Best Tips for Developing a Sense of Personal Power

Personal Power from the inside out

Do you wish you felt more empowered in your own world? You wish everything wasn’t always so difficult to move forward with, and that you could accomplish more? Or that you could have more impact or influence on how things go in life?

Lots of times we feel at the mercy of every one else’s demands or needs or expectations of us. We hate to say it, but often that makes us feel powerless or defeated, or without control over our own lives.

You might want to feel more empowered with your partner, or your kids, or your coworkers, or your boss. You notice you might be reacting a lot out of a sense of powerlessness and rage, rather than speaking clearly about what you need or would like. Sometimes you might even feel like a victim in a situation, which then usually makes you feel even worse.

Maybe you just need to shift a little your perspective about personal power, or the sense of agency you have…

You know, that part of you that has an impact on the world, makes things happen, is about living your life under your direction, and feels a sense of freedom to express. Your personal power emerges when you present your own thoughts, feelings, wishes, needs and you’re not always worried about what others say, or their judgments. When you make decisions that are right for you, and are not more dependent on someone else’s whims or discomforts. When you’re not wrought in guilt, or prioritizing taking care of everyone else. Your personal power helps you to know and care about yourself, and at the same time, not harm others.

Here are some tips and things to think about, in order to strengthen your sense of personal power in the world…

  • When you present as a victim, you are lacking in your sense of personal power. Let the powerlessness you feel guide you to what you need and help you to call upon your sense of personal power.
  • Recognize your own triggers. Be thoughtful about them and don’t give them away easily.
  • Anytime you’re beating yourself up, that is not the best use of your personal power.
  • Ask for what you want with dignity. Honor how hard that is, to ask for what you want. When you begin to ask in ways that other people can hear and potentially respond to, you are raising you personal power quotient.
  • Use “I“ statements. But not to be judgy or critical.
  • Respond rather than react. Take a moment between the trigger and your response.
  • Don’t let others’ demands, needs, reactions make you a victim in response. Own your own feelings.
  • You are in charge of how you react.
  • Set intentions at the beginning of the day for how you want to respond, communicate, feel. Remind yourself throughout the day of your intentions.
  • Accept your limits. Don’t apologize for them or justify them.
  • Show up as the partner, person you want to be, in the relationship you want to have.
  • Speak clearly, honestly, without blaming or shaming. Speak in a way you can live with and stand behind. That’s living with integrity.
  • You can have room for yourself; hold onto yourself and still be able to imagine what it’s like for others. Self-compassion helps build compassion for others.
  • Take the risk to discover your own truth and give a voice to it.
  • Avoid blaming, accusing, name-calling, lecturing, judging.
  • Admit to your own mistakes, and don’t punish or blame yourself for them. Try acting as if you have compassion for that part of you that made the mistake.
  • Look for vulnerability underneath your own surface feelings. Be open to what you may discover about yourself. When you express that, that’s courageous.
  • Assert yourself without harming others.
  • Don’t personalize everything.
  • Practice empathy and compassion. No better source of personal power.
  • Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you would a good friend. The best source of growing your sense of personal power.
  • Listen deeply; speak openly.
  • Take time to be with yourself. Really.
  • Feel good about who you are. Practice bringing to mind things that you are proud of, or like how you handled, or made room for, or felt internally powerful about. They might be really subtle – which is actually more powerful.
  • Learn to check in with yourself before reacting. Notice how your body or heart feel with different emotions.
  • Admit and accept your vulnerability – it helps you to take the risk to have close connections with others.
  • Think of your own sense of agency – earliest experiences and recent experiences. What makes these experiences personally powerful for you? Likewise, when you lack power…what makes those situations so?
  • Savor and install the feeling when you’ve done something well.
  • Learn that your thoughts are just thoughts. What you think is not reality, nor does it have to be believed.
  • To get a little distance from your thoughts, say to yourself, “I am having the thought that this will never work out.(or whatever the thought is…)” Then, for a little more distance, say to yourself, “I am noticing that I am having the thought that this will never work out.” This little bit of space between your thoughts and you gives breathing room for your sense of personal power to come forth.
  • Notice how it feels to be aligned with your own wishes, when your actions are not bent around others’ wishes or expectations of you. Get to know that feeling and install that feeling deeply, so it becomes more familiar to you.

I’d love to hear from you…How do you feel when your personal power is alive and well? Or what gets in the way of feeling personally powerful? Share your strengths and vulnerabilities here.

If you or someone you care about needs help to build up your sense of personal power, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
[email protected]
(510) 482-4445


  1. Kennedy Golden on May 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Another good and timely one. Many thanks. You have included some great suggestions/thoughts. I will be sharing this one with my small circle of family and friends who really are grateful for your clear guidance through some oft murky waters.

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