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Find Your Power

International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over 100 years and is the perfect opportunity to dedicate your attention to female power; to appreciate all the incredible women in your life and the ways in which they lift you up. Most importantly though, it’s a chance to look within and discover your power.

There are a few different ways in which we perceive power and all its connotations. It’s good to have an awareness of these so we can make sure we’re interacting with the world in the best way possible, and in the way that’s truest to ourselves. The first thing that springs to mind when we think of power is probably the concept of power over.

Global societies have been built on people gaining power over each other. Sadly, this kind of control is how marginalised groups are pushed to the edges of communities as power is perceived as finite; the more people take for themselves, the less there is for others. Dictators, corrupt politicians and leaders of oppressive movements throughout history have all sought to command and suppress the voices of anyone who may pose a threat to their control. To put it lightly, this kind of power isn’t helpful.

It may come as a surprise, but there are other types of power, too. Think about all the people in your life who lift others up or use their voice for good. These are the people who are using power to. Aware of their power, they are careful not to suppress other people’s voices or perpetuate the inequalities that come with people having power over. Instead, they transfer their power to others through education and advocacy. Every person has power to – the power to achieve positive change in society; the power to make someone else happy.

People coming together to work towards a common goal is when power with comes in. This is the idea of collective strength. When individuals use their voices for mutual benefit amazing things can happen. History has proven that power with triumphs power over, as people come together and use their individual strengths and passions to create a force greater than that which is trying to oppress them. In 1911, on the first International Women’s Day, over a million women all over the world marched to call attention to the social change needed to advance their rights. Now that is power with.

There’s another kind of power that everyone deserves to connect with. Power within is the knowledge and confidence that you are worthy it and paves the way for the other types of power to emerge. It’s your individual gifts and talents that amount to everything that is uniquely you. It’s the inner self that is aware of the steps you can take, as small as they may be, that might just change the world one day. This hope - this power - is within every one of us.

Try and think back to a time when you felt alive. Not the bungee-jumping, adrenaline-rush alive, if that kind of thing doesn’t make you tick, but the feeling of glowing on the inside. The feeling of noticing your peace, even if just for a second.

Was it when you were giving advice to your best friend who was at a crossroads in their life? Or when you were creating a piece of art that represents what you believe in? Or even when you were walking outside, noticing how the sunlight shines through the trees and creates dappled shadows on the ground? Moments like this are when we are truly connected to that special place within us - to our purpose; our peace; our power.

With the stress and difficulties that everyday life can bring, it’s no wonder that it’s difficult to find the power within ourselves. We have ever-increasing responsibilities that mean we focus on just about everything apart from us. Our constant connection to other people’s lives means we spend much more time looking outside and comparing ourselves than we do looking inside. We do an incredible job of caring for loved ones and coping with the pressures society places on us, but it’s so important that we take time to pay attention to, and nurture, those glimpses of power.

A good place to start is with journaling. This activity can be anything you want it to be, and you definitely don’t have to begin with ‘Dear Diary’ or recount page after page of the events of each day. If you like notebooks, treat yourself to one with a design you love. If you don’t like writing, use your phone. If you don’t want to type it into your phone, try recording a VoiceNote. However you want to reflect, carve out a bit of time just to recall a moment when you felt your power. Note what happened, who was involved and how it made you feel. Then note how remembering it makes you feel.

The more we reflect on those moments, the more we notice them when they happen to us. The more we are able to notice them, the more frequently it will feel that they happen. We slowly become connected to our power within; what makes us uniquely us. It spills out of us as our power to connect and make change, and it enables us to and achieve what can only be achieved when we embrace power with others.

This International Women’s Day, how will you connect with your power?

Written by Erin O'Neill

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