When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness. —DALE CARNEGIE


Learning to survive and prosper in the jungle of life takes more than just luck and hope; you need to be prepared for what you may face. Last week’s article discussed what you can do when face to face with self-pity, click here to read that article.


This week’s article will again focus on helping you survive and prosper in the jungle of life by helping you develop awareness of another of the jungles traps: getting you to give away your power!


Each and everyone of us has the power within us to meet the demands of life’s hardships. Yes, even you! The power to find a way. The power to choose. The power to cope. The power to adapt and change. The power to overcome!


This power comes from your ability to maintain personal responsibility and keep your power to choose! Each and every day, the jungle will seek to rob you of this by getting you to give away your power to circumstances and/or others. Leaving you a victim to your circumstances and/or others and rendering you virtually helpless.


You must remember that the jungle cannot take away your power by itself; it needs you to give it away! The following is a list of examples where you have given away your power:


  • When you believe that other people can MAKE you so angry that you do and say terrible things.
  • When you are easily and deeply offended by other’s comments, opinions, or negative feedback.
  • When the kind of day your having DEPENDS upon circumstances and others for that day.
  • When you spend a great deal of your time complaining about others or your circumstances.
  • When you spend a great deal of your time complaining about all the things you HAVE to do.
  • When you believe that what happened to you has MADE you this way; especially after many years have passed since the event.


What you are seeing in each of these scenarios is that you are placing your power into either other’s hands, or your circumstances. Then, you become completely dependent on others or your circumstances for how you think, feel, and act. When this happens, you have completely given away your power over how you think, feel, and act and will forever be controlled by other’s and/or your circumstances.


The following are some ways you can reclaim your power and break free from this trap (which is the only option you have to have a chance at getting better):

  • Use words and phrases like, “I am choosing to …,” or “My responses got me in this, therefore my responses or choices get me out!”
  • Stop being reactive and instead take personal responsibility on how you are going to respond.
  • Take personal responsibility for your choices and responses. This isn’t about blaming you, it is recognizing that you have choices on how to respond and make choices. If you feel you have no choices, then you are being trapped and gave away your power.
  • Learn to properly handle criticism and negative feedback without just reacting.
  • Setting healthy and emotional boundaries with people.


Learning to take back your power can be challenging. However, it is the only option you have if YOU seek to get better. Don’t wait on others or your circumstances to do this for you. Reclaim your power and move forward with improved mental strength!



Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently helping people develop resilience at his private practice counseling office in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or schedule an appointment online at