If you want to increase your personal power, and sense of control, the first step is awareness: You cannot change that which you are unaware of.
A study of high-pressure work environments by Essi, a San Francisco research firm, shows one factor that predicts which employees would become ill and which stayed healthy: people’s perception of their personal power or lack of it. Personal power is defined as how much control you feel you have over your life, your ability to function and express yourself.
Your world is a mirror of your state of consciousness (your level of awareness) at any given moment, in any given area of your life. For example, a person may be very conscious and competent at making money but have many relationship problems. Or a person may have wonderful relationships and have a great financial portfolio, yet may suffer from health problems such as obesity, or high blood pressure.
When you increase your level of awareness in any given area, that area of your life starts to dramatically improve.
Some indicators that you have areas needing attention include but are not limited to the following:
- Old grudges
- Relationship drama
If your surroundings are full of clutter, see if there is a connection to having a cluttered mind. If you have a hard time letting go of the past, perhaps you have piles of things that no longer serve you but you can’t seem to purge them but you keep putting off making the decisions that would free your energy. You may see the same signs in your relationships. If you have people in your life you just can’t forgive, or you keep replaying old wounds over and over, this is an indicator of an area needing some attention.
All of these issues are important however the biggest reflection of your level of consciousness shows up in your relationships.
Unconsciousness manifests itself in hundreds of ways, such as small petty arguments, discounting others, interrupting, giving unwanted advice, backstabbing, cheating, lying, dishonesty, rudeness, and a host of behaviors and outcomes that could comprise an entire book. Awareness in your or your lack thereof will affect everything in your life. The areas where you are unaware are the areas where you will experience dissatisfaction and an unwanted outcome. For example, being unaware of your intentions will have an outcome on a relationship.
The key to gaining power is through conscious communication. One way to increase your consciousness is to become aware of your intentions. One of my favorite authors, Gary Zukav says if you don’t know your intention before an interaction, you will know your intention after the interaction. (I’m paraphrasing….but bear with me.)
Suppose you decide to host an elegant dinner party for your prospective clients and you have Salmon shipped in from Alaska.
As you anticipate the party and prepare for it, you have visions of everyone complimenting your food selection and appreciating your skills of entertaining. (If you bother to think about your intentions for the party you might say that your intention is to entertain and get to know your prospective clients.) However, you may be unaware that your primary intention is to get praise and approval, with the hopes of gaining additional business.
You will be disappointed if one of your guests does not care for Salmon or refuses to eat it. You will be equally disappointed when you find that your prospect is best friends with your competitor. You will focus on your failure to prepare adequately, or you will resent your guest.
However if your intention is to make everyone feel welcome, and have a good time, the outcome of a guest not wanting to eat Salmon, or the thought of a lost prospect will be completely different. You would instead find something else for the guest to eat, you would enjoy the present company and you would not feel discounted or disappointed.
Even if you stay in denial about your surroundings, or your relationships, every cell in your body is aware of what is going on internally. You may smile when you are frustrated, but your body still feels the tension, and it manifests as a “pain in the neck.” If you are unaware what’s creating your anxiety, you may use food as a sedative, or you may have a drink as a way of coping, and this coping pattern eventually has an effect on your physical body.
Because you hate conflict, you may avoid confronting a family member or co-worker as you justify your position, “I’m just making sure I don’t cause any waves,” yet at the same time you indulge in hidden resentment or anger believing that thoughts don’t really matter. Eventually these thoughts manifest in the body as depression, ulcer or even a heart attack.
The American Journal of Cardiology, examined the effects of different emotions on the health of the heart and nervous system and found that unmanaged emotions like anger and frustration were found to generate erratic, out-of-balance heart rhythms and nervous system de-synchronization, and potentially increase the risk of heart disease. Alternately, sincere feelings of appreciation for a co-worker, a family member, or a job, creates smooth, healthy cardiovascular rhythms and a much healthier nervous system.
As you can see, thoughts do matter. Awareness is the first step on the path to living a more competent and conscious life.
Becoming aware of your intentions, thoughts and emotions helps you to gain control. If you think you have control of your life, you will not only be healthier, you will also be a better employee or boss, a better friend, a better spouse, and a happier person.