Own Your Power
Once again the tabloid
media has taken to plastering their covers with a celebrity who, at the
height of her career, has been taken down by a personal tragedy in the
form of betrayal by her husband. My heart goes out to Sandra Bullock as
she navigates the complicated waters of a broken marriage while having
her personal life splayed out for all to see. I can only imagine the
hell she’s living in.
Each time I see a public person knocked off
the proverbial pedestal either by his or her own undoing or by someone
else, I see the writing on the collective subconscious wall: "You
better not get too big for your britches or we’ll take you down." While
it seems some need to come down in order to stop hurting people, others
become the poster child for our collective fear of success.
watched Sandra Bullock’s public embarrassment after winning the Oscar, I
thought, "Great, here’s another chance to reinforce the belief that
it’s not safe to step into the light and own our gifts." It makes me
crazy because it doesn’t serve anyone. Each of us has a boogieman (or
woman) who keeps us in line by reminding us to tone down our brightness,
to take one step back and stay with the pack, or to keep our flaws
handy in case we need to pull one out to prove that we’re a
card-carrying member of the "fit in" club.
For some, the voice of
the boogieman is loud, constant, and demanding in its request to stay
small enough to keep others comfortable. For others – most people
actually – the voice is subtle and sneaky, and equally pervasive and
debilitating. We end up playing by its rules to keep ourselves safe
and, as a result, miss out on fully living our lives. You get close to
want you really want, for example, and sabotage your efforts because it
feels too risky. You find an excuse to avoid making the phone call that
just might land you a great job. You eat one more candy bar to stay
comfortably numb so you don’t have to confront the brazen friend who
made fun of your latest creative idea. Or, you tow the line with family
members by putting yourself down and leveling the playing field so you
don’t ignite the sarcastic comments or guilt-inducing statements that
warn: "Don’t you dare leave the tribe by being more successful than us."
I were a betting woman, I’d put money on the fact that Sandra Bullock
probably started worrying about a bomb dropping on her life when the
first award nomination was announced. You know the drill. Things are
going a little too well and immediately you start waiting for the next
shoe to drop. You pull back, shrink inward, and maybe even start
slipping up just enough to steer clear of being too successful.
the thing: Eventually the other shoe will drop. That’s the
way life works here on planet earth. In a world of duality there will
always be an eventual downside to every up. Someone you love will get
sick right after you receive an offer to start a great new business. A
friend might betray you just before your wedding day. Or, you’ll be
pulled from a promotion because someone more qualified showed up at the
The real issue is what you do with what happens, not
the drama around the details. After all, our safety net (and the
ability to maintain our power) comes from the investment we make in our
own healing journey. How will you grow from the downside? What
character traits will you develop? What old wounds will you finally
face and heal? The answers to these questions (and the work you do to
address them) are the insurance you purchase with your hard work. This
insurance gives you the courage to express your greatness in spite of
what happens or what others think.
So this week, I challenge you
to do something to support humanity’s goodness instead of the drama.
First, send love to Sandra Bullock and anyone else who’s struggling with
the pain of an unexpected blow. I don’t know about you, but when I saw
The Blind Side, both Bullock, and the woman she portrayed, left me
inspired to be an even better human being. That’s what full-on
Next, challenge the legacy of smallness that hurts
us all by keeping your money away from the magazine issues that profit
from someone’s pain. Then, start owning your power. Toot your own
horn. Speak confidently and skillfully about your accomplishments at
your next job interview. Set a firm boundary the next time someone
tries to keep you in line with his or her own fear and insecurity. Be
brave, bold, and willing to risk getting knocked around a bit
(metaphorically speaking) to stay true to your strengths and talents. I
don’t know about you, but I’m willing to piss a few people off or to
weather a few storms to insure that I’m honoring my soul. I may go out
with a few chipped teeth, but you can be sure I’ll go out smiling â˜º.
This week, watch for your tendency to shy away
from expressing your full power. Notice what you do to level the
playing field with others. What do you say? How do you act? What do
you end up thinking about yourself? If you’re so inclined, share what
you discover with other members of our community on our Facebook page here.
week’s video was posted on my facebook page by Jamie. It’s a sweet
example of how tuned in our pets are. You can find it
here. Thanks, Jamie!
Cheryl Richardson.© Copyright 1999-2009 Cheryl Richardson, P.O. Box
13, Newburyport, MA 01950, www.cherylrichardson.com.
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Have a question for
Cheryl? Call in during her live Internet radio show — Coach
on Call — on the Internet at www.hayhouseradio.com.
The show airs live on Mondays at 5pm ET (2pm PT) and is replayed
throughout the week.