Personal empowerment is a hot topic these days. It seems more and more people are beginning to understand that true power comes from within. It cannot be given to us by anyone else. But we can give our power away. And most of do, in thousands of tiny ways every day. If you feel like you are the victim of your circumstances or that you need someone else to make decisions in your life, it may be time to reclaim your power.

Stop Playing Victim

The first step to reclaiming your power is to release the idea that the world has done something to you, or that things happen in your life because of other people. If you are in an abusive situation then of course you need to leave it right away. But in most instances we choose to play victim roles because they allow us to blame other people for the circumstances in our lives.

Think about how frequently you blame other people for not having or doing what you want in life. This could be your parents, partner, children, or co-workers. How many times a day do you get upset because someone does not do what that person is supposed to do? Every time we make another person responsible for our happiness or well-being, we give a little of our power away.

From now on, catch yourself every time you start to feel victimized. Every time you feel like something is happening to you over which you have no control. See if you can find your part in it, how you chose or orchestrated the situation, even unconsciously. Even if the situation was caused by someone else, can you choose to find solutions and lessons rather than wallowing in blame and helplessness?

Learning to take responsibility for our lives brings the power back home to ourselves. When we stop pretending that someone else is in charge of our lives and choose to be accountable for our current reality and what we want to create in the future, then we reclaim our strength.

Connect to Your Inner Power

When you are connected to your internal power source, you are less likely to give your power away to another person. You can tap into your inner power source while sitting in meditation and using your imagination to feel power move through your body.

Another way of reclaiming your power is to connect to the center of your body. You can do this through deep breathing exercises that include awareness of the navel center. Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi, certain forms of dance, and other body-mind-spirit practices often include cultivation of this connection to inner power. In Eastern cultivation practices the power center of the body is called the Tan Tien (dahn-ti-en), and it is understood that staying connected to this part of the physical and energetic body is essential for healthy, empowered living. Even vigorous core-based exercise like cardio kickboxing can help you feel more connected to your inner strength.

Discover and Honor Your Boundaries

Reclaiming your power includes knowing when to say yes, and when to say no. Trying to please others by agreeing to everyones desires and demands only weakens us and makes us tired and resentful. It requires profound self-awareness to discover our personal boundaries. Sometimes we may not realize until we have crossed them that we are doing a disservice to ourselves. But with careful observation we can learn what is healthy for us and what is not.

When you are engaging with other people, practice listening to your own body and energy. When someone asks something of you, notice how you feel. Do you feel like you have to agree to that persons request, or do you have the power of choice? If you do feel compelled to say yes, why is that so? Practice saying no to the things you really do not feel good about (within reason, of course. You still have to follow certain rules like obeying traffic laws and paying for groceries).

Learn to Love Yourself

This is the big one. If you truly learn to love yourself, you will no longer feel tempted to give your power to another person. So often we give our power away in a bid to earn a persons love and respect. But we usually do not actually love people who do this. We may stay with them out of comfort or ego-gratification. But healthy relationships are made of two whole people who love and respect themselves fully, choosing to love and respect each other in mutually beneficial interdependence.

Reclaiming your power may be the single most important step you can take in your life right now. Our health, happiness, ability to manifest our desires, and creativity are all linked to our connection to personal power. Stop playing the victim, discover your healthy boundaries, and cultivate self-love, and you will be much more centered in yourself and effective in your life.