Two Kinds of Power

fear dog Gandhi

Power as a topic fascinates most people. What is it? How do you get it? Why do you want it? Depending on who you ask, you’ll find a wide range of answers to these questions. Some will say that power is abundance: the ability to get what you want whenever you want it. Others will say power is safety: the ability to protect yourself and those you love.

I’m sure that each of us probably has our own personal definition of power (and if not, it might be worth pondering), but I like Gandhi’s take on the topic. And if I tweak his quote a bit, I can stretch it to say that power is the ability to create either fear or love in someone else. I’ve never seen power described exactly this way before and I like it, if I do say so myself. Somewhat reminiscent of the Machiavelli quote regarding whether it is better to be feared or love (he chose feared), it offers two paths toward obtaining a desired result.

It won’t surprise you to read that I believe our patriarchal cultures emphasize the use of fear over the use of love. Fear as a mechanism for power depends on external strength (physical, financial, political, etc.) in the material world. Love as a mechanism depends on internal strength of the heart. Given the times we live in, both are needed, but to reclaim balance in our world I believe we need a whole lot more power brought on by love instead of fear. Kind of like what my grandmother used to say: You get more flies with honey than vinegar. Not sure why she wanted to attract flies, but that’s another story.

Seek Balance: What do you do when you want to feel powerful?

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About Vicki Matthews

Award-winning author, naturopath, and teacher who is passionate about establishing balance in our world.
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