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S2 EP160 – Are You Having a Personal Power Outage?

Episode Summary

Discover the vast difference between personal power and power over others. Discover how you can achieve the personal power to manifest your dreams and the power to stay centered in the face of fear. Do you have the common false belief that if you become personally empowered, you will end up alone? Discover that nothing could be further from the truth!


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today I want to speak to the issue of personal power and the big difference between personal power and attempting to have power over others.

It’s vital to understand the difference between power over others and personal power. There is actually a vast difference between them. In fact, people who attempt to exert power over others are people who lack personal power. Our society often confuses personal power – “power within” – with “power over,” which is about controlling others.

Power over others is about trying to control them to give you what you think you need to feel that you are safe and worthy. This occurs when you define your worth externally by your looks, performance, achievements, money, things, attention, validation, and approval.

Do you want to have the personal power to manifest your dreams, the power to remain calm and loving in the face of fear, the power to stay centered in yourself in the face of others’ unloving behavior, and the power to speak up for yourself?

Personal power comes from an inner sense of security, from knowing who you are in your soul, from having defined your own intrinsic worth – not by how you look or by your performance, but by your soul qualities, such as kindness, caring, compassion, honesty, generosity, empathy, integrity, reliability, devotion, and so on. It is the power that flows through you when you are connected to and feel your oneness with a spiritual source of guidance. It is the power that is the eventual result of doing the deep inner emotional and spiritual work of Inner Bonding to heal the fears and false beliefs that may be limiting you.

Without this inner work to heal the beliefs that create our limitations, we are stuck in our egos, our wounded self. The very basis of the wounded self is the desire for control, for power over others and outcomes.

Our ego wounded self is the self we created to attempt to have control over getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe. We had to create our wounded self as part of our survival strategy. We created our wounded self in our attempt to protect ourselves from the losses we fear – loss of self, loss of other, loss of security, loss of face. As children, when we didn’t get the love we needed, we decided that our true self must be unlovable. In our attempt to feel safe, we buried our true self and created the false self – the ego, our wounded self. The ego wounded self then went about learning how to feel safe through trying to control others and outcomes. The wounded self believes that having control over how people see us and feel about us, as well as over the outcome of things, will give us the safety we seek. The wounded self believes that this is true power, yet the wounded self has no personal power at all.

Even if you do manage to attain some control through anger, criticism, judgment, or money, this will never give you an inner sense of personal power. This will never fill you with peace and joy and an inner sense of safety. Control may give you a momentary sense of safety, but it will never give you the deep sense of safety that comes from knowing your intrinsic worth, the worth of your soul. As long as your safety and worth are being defined by externals, which can be temporary – your money, your looks, your performance, your power over others – you will feel anxious. We feel anxious when we attach our worth and happiness to temporal things rather than to our eternal soul qualities.

For example, Walter is a man who has tremendous power over others but no personal power. Walter has made millions as the president of a large investment company. He has a lovely wife, three grown children, and two beautiful homes. Yet Walter is often anxious. He worries about losing his money. He is easily triggered into anger when things don’t go his way and people don’t behave in the way he wants. Because his heart is not open, he is a lonely man.

Walter operates totally out of his wounded self, believing that having control through anger and money will bring him the happiness and safety he seeks. He has achieved everything he believed would bring him happiness and safety, and yet what he feels most of the time is anxious and lonely. Walter is empty inside. He has no sense of his true self, no sense of the beauty within him, no sense of his lovability and intrinsic worth. His life is based on externals rather than on the spiritual values of love, compassion, honesty, generosity, and kindness.

Personal power comes from embracing spiritual values rather than just earthly values. It comes from making kindness, love, and compassion toward yourself and others more important than power over others. It comes from doing the Inner Bonding work necessary to allow your higher soul to guide you, rather than allowing the ignorance of your ego wounded self to have dominion over your choices. When your higher soul has dominion over your choices, you have the power to manifest your dreams, to stay centered in the face of attack, to remain loving in the face of fear. We have personal power when we are co-creating with the power of spirit rather than trying desperately to power our way through life by trying to control others.

Right Now, with all the challenges we have in our world, we need to learn to come from our personal power. All the problems on our planet come from the ego wounded self wanting power over others.

Personal power comes from trusting your inner source of guidance – your feelings – and your higher spiritual source of love, wisdom, strength, and guidance. When you ignore your feelings, you are ignoring a vital source of information from your soul.

This can be confusing to some people. A client of mine asked this question:

I have difficulty taking to heart the fact that our feelings are a trustworthy guide to act upon. I always understood that it is our thoughts that lead to our feelings and therefore ‘we’ – (the thoughts we think) are generating how we feel. Surely if this is the case, our feelings cannot be trusted since we potentially will have misguided and misperceived ideas and thoughts. It’s therefore quite a conundrum I find myself in. Any guidance as to how to trust that our feelings are a reliable guide would be most appreciated.

This woman’s confusion is the result of not understanding what her feelings are telling her.

