7 Ways You're Giving Away Your Power


I recently received an email from one of my readers asking me about giving away power. That term gets thrown around a lot and it got me thinking:  what does it even mean to “have power”? To me, power is the ability to create change in your life. Change for the better. Growth. It’s to be in control of your reactions and to feel your feelings. It’s to understand and accept who you are, what you want, and to make no apologies for any of those things.

Power is not about intimidating others or using aggression to get what you want. Power is about knowing your worth enough to ask clearly and with confidence for what you want. (Tweet that!) Because if you don’t, the answer will almost always be “no”.

Perhaps people are also unclear about what it really means to “give it away”. I’ve complied a list of things you might be doing that are clear indicators that you’re giving away your power.

1. Hustling for your worthiness: Brené Brown says, “hustling for your worthiness” includes, pleasing, perfecting, pretending and proving. In other words, if you’re not feeling you are worthy of love and acceptance, you might find yourself going overboard trying to please everyone by doing things you don’t really want to do, or saying yes when you really want to be saying no. Perfecting is just that. Busting your ass to make sure everything is tied up with a pretty bow, hiding your feelings that might look “messy”, and working on making your outsides look like a million bucks because you’re afraid of what might happen if you actually admit that you’re falling apart inside. Pretending might look like saying, “Fine” when really everything isn’t. And proving is that constant needing to show the world what you’re doing and feeling, all in an attempt to cover up what’s really happening inside.

2. Tolerating toxic relationships: Everyone has someone in their life that ranges from not bringing out the best in them, to totally sucking the life and soul from them. It could be a family member, friend, co-worker, anyone. If you’re tolerating these people and their toxic behavior, you’re essentially giving them a part of you that isn’t being reciprocated. In other words- if you’re putting up with their bullshit antics, you’re crating a roadblock for the kind of relationships that deep down you really want and deserve.

3. Being overly passive: Some people are naturally passive. And if that’s your inherent personality, that’s a beautiful thing. However, when you give power away is when you fail to stand up for yourself. When you have that feeling in your body that tells you that you’ve been wronged and you do nothing about it. When you take shit from people and you know you shouldn’t be. This usually boils down to fear and lack of confidence.

4. Letting your dreams just be dreams: You have one, we all do. Maybe it’s not to be the next American Idol; maybe it’s to be happier. Or healthier. Whatever it is, if you sit around and wish for it, and your next thoughts are, “But, I can’t because……” you’re cheating yourself. You’re giving away your power to your inner-critic. You’re essentially spoon feeing it.

5. Being manipulated: (Oh man, do I have personal experience with this one.) Manipulators have one goal: to control other people in order to get what they want. The way they do this might vary (threatening, giving you guilt or demeaning you, or even flattery) but basically their goal is always the same. By not standing up for yourself, not setting boundaries, or by making excuses for your manipulator, you’re giving your power away.

6. Not believing in yourself and/or not accepting yourself: Taking charge of your own power is determined by how you feel about yourself. You can basically use how you feel about yourself as a barometer to measure not only how much power you have, but if you’re going to use it. Every time you give you power away under any circumstance, you’re showing yourself and the world that there is room for improvement in the realm of believing in and accepting yourself.

7. Allowing your inner-critic to make decisions: If you live in a place where your inner-critic— or “gremlin” as I like to call it— is on constant replay in your head, you are giving your power away. Your gremlin likes you to live in fear of the unknown, paralyzes you in indecision, and keeps you stuck.

Bottom line: You have the power to create what you want. It’s inside of you. You are more powerful than you ever imagined. By giving it away, it’s like throwing your hard earned money in the air for others to take. Why not keep it and use it?


And hey– if you’ve ever been interested in becoming a life coach, or are already a coach, I’ll be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, June 30th on the 6 biggest mistakes coaches make in their businesses and how to avoid them. 


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10 talking about this

  1. I have always been a very passive person, but 3 years into a relationship, I realised that everything had always been ‘his’ decision and I was putting up with being treated like crap. I started standing up for myself, making massive decisions on my own, telling him I didn’t like when he did XYZ because it made me feel like crap. I think he must be a manipulative person because he couldn’t take me changing for the better and he ended the relationship. Best thing that could’ve happened to me. I was not my true self when I was with him and I am so much happier now. I am trying so hard to make myself a better person every day, including remembering that I have the power to control my life. Thanks so much for this post Andrea! Love your work! xoxo

    Lana wrote on 4/4/2012 - 11:14PM | permalink
  2. Hi Lana! Thanks so much for telling this story, I love it! SO important for people to hear :) xo

    Andrea Owen wrote on 4/5/2012 - 12:56PM | permalink
  3. I read this the other day and it hit me right between the eyes in regards to a very specific situation I am dealing with right now. I am writing a blog post about it and plan to link to this post. THANK YOU!

    KCLAnderson (Karen) wrote on 4/6/2012 - 5:51PM | permalink
  4. Lana, Brilliantly written! Very inspiring!
    Thank you

    Mary Lyons wrote on 2/21/2013 - 12:30PM | permalink
  5. I’m interesting in this topic “ways you give away your power”, because I see this often around, but unfortunately, sometimes I see this in me. Besides those 7 ways mentioned, one can find that, when one is angry, when one blames and points the finger toward X or Y for justifying chaos in its own live, you actually give away your power. Those kind of posts are useful.
    Good article, thanks.

    Catalin Mezdrea wrote on 4/22/2013 - 12:37PM | permalink
  6. Glad it was helpful, Catalin! ;)

    Andrea Owen wrote on 4/22/2013 - 1:29PM | permalink
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  8. Comment

    wrote on 5/11/2014 - 12:25PM | permalink
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  10. thankouvery much in grattitude very helpful sometimes i wonder giving even power away is giving without profit.

    robert hershkowitz wrote on 11/9/2015 - 1:33PM | permalink