Power is the capacity to do something or to act in a particular way. It is the ability to produce an effect. We can think of power being used in two ways. There is ‘power over’, where power is used to control and dominate others. Or there is ‘power with’ where power is shared and used to achieve common goals.
Two great Kings met in a land far off and long ago. The first King, gazing up at the highest building in the town said:
“Do you see that building? I could command any of my subjects to go to the top of the building and jump off it. They are so afraid of me, I can make them do anything. That is how powerful I am”.
Replied the second King:
“Do you see that small hut in the distance? I could knock on the door of that hut or any like it and the people in it would put me up and take care of me for the night. I could sleep soundly knowing that I would be safe wherever I lay my head in my Kingdom. That is how powerful I am”.
Both Kings showed two different types of power. Discuss the nature of the two different types of power.
We all have the power to effect change. Sometimes it is obvious how our actions effect the world around us. Other times it is not. But we can never fully see the effect of our actions on the world because the effect of what we do ripples out in ways that we can’t fully see or understand.
To act more effectively in the world for ourselves and for others we need to empower ourselves. The following exercise can help you access the supports and resources that help you feel empowered.
Try finishing these sentences:
I empower myself by…
What empowers me is…