Last Thursday I wrote about forgiveness and how it sets you free. Today, I want to write about one of the biggest issues I continue to observe in our modern-day culture: Our willingness to give others power over us.
Do any of these get your blood pumping:
Your “friend” from high school —that you have not physically seen in 20 years — goes on a Facebook diatribe about the Supreme Court vacancy, and they happen to have the complete opposite view that you have.
Your neighbor has a huge party, and you are not invited.
At a highly-attended conference, you see a friend in the industry. They tell you all sorts of things about your competitors: the good, the bad, the ugly…
Admittedly, a lot of the above gets my blood pumping.
And it shouldn’t.
Why do we allow others to have power over us?
Your friend is allowed to their opinion, your neighbors can invite who they want (what if it is a family gathering?), and what does the condition of your competitor have to do with you? (Note: Competitive intelligence is a good thing so long as it is a “head” and not “heart” thing. It should be easy to discern the difference).
This topic is as old as time itself. But with the invention of new ways to get people pissed off —which is what social media sort of feels like at this point —it is important for us to get a grip.
Who cares what the politician is tweeting?
More importantly, do we have the guts to get past juvenile lunchroom behavior (i.e. I am only sitting with my group) and have real conversations (off social media!)?
Each of these instances lose their emotional power over us when we make the choice to deprive them of that power.
I’ll end with an example that some will disagree with. I want to preface this by saying that I could care less about when athletes travel to the White House. I’d like to see more coverage on our nightly news about the atrocities Boko Haram continues to inflict in Nigeria than about the next sports team forgoing a trip to the White House. I also believe in free speech and applaud athletes when they use theirs.
Having said all that, and being an observer, it blows my mind how much power the athletes have ceded to the current administration. If you truly want to change the direction of the country, why would you ever forgo a seat at the table? While I understand the point of view that the whole ordeal is a “charade,” there still is time to meet, shake hands, and speak.
Just imagine if the whole ordeal was so uncomfortable for the President that he was the one backing out? Who would have the power then?
(It bears repeating, I have no dog in this fight!).
My point simply is that we need to stop giving others the power. This may mean swallowing our pride. It will mean controlling our thoughts and emotions. But these are the ingredients to maintaining grip on our own life, instead of handing it to others.