This week I want to talk about power and how we exercise it. I’m often in workshops where women tell other women not to be afraid of their own power and to stop giving it away.
A power that many of us don’t exercise is the power to leave. For some reason many of us get in the habit of going to a job we don’t like, complaining about the people who work there, how the boss is taking advantage of us, or people are gossiping all the time. All of that may be true, but we don’t have to stay or engage with people who disrespect us and who try to sap our power and self-esteem. Sometimes we don’t know we’re entering a toxic environment until it seems like it’s too late.
But it’s not too late. As hard as it may be to leave a job or situation we’re used to, we can start looking around for something better. Don’t get comfortable with dysfunction or think that people belittling you or bullying you is normal.
Start looking for a change
While you’re looking to move on, use your power to leave the room when you’re with people who seem toxic. Toxic people are like the flu, they keep spreading. You don’t have to stand still and get infected.
Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you have the power to leave
Next time you start feeling like a victim, stop yourself and start a discussion about possible solutions. Ask your friends for support as you take action.
Stand up for yourself
At any time in a conversation with someone who is disrespectful, you have the power to refuse to interact, or respond. Take control and don’t be afraid to say, “I’ve had enough, and I’m done until you change the way you behave toward me.”