I am looking back at journal entries eleven years on. What’s changed? Not much, I’m afraid; instead, the powerless trend is gaining steam.
I know that many people keep journals or diaries. But the powerless trend I’m witnessing is disturbing because I wouldn’t say I like the idea of quitting when options are still available. It was in 2011 that I first observed a collective sense of hopelessness in the news headlines and general comments of my social media circles. I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who reviews their writings from the past, but I wonder if this trend results from something more profound than the measures taken during the pandemic.
On July 9, 2011, I wrote, “Isn’t it amazing how people complain about how others treat them when they are acting the same way themselves?” And here I am, eleven years later, asking this same question. With the pandemic at its peak of wreaking havoc, I was foolish enough to think that this event would be the catalyst for some real soul-searching. But by and large, the demand for things to return to “normal” seemed to announce that not many people want things to be different than they were before.
The Big Question about Power
For example, the complaint that not enough people care about the environment. People say, “it’s a shame,” when they hear about the threat of single-use plastic, yet they continue to ignore the alternatives, paper-based containers. Rather than be proactive, the common reflex is to wait until push comes to shove. We certainly have some personal power over our choices; I don’t understand why some of us are unwilling to exercise it wisely.
Over the past two years, many innovative ideas and solutions have come to light. I was impressed by the ingenuity that could relieve a lot of anxiety and concern. Real solutions were presented for problems like the lack of clean drinking water and fixing traffic-ravaged streets. Yet rather than see them embraced and championed by those with many complaints about them, they were overlooked. What gives? Have we become a society of weak-willed, whining people, or did I miss the memo?
After several conversations with various people, it seems as though many people have resigned themselves to apathy. Yet no one I spoke to gave one solid reason for it. Some said it was the state of the government. Others pointed to the economy. But most people were uncomfortable with the question, and this reaction made me more curious to understand what was happening.
Giving Our Power to Others
After reading what experts in human behavior, like Deepak Chopra, had to say about this topic in a recent article, I began to see the pandemic’s role in bringing the powerless trend to its current level. Giving our power to others is one of the main points he stated as a cause of this feeling. During the pandemic, authorities took away our ability to decide how to manage life in a health crisis. Beyond that, there are conditions many people endure due to circumstances; the person dependent on another for their care may not be able to remove themselves from an uncomfortable situation.
What is Power Anyway?
Another aspect is that the idea of power itself is off-kilter. Rather than rely on external conditions or possessions as a power source, we need to appreciate the power that being alive gives us. I notice that we take so much of what we have for granted that we fail to see it for what it truly is: power. Imagine how different your life would be if you couldn’t walk, see or hear. There are thousands of people who live with this reality. Those abilities open the door for you to countless opportunities that would be out of your reach without them.
On the other hand, there is the real impact of wanting to be accepted by others. And the second important point in Chopra’s article is our longing for recognition can lead us to give away our power to others slowly. It can take the shape of going along with the crowd when you don’t want to or giving up your ambition so that a family member can achieve their goal. The danger of following the powerless trend is that with each step you take down this path, you are one step closer to becoming a victim. People tell themselves different things to justify their suffering. Still, in the end, the mental pain and damage to their self-worth they experience outweigh any benefit it may produce for the other person.
Choosing to be a Victor Instead of a Victim
It’s a myth to think you must be arrogant to have self-confidence. In fact, an arrogant person constantly talking about themselves or making others feel small is insecure. A truly confident person knows their capabilities well and is not intimidated by other people. This knowledge of your core self, not comparing yourself to others, is the key to moving away from the powerless trend. You gain this knowledge over time as you experience life. Our experiences provide the connections to what your core self has to offer the world throughout your lifetime. Your core self is unique; no one else on the planet is exactly like you: that’s your superpower!
The other key is the concept of continuous improvement. Many people complain about others because they see a reflection of themselves. Rather than fall into this trap, take a step back and examine your reaction closely, see what triggered it, and then resolve it. No matter the issue, there is an opposite side to it, where you recognize the behavior and resist acting it out. For example, when it upsets you to see a person trying to control you, this is a signal to check where you try to control things in your life. Accept that we manage our lives and set a system to do that well. That will relieve the stress that triggers the need for control.
Accepting responsibility for how our lives are working requires maturity, intelligence, and creativity. Connecting to your core self is the first step to putting these attributes to work. Developing the full potential of the superpower of being uniquely yourself is your path to leaving the powerless trend behind.