Almost every one of us gives away our power, unthinkingly.

For example:

  • Someone does something inconsiderate or infuriating that frustrates or angers you. You fume about it for hours. You've given this person the power to make you frustrated and angry, to ruin your day, often without them even realizing it.
  • You are lonely because you are alone, no longer with the partner who broke up with you. You have given away your power to feel loved to someone else, who perhaps doesn't want to give you that love.
  • You walk into a social gathering and hope to impress people, to gain their approval, to be liked. You've given away your power of being approved to others, who don't even know they have a responsibility to validate you.
  • You are still angry at your parents (or one of your parents) for the crappy way they raised you, or for certain things they did that screwed you up. You've given away your power to shape your own life, to people who haven't been responsible for raising you for years, since you became an adult.

In all of these cases, and many more examples throughout our day, we've given away the power to be happy, to be content, to be joyful, to other people, who haven't even asked for that power or realize you've handed it to them.

But actually, the power over these states of mind — approval, love, anger, joy — resides completely inside of us.
A Hidden Source of Power — by Leo Babauta