Use Your Power Where it Will Actually Do You Some Good

I passed a sitting target on my way into the library today.

A woman sitting outside on a bench in front of the building was blissfully and ignorantly eating her lunch. The skies were blue, a gentle breeze fluttered by, and any moment she could have been an easy target for someone with bad intentions.

With her back to all approaching people and her backpack on the bench next to her, she was blind and vulnerable to anyone walking up behind her. Anyone could have come up behind her, completely undetected, and snatched her pack before she could swallow her bite of sandwich.

Just feet from where she sat was another bench that had a much better view with its back to the building, but she chose to give away all her power.

I just shook my head.

Back in my office scanning my emails, John Gorman’s latest title “I was complimented on my looks. Now I feel gross” caught my eye and while reading it I could feel my face redden. My thoughts instantly flashed back to the woman at the library.

I pondered how a simple compliment could trigger such an exaggerated response when every day people put themselves in truly physically compromising situations without a first thought.

The point of the article highlighted how vulnerable women must feel when receiving unwanted kind words from a stranger. “I love your smile,” somehow became an ominous subversive threat swirling with the potential danger of a dastardly deed.

Oh please!

I can’t tell you how many times I’m in the grocery store and I see a woman who has left her purse unattended in the front of the shopping cart, wide open, with the wallet shoved partially in. And yet people get upset about a compliment?

Y’all need a reality check!

People spend too much time worrying about the boogey man and how their life is impacted by unkind words and the imaginary threats to life and limb, yet every day put themselves in harms way without considering the actual danger they may be in.

Let me share an interesting thought:

Stop giving your power away!

What does it matter if a stranger pays you a compliment? Why does it have to be anything more than a compliment? When did your cynicism override your kindness to and for humanity?

Now, I can understand how you might be a tad unsettled if someone walked by you and said “I’d like to knock your head off” but we’re talking a compliment here.

And what if it IS more than a compliment, why are you giving it any power?

Words only have the power you give them. You become a slave to someone else when you allow their words to have power over you.

If someone gives me a compliment, I stop, smile, and say “Thank you!” And I get on with my life. It puts a smile on my face and gives me a warm fuzzy for a minute or so. I don’t spend my time wondering why they said that and what their true intention was.

I also give compliments quite freely… to strangers… for no reason. Gasp!! I like to put a smile on people’s faces. I guess that means I have ulterior motives. Bad me.

Just smile, move on, and stop trying to find so many things to be enraged about.

What does upset me is that I have a feeling if someone did say, “I’d like to knock your head off,” you wouldn’t be nearly as angry.

Stop giving your power away!

What does it matter what someone’s intention is? The only thing that matters is how you interpret (receive) their message. Your interpretation is a reflection of what’s going on inside of you, not what’s coming out of someone else.

If you want to use your power where it will actually do you some good, stop and think about your actions and your behaviors.

How about… instead of getting angry at the frat boys who harass and abuse girls at frat parties, expecting them to protect you from them, how about you not get so drunk you can’t remember what you did?

And here’s another beauty — If you don’t like how someone is treating you, stop complaining about your treatment, get your stuff and leave. Never go back.

Words don’t have power, actions do.

Take your power and do something useful with it. And when someone pays you a compliment, say “Thank you!”



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Life’s short. Eat the cake. Buy the car. Laugh until you cry. Please yourself. Be real. Always be honest. Live with integrity. Never give up. Be better everyday