Power/control is the ability to act or do. It is to have a sense of agency and self-efficacy in one’s life. Power/Control has a strong connection to discipline, motivation, and encouragement. Power/control allows us to work, to be productive, to learn, to act/do. It is the sense that if we do something, there will be an impact–it will make a difference. ‘I can make a difference in the world.’ Interpersonal Power/Control fuels communication, cooperation, collaboration, and synergy.

Without healthy power/control, we can quickly lose motivation and discipline. We may believe we’re chronically failing–like we’re a chronic failure. Ongoing powerlessness and lack of control may grow into discouragement and nihilism. Like the Nirvana lyrics, “Oh well. Whatever. Nevermind.” We may believe nothing we do matters. Unhealthy interpersonal power/control may manifest in efforts to exert power/control over others. Humans have a disturbing history of trying to fulfill their power/control emotional need through manipulation, greed, oppression, racism, violence, rape, slavery, and war.

Actions that cultivate personal Power/Control:

  • Learn to feel, listen to, and act upon emotions in healthy, productive ways.
  • Get good at meeting the first three emotional needs: Understanding, Acceptance, Connection.
  • Get good at the process of things rather than focusing on results.
  • Gain a better understanding of your story, your life, and why you do the things you do. In other words, understand your default operating system–your patterns. Then choose to act in healthier ways.
  • Practice being more assertive and perhaps a bit less agreeable.
  • Physically create–paint, sculpt, carve, weld, garden, build, repair, etc.
  • Learn something new and put that knowledge into action within 48 hours.
  • Focus most of your time, energy, and efforts on things within your sphere of control.
  • Make and keep a physical fitness goal. Focus your goal on the process rather than the results.
  • Practice sincere curiosity with yourself, especially regarding feelings of powerlessness and feeling out of control.
  • Practice a breath and/or body meditation.
  • Limit your news intake. If you do pay attention to the news, try local long-form journalism rather than clickbait or stories with hyperbolic headlines. Act in a productive way.

Actions that cultivate interpersonal Power/Control:

  • Practice holding boundaries and accepting boundaries.
  • Surround yourself with people who are skilled at communication, cooperation, and collaboration.
  • Intentionally make a new friend.
  • Serve and uplift those who may be less fortunate than you.
  • Make a request to someone.
  • Fulfill a request from someone.
  • Practice being more assertive and perhaps a bit less agreeable.
  • Make and keep promises to those close to you.
  • Do your therapy work, especially patterns of exerting power/control over others.
  • Go out of your way to help a stranger.