Power & Perspective

“The least important guy with the least important character, on the least important show on the least important network.” ~ Reggie Hayes

I thought what Reggie Hayes, a.k.a. William on Girlfriends, said was relatable. Not because it is true per se, but that feeling is relatable. After reading a profile of him, covered by the Chicago Tribune, I found myself relating to Mr. Hayes more than I thought I could. I always considered myself to be more of a Toni from the cast, but there I was feeling akin to William.

Wild.

He felt unimportant in the world. And honestly, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Although, the reality of it is not entirely true, the feeling is. Then I thought, what could bring on this sentiment? Perspective. This degrading POV, I found, is where one disempowers themselves. It’s where you disregard yourself.

Then I started to think of empowerment. The way we tote around the word, “empower”, in conferences, workshops, ideals, as if someone else can truly give us power. That can’t be true, can it? How could someone empower me if I believe am powerless? Could they just zap the power into me after a motivational Zoom call? Or would it remind me to empower myself? That’s how I see motivational talks, self-help books & workshops. We already know what’s there, sometimes we just need a reminder.

Power comes from knowing, and standing in it. That’s why knowledge is power.

Leaders and managers in my past positions have said to me, “I want to empower you to…*accomplish a certain action*. But they can’t give me the power to do that, they can only support me. I originally used the word “encourage” when I wrote that sentence, but then I thought, no one can give you courage either. The world of words is raining on me today. It’s so interesting how our language is set-up and the ways we use it to the unknowing effects it has. If you’re not paying attention.

Did Malcom X or Huey P. Newton have power because someone gave it to them? Not at all. In fact, people often tried to take away their power. Those men held invigorating energy because they claimed it. They owned it, stood firmly in it, and allowed no one to dismantle it. Until they were killed, at least. Even then the power they held lived beyond their human life. Both men still get quoted today, countlessly in interviews, speeches, books, etc. That was the immense power they had within themselves that they shared with the world. And it was strong enough to surpass their death. So much so that it constantly reminds a newer generation of the ideas they believed in and actively pursued while on earth. That’s power.

How did these men become so powerful? We always hear, “it’s all about perspective. Life is how you perceive it.” That is true (to an extent). How do we perceive ourselves? Do we see ourselves as insignificant characters or the center of focus? We decide. I think in Reggie’s case, he saw the extremities in both, within himself and the life he was given. I felt a connection to his story because if a woman like me, a quarter of his age, could relate; surely there must be others that can too. I won’t rehash his life from the ChiTribune, but as an only child with one active parent, I understood how his life ebbed and flowed with that background. Ultimately, resulting in his personal and professional rut. I simply understood. But I also felt motivated to release myself from that position sooner than later, no matter what degree I felt of it. As I read on, it did more damage as he aged throughout life.

So today, believe in your power. Believe in your power everyday, all the time. That is a practice that never ends, but it can be done to become second-nature then first-hand response. No matter what stage you are in in life, always believe in your power. Especially, when you’re down. That’s when you need it most and must safeguard it.

A spiritual philosophy I tend to lean on if I ever feel imbalanced in the world is remembering I am everything and nothing, from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Step into your power today.

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