Our feelings are an infallible source of guidance regarding two different areas:

First, our feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness, jealousy, resentment, and so on are letting us know that our thoughts are out of alignment with the truth, and that we are abandoning ourselves in various ways. Our feelings of peace, love, and joy are letting us know that we are taking loving care of ourselves. Our feelings are 100% trustworthy regarding whether we are operating from self-love or from self-abandonment.

Second, our existential feelings of life, such as loneliness, grief, heartbreak, outrage over injustice, helplessness over others and situations, fear of real and present danger, or sorrow, are letting us know that something is happening externally that needs our attention. They let us know if someone is being unloving or even dangerous. They are important expressions of loss. These feelings, also, are 100% trustworthy. 

Trusting your feelings supports your personal power.

When you learn to stay present in your body with your feelings, and trusting the information your soul is giving to you, you experience a sense of personal power. When you give others authority over you, you relinquish your personal power. When you try to have power over others with various forms of controlling behaviors, you are exhibiting your lack personal power.

Choosing to take compassionate responsibility for your own feelings, rather than judge them, ignore them, numb them with addictions, or make others responsible for them with controlling behavior, will develop the personal power you need to manage the stresses and challenges of life.

We abandon ourselves when we define our worth externally and ignore the messages our feelings give us, which leads to feelings of insecurity and a need to try to exert power over others.

Personal power comes from defining our intrinsic worth and learning to trust our feelings and our higher guidance. This is what we all need to learn to do to have the inner power and resilience to manage life’s current challenges.

There are some false beliefs that are often in the way of embracing your personal power. One of the common ones for women comes up in the question my women clients often ask: “If I move into my power, will I end up alone?”

My client Yolanda asked:

“What is coming up for me is if I completely move out of self-judgment and fully take the responsibility to actualize the deepest yearnings of my soul, I will be so powerful that nobody will like me. So I have this lurking fear ‘If I am too powerful, I will be alone’. How do I transcend this fear and belief?”

I understand this fear since I used to have the same false belief. My mother was a weak and frightened woman who was deeply threatened by me. She did everything she could to make sure that I wouldn’t surpass her, including screaming at me and withdrawing her love from me. It was never clear to me as I was growing up what she was always so upset about, and I eventually concluded that she was upset at me being me. It wasn’t okay for me to know what I know, or even to get good grades in school. I experienced over and over the loneliness of being not liked and alone when I was just being me. So I erroneously, and subconsciously, concluded that others would react the same way as my mother did.

In school I learned that boys were often threatened by strong and smart girls, so I learned to tone down my intensity and hide my grades.

After 30 years of marriage to a man who was threatened by my power, I finally left and faced the fear of being alone. I had decided that I would rather end up alone than continue to abandon myself.

For a while, I was very alone. People were upset with me for no longer caretaking them. But I discovered that my real friends applauded my choice to finally be loving to myself.

Then I learned an astounding thing! We attract at our common level of woundedness or our common level of health. The healthier I got, the more I attracted other healthy people into my life. While the people who were continuing to abandon themselves certainly didn’t like me, the people who were loving themselves did!

It was my wounded self who told me the lie that if I moved into my personal power, I would end up alone. My wounded self, patterned after my parents, wanted to keep me down, to feel safe from rejection. But as I took the risk of being more and more authentically me, I felt safer rather than less safe. I realized that I didn’t want or need the people in my life who weren’t able to like me when I was loving myself and in my personal power.

I wanted to be around people who loved and valued themselves and wanted to share love with me, and the only way I could have this was to love myself and claim my personal power – to own who I really am.

The practice of Inner Bonding completely changed all my relationships. I no longer fear being alone. First of all, my inner child knows that she is never alone – that I’m here for her and spirit is here for her. Second, my frequency attracts people of like frequency, because like attracts like.

What I said to my client Yolanda who asked about ending up alone if she owns her personal power, is that the more she embraces her power, the more she will attract people into her life who not only embrace their power, but who find joy in supporting her in her personal power. A person who loves themselves finds great joy in supporting others in loving themselves, and great joy in sharing love with open and loving people.

I told her to reassure her wounded self that she is mistaken. Being her true powerful self does not mean she will end up alone!

Another false belief that may be in the way of embracing your personal power is the belief that getting angry as a form of control is powerful. Does anger have power? Are you being personally powerful when you are angry?

Certainly you can intimidate many people with your anger – especially children or others who are physically weaker than you, or people who are terrified of disapproval and rejection, or terrified of the consequences that you might impose on them if they don’t do what you want. Anger at others – other than the outrage from the loving adult that leads to taking action against injustice – is a form of control. When you succeed in bullying others and making them afraid of you, it often works to get them to do what you want. But it will never work to get them to feel what you want them to feel, and it will never lead to the sharing of love.
Anger at others is about power over, while taking responsibility for your own feelings and behavior is about personal power – power within.

People who use anger as a form of power and control over others believe that the means justifies the end. They believe that intimidating others into doing what they want them to do will work for them to make them happy. This is a huge false belief.

While you may be able to achieve financial success through various forms of manipulation, people who do achieve success in this way are not happy people. Have you ever seen an angry person or a bully be truly joyful?

Happiness and joy come from personal power, not from power over others. Happiness and joy come from taking responsibility for your own feelings and behavior, and from caring about others rather than using or discounting others.

