Session 4 — Live In Your Power
It is important for a man to live in his power and strength. It is the strength to be yourself and the power to stand up for who you are. To be able to fully live there, you need compassion. Compassion is what tempers your power and strength.
Power is a core trait with men and masculinity. Power is about the mental ability to achieve anything you want or desire. Real power is achieved through persuasion and communication. Power is about influencing people, it's about conviction and character. It comes down to the personal power over things you can control, your decisions, your ideals, your emotions and actions.
There are eight types of approaches to power available to you:
- Legitimate Power, through position or duties, as a community member, as a father
- Referent Power, your personal standards and values, your behaviour and role model
- Expert Power, derived from your skills or expertise, through career and reputation
- Information Power, knowledge and communication of the information people crave
- Reward Power, giving others benefits or attention that have significance for them
- Coercive Power, personal power based on fear, threats or force, could be violent
- Connection Power, your power comes from being connected to a powerful person
- Veto Power, the ability to stop something happening or disrupt it in some way
All can be used as well as abused. Four tend to be most effective in influencing people without creating negative effects: Referent, Expert, Information and Legitimate.
Strength is the state, property, or quality of being strong; the ability to resist attack; the ability to resist strain or stress; the ability to maintain a moral or intellectual position firmly; the capacity for effective action.
Strength is the pursuit of the qualities that show your firmness, your ability or effectiveness of character. It's built gradually through accomplishing goals.
Strength is about knowing what to do and power is about putting it into action
According to Wikipedia compassion is a virtue. One in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy for the suffering of others are regarded as part of love.
Samurai's bushido code of behavior builds on compassion, kindness, and other qualities not traditionally thought of as masculine, yet they are. The Bushido Code comprises:
- Justice. Personal and professional integrity, a sense of working for the greater good
- Courage. Courage only exists in integrity. The essential ability to admit mistakes
- Kindness. The power to command only while showing compassion and mercy
- Politeness. For a man courtesy and good manners are rooted in compassion
- Honesty. Honesty involves abstinence and simplicity.
- Honour. A sense of honour, personal dignity, and worth characterize the Samurai.
- Loyalty. The requirement to remain loyal to those to whom they are indebted.
Set aside time to think through your answers to the questions. They are intended to get you thinking about power, strength and compassion. Write your answers either in this worksheet or start a journal. Also write your emotional or other reactions.
- How Do You Use Your Power And Strength?
- Do you think you are a powerful person, or do you succumb to other people's power? Do you use your strength to get attention?
- Do people respect and understand you or do they listen to you because you force them physically, emotionally or psychologically?
- Do you feel compassion for others, truly, or do you tolerate them? Do you have ways you can temper your power and strength with compassion, does this happen automatically or do you have to actively control yourself?
Finding Compassion for Others
There are a number of powerful ways of seeing how you are connected to people you resist. In fact, it has been argued that to see something in another that you resist or that bothers you, that same trait must be present in yourself. Seeing this commonality should move you into compassion.
Choose a situation in which you are judging, labeling, or feeling irritated by another person, if that is the case with your partner, she would be ideal.
Write down a description of what this person does that is difficult for you. Be as specific as possible about both the other person's behavior and your reaction.
Now temporarily suspend your judgments and irritations. Write as if you were the other person. Place yourself in her awareness, describing the behavior that you find irritating. Write in the first person, using "I" statements, speaking as her. Let yourself feel what it is to be her.
Consider how the other person is like you. What aspirations or concerns does she have that are similar to your own? What attachments and aversions might drive her behaviors? What do you have in common? Let yourself sense the commonalities. Find a place of compassion within yourself for the other person.
Practice commonalities. When you meet friends and strangers do the following simple exercise. Do it discreetly and try to do all the steps with the same person. With your attention geared to the other person, tell yourself,
Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life.
Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.
Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.
Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.
Just like me, this person is learning about life.