Knowing that we are responsible for giving power to someone or something to be exercised over us, allows us to have a look at how we do it.
If we look under the surface we find a very interesting dynamic playing out. Power closely links to our perception of status. This is the brain’s default mechanism to place us in a pecking order once we engage in a social relationship.
If the brain perceives that our status is protected or enhanced it moves towards the person or situation that enhances our situation. Linking back to the relativeness of power that depends on the recognition of a quality, it is understandably that we give power to those who enhance our status.
When we perceive that our status is threatened or broken down, we immediately activate our defence mechanism. One of which is to engage in a power struggle.
The moment we engage in a struggle, the need to be in control moves to the foreground. This is a reactive or secondary need. The primary need is for certainty. Our brain does not like uncertainty and moves away from it.
As these two principles are major drivers in our interactions, we need to be aware of our belief systems, mind maps or mental maps regarding status and certainty.
Evaluating our mental map of status is an observation of our comparison ability. We inadvertently compare ourselves to others. It is normal. My question is “What are your measuring criteria?”
Do you compare using material possession or external physical looks? This is the same as trying to measure the ocean with a yardstick. Not very smart.
My suggestion is to measure yourself with yourself. When you are your own criteria, the criteria are: Do you live out your potential? Are you true to yourself? Have you lived today in such a way that you may die tonight and smile, knowing you gave it your all?
How will this measuring criteria influence the power you allocate to other people?
Our mental maps around certainty hinges around our perception of change. Change for most people implies uncertainty. We tend to feel comfortable if we know what is going to happen next and uncomfortable when we don’t.
Again this is normal. The problem comes when we get stuck in the need for certainty. For change is the only true certainty.
Sounds paradoxical? Well it is, and that is the beauty of it. It is in the tension between two seemingly total opposites that life happens. Life is never one dimensional. Change is constant. And we need to acknowledge this.
When we embrace change we also activate one of the brain’s pleasure centers. You know – that good feeling when you buy a new pair of shoes or when you smell that new car smell. Well that same center activates when we embrace change.
In our allocation of power, it would be to our advantage if we keep this tension between change and constant in mind. Is this person or thing I am giving power to, going to enhance certainty or change? Which is best for me now, change or more of the same?
I assume that when we become more aware of our own thinking in a power struggle, the struggle part dissolves and only the conscious exchange of power happens.