Fundamentally powerless – external locus

By Dave Henning / July 17, 2020

“Some people see themselves as fundamentally powerless.  They don’t think they’re capable of changing their circumstances.  Things happen to them, not because of them. . . .  that’s your view on life when you have an external focus of control.  It’s where you feel like all power resides outside you.”- Jennifer Fulwiler

In Chapter 9 (“You Can Take Up Space”) of Your Blue Flame, Jennifer Fulwiler talks about one reason you find yourself unable to silence the audio track in your head.  The track that endlessly lists your feelings.  Hence, you operate under an external locus of control.

Yet, other people view themselves as empowered to change their circumstances.  Above all, they believe they possess the right to do it.  And they change what needs to be changed in order to thrive.  Thus, these people have an internal locus of control.

Certainly, the author cautions, it’s possible to take an internal locus of control too far.  Because no one exerts perfect power over the world, let alone his/her own life.  However, Jennifer observes, “there’s a difference between a healthy understanding that there’s only so much that we can control and feeling fundamentally powerless.”

Therefore, if you need to make room for your blue flame, you must affirm your right to take up space.  For when you feel powerless, you get in the habit of stepping out of the way and hiding.  So, when you feel like you’re disturbing the peace when you advocate for your needs, push through.  On the other side you’ll encounter a truer and more powerful version of yourself.

In conclusion, Jennifer offers these words of hope:

“When something feels off in your life, don’t default to assuming that the problem is that you’re not trying hard enough. . . . don’t jump to it as your first and only answer.  Then, on the occasion when you discover that the issue is not you but that your circumstances need to change, remind yourself to take up space.  Be bold, make waves. . . .  You’ll find that the peace you experience as a result is not only a relief to you but a gift to others.”

Today’s question: When do you feel fundamentally powerless?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Embrace the tempo of life that works for you”

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Dave Henning

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