If you tend to get angry at others, take a look inside. How do you feel when you get angry? You might feel good for the moment, as all addictions feel good for the moment. But does getting angry at others lead you to feeling fulfilled, joyful, and peaceful inside? Does it lead to connected, fun and fulfilling relationships with others? When you manage to bully someone into doing what you want them to do, do you end up feeling worthy, lovable, and full inside?

If you are honest with yourself, you will discover that anger or other forms of intimidation and control lead to feeling empty inside. The fullness of inner peace and joy come from being loving to yourself and to others – not from getting what you think you want through controlling behavior.
Anger meant to intimidate can take many forms. It can be loud, or it can be silent. It can come through a look that says, “If you don’t do what I say, I will punish you with shutting down and withdrawing my love.” It can be a quiet threat, a menacing look, or overt rage. It can be physically violent or emotionally violent. And when it completely disrespects the other person, it is abusive – other than in situations where you are in physical danger and your anger might help you to survive. Anger meant to control is generally about getting what you want while disregarding what the other person wants and feels.

When your intent is to control, anger may be one of the forms this takes. When it is habitual and addictive, it will change only when your intent changes from controlling to loving yourself and others.

While the wounded self believes that anger power works for you, what it is really doing is creating your aloneness, emptiness, insecurity, and lack of personal power.

So what do you really want? Do you want to get your way, or do you want to be a happy, fulfilled person, a personally powerful person able to share your love with others? You get to choose.

I hope you are motivated to develop your sense of personal power rather than continue in various ways – both overt and covert – to try to have control over others. I hope you can see that learning to trust your feelings and your higher guidance, and learning to take loving care of yourself is the path to personal empowerment.

Part of loving yourself and embracing your personal power is being willing to speak your truth in the moment in your important relationships. I can’t tell you how often I hear my clients complain about an interaction they had with a partner, friend, employer, co-worker, or parent, that felt disrespectful, discounting, or even abusive to them. When I ask what they said or did when this occurred, the answer is often that they didn’t say or do anything, because they were afraid that the other person would get angry, defend, withdraw, or in some other way show that they didn’t care about the effect their behavior had on my client.

I know it’s very hard to speak up for yourself when another’s behavior feels unloving to you, yet not taking loving care of yourself in the face of another’s unloving behavior is unloving to yourself, and will likely lead to anger or resentment toward the other person. Learning to take loving care of yourself in the face of other’s unloving behavior takes courage and is an aspect of manifesting your personal power.

If you are afraid that the other person will become violent with you if you speak your truth or lovingly disengage, or in some other way take loving care of yourself, then you need to question being in the relationship. If another person doesn’t care about the effect their behavior is having on you, then they are not supporting you in embracing your personal power.

Giving yourself up out of fear of another’s reaction is not loving yourself and will not give you an inner feeling of personal power. Caretakers tend to give themselves up in the hopes of getting love, but this eventually leads to resentment.

My client Marina asked:

“I often go out of my way and do different things for my fiancé. For example if he wants me to stay and do something with him, I cancel what I have to do and stay with him. But he never does the same. He takes care of whatever he feels he needs to. Then I’m filled with resentment towards him. Can you explain what is a loving way to be in relationships? Do we just do what’s best for us or do we have to sacrifice at some point to make the other person happy?”

Marina is operating under the false belief that sacrificing herself is a way to get love. But giving herself up is a major form of control as well as of self-abandonment and will always eventually lead to resentment rather than to personal empowerment and a loving relationship.

By giving herself up, she is training her fiancé in how to treat her. Sacrificing ourselves says to the other person, “My needs don’t count. My feelings don’t count. You don’t need to consider me because I’m not considering myself. You don’t need to respect me because I’m not respecting myself.”

Marina is also operating under the false belief that it is her job to make the other person happy, rather than her job to make herself happy and his job to make himself happy, so they can come together to share their love and happiness. In a loving relationship, we don’t give ourselves up and take responsibility for the other person’s feelings, and then expect the other person to do the same.  

If Marina had the courage to love herself when her fiancé wanted her to stay and do something with him, she would first tune in to what she wanted. If she wanted to cancel her plans and spend the time with her fiancé, then she would not be giving herself up if she did so, and she would not feel resentful.

If she tunes in and discovers that she doesn’t want to cancel whatever she had planned, then she would kindly say to him something like, “Thanks! I’d love to spend the time with you, but I have things I need to do. Love you. See you later.” By honoring herself and what she wants to do, she is letting him know that what she wants and needs matters.

If he routinely doesn’t support her in what’s important to her, then she would need to re-evaluate the relationship. In a loving relationship, we support our own highest good and the highest good of our partner – which means that we support each other in doing what brings us joy and in what is important to us. It means we can tolerate disappointment without taking it personally, and of course, this sense of security comes from having done your inner work to claim your personal power.

Marina asked, “Do we just do what’s best for us or do we have to sacrifice at some point to make the other person happy?” We do need to do what’s best for us, while also caring about the effect our behavior has on others. It’s not either-or – it’s both, and we can do both when we are loving ourselves and embracing our personal power.

I invite you to join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have much to offer you at our website at

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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