Feeling powerless? Here’s what you can do!

Issues tend to show up in my clients in clusters — all of a sudden, a few will be in grief, or contemplating a major life change, or wanting to get over a heartbreak, for example. (I don’t know why this is. Maybe it’s just an astrological thing? One of my teachers said that when her clients all turned up with the same issue, it was always something she was going through, or had just gone through, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for me.)Lately, I’ve been having a run of people feeling powerless (names have been changed, as have the situations, though slightly, so as to protect the innocent):

  • Joe’s wife was raped. He knows he can’t really help her, except to be there for her, and so he feels angry, out of control, and powerless.
  • Jack, a supervisor, is about to have all his reports, who are contractors, changed out from under him, because his employer is changing temp agencies. While he’s not happy with most of the current bunch, the thought of having to train all new employees is daunting. No one asked him if this is a good idea, so he feels powerless and unheard.
  • Jane worked towards a hellish deadline for a month, and then got sick with a flu which became pneumonia. She feels like her body has betrayed her, and feels powerless against larger forces.
  • The company that employs Jenny is about to be sold. She wonders if she’ll have a job in another few months, through no fault of her own. This has happened to her before, so she feels powerless against the larger economic forces.

What can you do if you feel powerless? 

  • Recognize this as a reality check. Reality can sometimes be unpleasant, even downright ugly. That doesn’t make it your fault, so don’t beat yourself up about it. A rapist needs a victim, who knows why it was Joe’s wife? Companies change their vendors — and now Jack knows how important he isn’t. Jane had an opportunity to learn the limits of her body. Companies get sold — and unless you are the 1% (or probably the .1%), you are, in fact, powerless.
  • Recognize the power you DO have. Joe can comfort his wife in the aftermath of her trauma. Jack can teach his new workers, perhaps even to do a better job than the old ones. Jane can listen to her body and perhaps take better care of it. Jenny can polish up her resume, start networking, and in the longer term, work towards a specialty that is unique and will give her staying power.
  • Look for resonance to earlier events in your life, and resolve them, so that you’re only reacting to what’s going on now, and not also to the earlier ones. Joe was bullied when he was in junior high, and his wife’s ordeal brought that up for him. By resolving the remaining feelings about being bullied, he could be there more effectively for his wife, without letting his anger at the rapist be amplified by his anger at the bully.
  • Look for your lesson in this. There is a school of thought that says that your soul/ higher self  agreed to be in your situation for your own spiritual growth. If you learn your lesson, then the event creates meaning in your life. I think this is often, but not always, true. Accidents do happen.
  • Look for the deeper structure that makes you feel powerless. What is it in society that creates rapists, or allows them out on the street?What laws allow companies to act as they do, whether it’s changing vendors with no notice, or assigning impossible deadlines, or slashing jobs?
  • Band together to create change. Remember the old line, “You can’t fight City Hall”? You can — just not all by yourself. This is why unions were created. It’s originally why democracy was created. It’s why people raise money to research cures for diseases. It’s why the Occupy movement exists. With whom can you ally yourself to create the change you envision? And yes, be that change, wherever and whenever you can.
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.