our limited self-interest (which is a necessary step) and see a larger plan at work.
Recognizing and accepting empowerment is a spiritual act of service and requires vigilant attention to what is our own personal desire and what is best for the highest good. We must take others into consideration when empowered. We become positively acquainted with compassion and manage mercy with justice according to the needs of the moment. Most of all, we allow our highest guidance to inform our actions and recognize that the power we have attained is a gift and as such should be appreciated, honored and respected.
For those already in positions of power moving into empowerment can be as simple as recognizing that you have allowed in the energy of power and influence for a purpose, and then asking yourself and the universe (or God) how you can serve the highest good. If you are not in contact with your personal power this is a prerequisite to allowing ourselves to become empowered, if we are not in touch with our personal sense of positive power empowerment will be overwhelming and confusing.
Being powerful is affirming; it allows us to recognize our individual worth and influence in the world and can be a healthy source of confidence in our lives. Being empowered is a gift; it allows us to recognize our unity and connection with the whole and be of service to the greatest good. When we are in power we may be inspirational to others, when we are empowered we can be both inspirational and empowering to others. Empowerment is a fluid energy that is not owned by any one person but transferred from source to source.
5 "Take Aways" About Power vs. Empowerment
- Being powerful can be positive or negative; and stems from our own personal reserves and will be enacted according to our personality.
- Being powerful is a personal egoic state and helps with healthy boundaries, stating our desires and moving through obstacles.
- Being empowered can be positive or negative and is inferred from other people or another larger source of energy outside of ourselves.
- Being empowered holds greater responsibility and recognition of what is empowering us.
- Being empowered is an act of service...be aware of what you're serving and how it affects the whole.