Recently, someone who I went through a very difficult time with last year–breaking my trust–asked me, in all sincerity: “Did I hurt you?”
The question struck me by surprise. It was asked honestly. But the answer was so obviously “Yes” that the question was strange. I couldn’t figure it out. How could this person not realize that they had an impact on me?
I sat with this, and realized that the reason for their question was that they had no faith in their ability to affect other people. They were completely disconnected from their own power. Because of that, they could not perceive when they hurt people. And unfortunately, it also meant that they could not fathom the many ways in which they could positively affect other people’s lives.
This was an extreme case, but most of us–myself included–can forget how powerful we are. To bring awareness to your own power, pay attention to your interactions with others. Recognize the ways you can affect other people–big and small, positive and negative. Be honest.
For example, this morning in my boot camp exercise class, I was paired with a girl who was there for the first time. I told her at the beginning of the class that she should look to the group in front of us to learn what the next exercise in the series was going to be. But instead of paying attention, she kept on asking me to tell her. I could feel myself withdraw and grow frustrated. I was not as helpful as I could have been. As a result, I could tell that she did not feel as supported in the class as she could have been, and maybe felt a bit lost. On reflection, I realize that if I had more compassion for her, she could have had a more positive experience. In turn, I would have felt less irritable, happy that I was helping someone.
The point here is not to judge myself for being out of sorts in the class. The point is to recognize that I had the power to make a difference in this girl’s experience. Because I lacked this awareness during the class, I missed an opportunity for connection and support. Practicing this awareness (even after the fact) makes me realize that there are chances all around me to be a source of light and comfort to others. Realizing the power I have to make a difference, I want to make more of an effort!
It is also important to be aware of and rejoice in those moments when we DO come out of our shells and positively affect people. Even our small acts can truly lift someone else’s spirit–providing them with love, encouragement, and inspiration. One simple example is when we make the effort to feed someone’s spirit with a smile.
I recently had a fun reminder of my own power to uplift! As I have been blogging, I have made some great friends in the blogging world. We read each other’s posts and support one another. One blogger, Nicole Cody, at Cauldrons and Cupcakes, (a delicious blog about cooking, writing, and psychic adventures!) posted a very captivating story last week about a psychic reading that she did, where she discovered that a wife was poisoning her husband. Not only was this an amazing story, but she told it beautifully, in clear and captivating prose. I was immediately reminded of how I felt when I was a little girl, reading books from my favorite fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones. I mentioned this in a comment, and suggested that Nicole could write a fantastic young adult psychic novel. So . . . one of Nicole’s latest posts is about how, after reading my comment, she plans to do exactly that! It is a thrill to realize how Diana (in England), influenced me (in the States), leading me to influence Nicole (in Australia), who is now on her way to writing a book that will reach children around the world. What a beautiful web!
All of us have the ability to impact others. It does not matter where you come from, what your social or economic status might be, or what talents you possess. When you share yourself with others, you become part of the incredible flow of life. Honor your power, and use it to uplift others.