Up until about a year ago I often felt powerless. I was a broke, young, black undergrad living in America where the majority of our nations wealth rests with the top 1%. I didn’t have obscene amounts of money, I didn’t own a prominent company, nor was I dating anybody famous. I was essentially a nobody on the great American landscape. I’ was another cow, another skyscraper, another dark four door sedan, another ball of hair escaped from the nearest barbershop. Fast forward to now. Im still young and black- the one thing that’s changed is that I’m now post-grad. Im still a nobody on the American landscape because I dont have Kardashian sums of money, a powerful company, or a famous lover… but I feel quite powerful. It took me a while to fully see it, but I realized that I yield a personal power that is essential for my happiness and development. This personal power lies in all of us. Here’s how to tap into it.
1) Help others out for no reason at all.
Why? Because you can. You have the power to alter someone else’s day for the better. Being a person who only does things for other people in exchange for other things is draining and selfish. The first step to empowerment is to fill yourself up with good vibes. Did your friend tweet about being hungry? Offer to take her out for lunch. Notice a kid selling candy bars on the street? Buy one or two or four. Broke? Volunteer at an animal shelter or help a friend move into his new apartment. Good deeds will make you feel good…. and also empowered. Trust me.
2) Don’t laugh at things that aren’t funny
Every time you fake a laugh, you die a little inside. Admit it. You’re wasting energy every time you reply to things out of force. You have the power over your reactions, something we often forget about. Laughing at an unfunny joke by a co-worker isn’t your job. While we’re at it, engaging in small talk with your uber driver isn’t required if you don’t feel like it.. Don’t waste your energy. Empower yourself and enrich your life by only responding to things that cause genuine reactions, not forced ones.
3) Make Time for “Me”. Every. Fucking. Day.
You’ve only got one life to live. One body to have. Everyday you jump through the mental and physical hoops to keep trucking along in life…. make sure you stretch. Everyday you should carve out some time- 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and hour- to do something that you enjoy. I dont care how busy you are. All work and no play can dim your inner light and leave you feeling unfulfilled. You have the power to make yourself happy and fulfilled. Do NOT take this for granted. One day when you’re too old to masturbate or take yourself out for a spontaneous pedicure, you’ll remember I typed these words.
4) Express your true feelings. The good AND the bad.
You’re a human, not a robot. The “I don’t have feelings” movement is complete bullshit. Unless you’re a sociopath, you probably feel the entire range of human emotions- happiness, anger, sadness, loneliness, etc- all in a single one week period. Ignoring these emotions and acting like they don’t exist is the best way to ensure that you implode. Avoid this route by expressing yourself in a healthy manner to people who matter. For example, somebody at work did something you don’t like? Politely tell them. They’ll never know if you don’t. Letting your emotions rest in passivity is you relinquishing the power you have to express yourself. Get that power back by being more willing to speak about your emotions. If its hard for you to speak openly to others, write it all down somewhere.
5) Remember that life is full of ups and downs
Life is full of curveballs. You NEVER know what is going to happen in the future. You can guess and you can make plans- but don’t be foolish enough to believe that every single one of those plans will come to fruition. Every moment that you spend freaking out about the future and not enjoying the present is another ounce of your power you are losing to the unknown. Empower yourself by not worrying so much. Understand that the future holds both good and bad things- and you can only be cautionary, not fully prepared. The only thing you can TRULY do is remember that when you fall, you still have the opportunity to stand back up and try again.