re: Power

I grew up with the mentality that money is the root of all evil, having witnessed what it does to people around me. Then I changed my mind. I realised money is just a representation of power, so the struggle for power is the root of all evil.

Now, I’ve changed my perspective once again. Power is neither negative nor positive. It is neutral and the use of it depends of the person who welds it. The key for me is to be aware of my relationship with power, instead of avoiding it all together.

I don’t know about you, but I grew up in an environment which instilled on me that it is wrong to hold on to any form of individual power. I couldn’t reason with parents or teachers, because that to them is “answering back” – which means I am undermining their authority. Any effort to have a personal voice is met with disapproval or sometimes a slap across the face.

I don’t think I surprised myself much by growing into an adult with not much of a voice except for that angry one in my head. I kept giving away my personal power because that was how I was brought up to believe – to listen, to conform.

Looking back, perhaps I wanted to be accepted so much that I subconsciously tried not to offend anybody. I developed a fear of confrontations because that would mean trying to win a power struggle, even if I was right.

I wasn’t a tit-for-tat person, so there were tons of situations which I simply let go and hoped that karma would deal with it. I still feel that approach is fine, but it cannot come at a price of your individuality. I am not talking about ego-based pride here.

Often, the person who wins a fight (I don’t mean a physical one) may not be the person who is right or true or better, it simply means this person has the will to win (or the desperation not to lose).

Power struggles are everywhere. It exists between spouses (honey, please do the housework), between colleagues, of course the ones between economic/political parties. Artists fight for the power to create, advocates fight for the power to change. Don’t misunderstand that Gandhi was giving up his power when he gave up his riches and went on his peaceful protest. That’s demonstration of true power – power that doesn’t require brute force or making others fear.

I realised that the most important one I have to win, is the one that exists within myself. The power struggle between my mind and my soul.

The mind often succumbs to pragmatic pursuits, the soul simply wants to express herself.

I, need to be myself. In the process of doing that, there will be plenty of struggles, disagreements, confrontations I have to face. But I believe, once you win that internal struggle to be your true self, it doesn’t matter what people say, you wouldn’t need external validation, because all it matters is that joy and peace that exists within yourself.

Imagine a Self that is unaffected by what people think and say. How much power would that individual have. He/she will not be afraid of anything. Don’t you think we all live to try and prove something? Imagine not having to prove anything to anyone except yourself. It doesn’t matter if people frown upon you and your actions. You just need to be able to answer to your Self.

People depend on external sources of power (authority, money) because of human insecurity. If you ever find that unwavering belief of who you are and what you’re meant to do, the power comes from within. Money becomes your tool and not your master. Power becomes a form of energy and not gratification.

If we can all learn to gain power not from meaningless power struggles but just by understanding true power comes from within. Nobody, nobody can take away your internal power. They can seek to weaken you by taking away your pride, your riches, your accomplishments, but they can never take you away from you.