Power takes many forms, but it always falls into one of just four categories…
Maintaining control of your life is the most essential element of preventing people from abusing you. But what does it really mean to be “in control of your life”?
There are lots of things you can’t control. It may pour on your wedding day, you might not be hired after interviewing for the job you hoped for, and even the name you were given at birth is not a name you chose. July temperatures rise and carefully baked souffles fall.
Be that as it may, there are four key forms that personal power takes, and having control of these is absolutely critical if you want to avoid unhealthy relationships and have healthy ones…
The Four Personal Powers
Your Mind – your thoughts and all the information that affects them.
Your Money – your money and all your other possessions of monetary value.
Your Minutes – your time and your right to use it freely, as you choose.
Your Means – your access to all the things that empower you. These include the controlling of things like food, clothing, shelter, education, transportation, supportive friends, things you love or enjoy, and everything else that aids you in getting all your needs and wishes met.
These are the four things that you and only you have the right to control. Attempts by anyone to control of any of your four basic personal powers is a red flag, and should be carefully looked into and addressed. Keeping an eye on areas where people may overstep these boundaries is a must.
Here are a few examples of situations in which the above four powers are misused:
You are left out of the family communication loop by an angry, controlling parent who is displeased when you do not do their bidding. (MIND)
Your partner works a different shift from you and insists on taking the one car you share with them to work all day, stranding you at home during your time off unnecessarily. (MEANS)
Your boss expects you to take a “working lunch” at your desk despite company policy to the contrary. (MINUTES)
Your sibling misallocates your contribution to the family fund that is set up to help care for an elderly relative. (MONEY)
The Four Personal Powers are about setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. Keeping a close eye on these powers goes a long way in terms of identifying which behaviors you should put limits on and which people you may need to limit or eliminate contact with.