Your personal power, what fuels you, what drives you comes from your emotions. Emotions are energy. Energy that you can gain or drain.
Growing up you, like the overwhelming majority of humans, probably gave away a lot of your energies ( yes, energies) by attaching importance or significance to external events or individuals. We do this to feel safe, to fit in, or simply because the world is filled with energy vampires who prey on people.
So, someone bullied you. Zap.
You were molested. Zap
You witnessed your father physically abusing your mum. Zap
You got into drugs to avoid your hell for life. Zap
These are pretty extreme scenarios, and the thing about what pains us is that it isn’t quantifiable. Someone who went through all of the above may be more resilient than someone whose biggest trauma was parents divorcing.
No pain can or should be belittled because there are many factors that need to be accounted for when trying to gauge someone’s reaction to emotional distress.
Anyhoo I digress.
So we grow up, sans these metrics of energies we were zapped of. Let’s switch the analogy to monetary value to make it easier to picture.
You were born with a whole soul, with your talents and unique quirks and creativity. Say the sum total of that is $100 000.
Everything that has impacted you negatively and which you avoid costs money.
That bully? Got $1300 of yours.
The molester? Pocketed $20 000
Your father? A cool $30 000
Each of these events hold cluster of emotional disturbances like PTSD or phobias or anger issues. And these symptoms, with time, spawn secondary disturbances.
All of this is landing on your emotional bill until you go into overdraft.
What happens then? You don’t have motivation. You don’t know what you like. You’re a people pleaser and as such attract toxic people into your life. You’re stuck in a dead end job you hate but can’t quit because it’s all you have. You believe that you’re inherently a fuckup.
Deep down you know that your God given wealth was robbed. You know where those sharks are. But going down that path to face conflict and suppressed pain and an upheaval of your status quo isn’t worth it, you think.
But in life, you have to have cash in your emotional bank. So what do you do to get by? Why, borrow from loan sharks of course!
Manipulative and deceptive people who lend you attention, love, company in exchange for being their shadow. That dead end job that lends you security in exchange for your hopes and dreams.
Because speaking your mind costs.
Because risking for what you desire costs.
Because love and joy and trust cost.
Because self acceptance costs.
But nah, it’s easier to make your energies rain like confetti. Right?
You’re not realizing that you meet your demons on the path you took to avoid them. And when you do, they’ll take you hostage because you’re not prepared to go into battle. At the slightest sign of conflict, you have your white flag out, waving it frantically as if your life depended on it. Because you *do* feel that your life depends on it. You feel that you have no choice over what happens to you. You believe that you were simply dealt a bad card in life.
These narratives you hold dear because they give you the alibi you need escaping the crime scene that is your life’s work.
“Embracing one’s wholeness makes life more demanding–because once you do that, you must live your whole life. One of the most painful discoveries I made in the midst of the dark woods of depression was that a part of me wanted to stay depressed. As long as I clung to this living death, life became easier; little was expected of me, certainly not serving others.”
— Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation)