Claim Your Personal Power

It is important to shift our attention off of others and onto ourselves. By doing so, we’ll begin to notice what needs correcting in our own thinking, behavior, choices, and beliefs. Shifting the attention onto ourselves will make it less likely that we’ll make our partner (or anyone else) our project, and more likely that we’ll take actions to benefit our own life.

For example, I have a friend whose husband was an alcoholic, and for many years she tried to control his excessive drinking and the painful behaviors it created in her life. It would drive her crazy when he would go on a 15-minute diatribe about the phone bill, so in a situation like this, she’d try to control his behavior by hiding the bill from him and just pay it before he saw it. Or, he’d tear the house apart looking for something he lost and blame her for putting it somewhere, when in reality, she hadn’t done anything of the sort.

My friend thought that it was up to her to get the craziness under control because it affected her, and she felt responsible. However, eventually it became clear that nothing she said or did had any impact on her husband’s behavior because he simply wasn’t interested in making any positive changes.

Therefore, when it became apparent that the situation wasn’t going to improve, my friend started to concentrate on herself. This change in focus helped her decide that she could no longer live in this way, so she claimed her own power and left her husband.

But prior to leaving, she made the process more palatable by:

• Choosing not to engage in arguments

• Not defending herself

• Refusing to take her husband’s words personally

• Focusing on what she wanted, and not how to fix her husband

This is a good reminder that even though we can encourage, support, and motivate others to change, it is ultimately up to them to take the steps necessary for their own self-growth.

ACTION STEP:

Today, try not to correct others, or monitor their behaviors. Instead, use your personal power to shift your focus onto more positive uses of your time.

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