How to Spot Your Strength When You Feel Powerless

Last week I talked about finding your joy, especially in these crazy days of 2020. This week let’s talk about how to spot your strength when you feel powerless.

There is lots of crappy stuff going on in 2020 that makes us feel helpless. But there are ways to take your power back.

silhouette of a woman with her fist raised and a quote from Christopher Reeve about a hero is an ordinary individual...spot your strength

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

– Christopher Reeve

Strength Can Be Learned

You have power over your mind– not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

– Marcus Aurelius

Yes, it can. Like a kid learning to walk or to ride a bike, it’s not a one-and-done deal. The first step is to train yourself to recognize the things that make you feel helpless. These are your triggers. Once you recognize them, train yourself to avoid them or to respond to them differently.

Sharpen Your Awareness

There are certain images or words or places that trigger a feeling of helplessness. Knowing what these are, avoiding them when you feel vulnerable are one way to take back your control.

Pay attention to your physical body. Do you feel shriveled up, closed, tight? Then those are negative things for you. If you feel open, breathing easy, relaxed—that’s where you are strong.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

Focus on Your Self-Talk

young girl in a crowd wears a poster board front and back that reads "we can be heroes just for one day."

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Negative self-talk keeps you stuck, makes you feel  helpless. Psych central recommends you turn it around. Tell yourself things like, “What can I do to make this better? This is bad right now, but it won’t always be. I can get through this.”

Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult, no matter how unfair, you will do more than simply survive. You will thrive in spite of it.

– Joel Osteen

Focus On What You Can Control, Not What You Can’t

You can’t change the pandemic, nor someone else’s response to it. And honestly, it’s a rare day when you can change someone’s thinking–political or otherwise. You spend and waste your time if you focus on things you cannot control. Your strength comes from knowing what you can control. Spend your time and energy on the positives of what you can control and that will diminish the power of the negative things. 

Keep Trying

young girl riding a tricycle

Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.

– Chris Bradford

Be Kind to Yourself. Do something. Clarity comes from engagement not thought is one of Marie Forleo’s mantras. It’s true. Doom scrolling isn’t doing something. Get up—take a walk, a swim, play with the kids, clean house, take a shower. Or do one chore for ten minutes. Any or all of those activities can help you get clarity—to refocus on your strengths.

We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

— Buddha

If You Are Overwhelmed 

Talk to someone. Take care of yourself. Use the Crisis Text line. or SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Spot Your Strength

You are amazing. Despite all that you face personally and on a societal level, you keep on keeping on. I suspect you only needed to a reminder of how to spot your strength when you feel powerless. March on friends. March on.

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