When we think of a powerful person what comes to mind? An army commander? A boss? Someone in politics, business or culture?
We all possess a great deal of personal power within ourselves but knowing how to tap into and balance that power is a challenge. We often believe power to be a masculine trait. Now, maybe we see it displayed by both men and women, but the idea of “power” probably calls to mind an aggressive, go-out-there-and-get-it idea.
We think of power as grabbing, asserting, dominating, controlling, right? While this is one type of power—masculine power—there is an opposite and equal counterpart: feminine power. Think of it as a yin and yang. Masculine power asserts, feminine power envelopes and holds. Masculine power reaches out, feminine power receives and attracts.
Now, feminine and masculine power traits are displayed by either gender. It’s not to say women can’t be assertive and dominating, or men can’t be nurturing and attracting. There is a spectrum within each of us, but learning how to balance our masculine and feminine power sides will help us achieve and receive more.
One of the strongest aspects of feminine power is in silence. Again, this isn’t to imply women are quieter than men (or should be). It’s not about gender. Both men and women can learn to become better listeners and how to wield silence as a powerful, positive tool.
When we think of using silence to our advantage, we probably think of freezing someone out or giving them the silent treatment. This is actually a misuse of the power of silence. Silence can be used passive aggressively, but if we want to use silence to attract more positivity and personal power into our lives, we shouldn’t be using it as a weapon to harm someone or prove our point.
In our book The Heart of the Fight we discuss the common types of fights couples experience, and one of the most common is the Hidden Middle Finger. We’ve all been there, before—when a partner really ticks us off, so instead of opening up about it, we silently sit and stew. Maybe we conveniently “forget” to do something for them they asked us to take care of. Maybe we’re simply quieter than usual so they’ll notice our irritation.
You see, on the Engagement Continuum, there are seven levels of engagement—from destructive to neutral to constructive and creative. Stonewalling and the silent treatment fall into the destructive first level. It’s a sign two people are disengaged (after all, can you be more disengaged than not speaking and outright ignoring?).
However, as we learn to become more engaged and work our way up the continuum, we experience another side to the power of silence. Holding space for someone else—acting as a receptive, silent, positive presence is vital for deep engagement. When we’re listening and connected to another person, we’re taking them in. We’re attracting them. Our silent presence is extremely powerful and a force for good. Silence is representative of strong engagement.
Think of the sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—this powerful soldier stands to bear witness and to guard. Their silence is extremely powerful, yet it’s positive and protective. They’re awake, alert, present and engaged.
When we’re fully present, engaged, aware, and open, others are drawn to us. They’re attracted to our way of being and pulled into our energy. Others want to be around us because we’re dynamic—they feel better when they’re with us and look forward to spending time with us.
We’ve all met someone who lights up a room; whose very presence is attractive (not speaking in terms of physical attraction but their draw). When we meet someone who’s like that, we want more!
The good news is, we all have the ability to tap into the power of presence. Presence means being engaged. It means tapping into what we like to refer to as “flow.” You know the feeling you get when everything is going well. You’re in harmony with the universe around you. You’re crushing it at work, you’re tackling your goals, you’re loving life: that’s flow. It’s such a dynamic feeling it’s almost palpable. When we’re buzzing with flow we feel alive and energized!
To tap into this flow, we must embrace both yin and yang sides of our personal power. We’re speaking our truth. We’re being honest, open communicators. We’re engaged with others and focused on a higher purpose. We’re asking for what we want (masculine power) and we’re attracting what we need (feminine power).
You see, power isn’t only about getting, taking or demanding. True power is a balance. It’s about engagement, play, joy and tapping into our flow! It’s about being open and receptive to the wonders the universe has in store for us.
If you’re ready to live a life of more—more satisfaction, more purpose, more flow and more joy—focus on cultivating the yin and yang of your personal power. Use masculine power to speak up and ask for what you want and use feminine power to become more present, attract and engage.
To learn more about bringing MORE into your life, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Don’t miss our great downloadable courses which are available for a special introductory price. We’re so excited to offer some of our best lectures and lessons online! Don’t miss out!
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.