Recently I was part of an online chat with other yoga practitioners. The topic of “owning your power” came up. I think there’s a lot of confusion in the world right now about what it means to “own your power”, but the sentiment seems to be something like: “Stand for what you believe in, speak up, choose your direction in life, and don’t let others decide your path for you.”
Pretty much every time this topic comes up, I see a very specific puzzle appear. Here’s a paraphrase of one person’s struggle with it:
I want to own my power. But there’s someone in my life whom I care about and who’s stuck in their ways. I’m scared they’ll get hurt if I stand my ground and speak my truth. What do I do?
Another version I often hear goes something like:
I find myself going along with things my husband insists on, just because it’s easier than arguing with him. I’m scared that we’ll just fight more if I own my power and push back. I love him and I want our relationship to be strong, but I hate myself for crushing my own voice.
Yet another that I’ve heard from more than one teenager:
My mom drives me nuts. I want to move out. But if I do, I think it would really hurt her. I’m worried she’ll get depressed and maybe even do something drastic to herself if I leave. I don’t know what to do.
The struggle is something like, “How can I be empowered when that might hurt people or relationships I care about?”
I think there’s a clear answer now. It just isn’t very widespread yet. That’s in part because there isn’t a lot of clarity about what “owning your power” means. So attempts to share the answer often sound strange or callous or impractical.
But I think the answer is immensely practical, deeply compassionate, and very, very needed today.
I’d like to try my hand at sharing it here.