How are you giving away your power?

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Do you like feeling out of control? I know I don't. It really depends on the situation, though. I'm happy to relinquish control of decisions like what to eat or which movie to watch. In those situations, I choose to not make the decision. Having a choice is having some control, isn't it? 

When I work with my INFJ coaching clients on things like mindset, perspective, possibilities, and options, we're really working on taking back control. Having control means being empowered. Oftentimes more power (and control) is already at their fingertips with a little adjustment to the words they use. The same is true for you.

Do you want to feel more in control of your life? More empowered? Then let's look at how you might be giving away your power every day through the power of your words.

The importance of language to INFJs

There's a trend among many of the INFJ women I've coached where the importance of words and language is elevated. This trend shows up when we pause to find the right word to express a thought or feeling, but never quite settle on one that feels just right. I've also observed an excitement in my clients (and myself) at hearing a specific word or phrase that lands and beautifully captures an idea or experience.

We often deny this curiosity in words when we think and speak about ourselves and our circumstances. We allow ourselves to be bound by the rote and lackluster, worn out words that give away our control to something outside of ourselves.

If you consciously choose the words you use in thought and speech, you'll retain more control in your life and feel more empowered as a result. So how do you know when you're giving away your power through your words? It starts with awareness.

Words and phrases that leave you powerless

When we say or think any of the phrases below, we're giving our power away to something outside of ourselves. We put ourselves in a helpless position. We're at the mercy of other people or external circumstances.

Do other people have an impact on our options at times? Yes. Do external circumstances sometimes influence us? Yes. The point is to consciously choose to retain your power through the way you think and speak about your situation—no matter where you find yourself.

Let's take a closer look at some of those worn-out and powerless phrases.

This always happen to me.

This thought pits us against the world. The phrase "happens to" indicates powerlessness. This phrase comes straight out of a victim mindset. Instead, ask yourself, "What's my responsibility here?" At times, your only responsibility may be to yourself. You can take control of the way you think about yourself. You can take measures to protect yourself. Other times, you may need to examine your actions (without blame, guilt, or self-judgment) to consider your role in the repeating patterns. You can also ask yourself, "What can I control in this situation?"

I don't have a choice.

Telling yourself you don't have a choice makes you powerless. This phrase means that someone or something makes your choices for you. It means that you're completely dependent on something outside yourself.

The great news is that you always have a choice. Granted, it may not be the choice you want to have, but you always have a choice in the way you think about things. You always have a choice in the words you speak. Get really clear on the choice(s) you do have when you observe yourself thinking or saying this phrase. Make a literal list of all your options, even if they seem silly. The point is to prove to yourself that you DO have a choice in all things.

 I don't have enough ___ (time, money, etc.)

Ohh. This is a doozy because it's so common, and I hope I don't lose you here.

When the majority of us say we don't have enough of something like time or money, what we really mean is that we've already chosen how we want to spend our time and money, but we don't want to acknowledge where we've currently chosen to invest. The hard truth is, where we currently spend our time and money reveals the things we value the most—and examining that closely can feel vulnerable or exposing.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about situations in which you literally cannot work enough hours in a day to buy enough food or pay your rent or mortgage. In those situations, we really don't have enough money.

But that's not true for most people. As hard as it may be to accept, our time and money are spent on the things we value most. When we say we don’t have enough time or money, we really mean we’ve already chosen our investments. I know, the truth can hurt!

To take back your power when it comes to time, consider saying something like, "I haven't taken the time" or, "I'm choosing to spend my time on ___ instead." You could also consider telling yourself something like, "I've already filled my hours with the most important things."

To take back your power when it comes to money, try "I'm not ready/willing/interested in spending my money on ___" or, "I'd rather spend my money on ____" or, "I place a higher value on ___." 

What do you think? Did you notice anything about yourself as you read through these examples? Did anything hit a nerve? Those are often the places we need to examine the most (but without judgment, blame, or guilt!).

Take the next 3-5 days to observe and analyze the words you use in your thoughts and when you speak. What patterns do you see? Even if we've spent a lot of time increasing our self-awareness of how we show up in the world, these phrases can sneak back in, especially when we're tired and need to recharge.

You have strength, bravery, and courage inside you, just waiting to be used in these situations. You have the power to take control of your life. Where are you giving it away?