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How to Unleash Your Power Within

Mary is an organizational development specialist and writes about today's challenges.

Believe in Yourself

Believe in Yourself

It's not uncommon for your lived experience to shape your confidence. I know that my upbringing was the reason for many of my behavioural choices. Here I share the story behind why I was the way I was and how I developed the methods I used to become my best self.

Reflecting on Your Upbringing to Empower Yourself

I had lived in the shadow of my sister for so long that I hadn't realized I had repressed myself. From this experience of self-discovery, I formulated this list of tools that helped me figure out who I am and how to shine.

Ways to Unleash Your Power Within

Here are some of the ways you can unleash your power within:

  1. Learn How. New knowledge is crucial in today's world for excelling in the workplace and your mind-body relationship. There is so much information on the web now. As one podcaster said, ignorance is a choice in today's information age. It's so true. Most of us Google any information needed or go to Youtube to learn how to do things from cooking to repairs or creating something. Working on yourself can be the same process.
  2. Enhance Your Awareness. Sharpen your senses and listen to your mind, but hear your heart even more. Meditation can be helpful as it enhances your understanding of your outer environment and inner self. There is so much help online on how to do meditation. And once you get some insights, don't stop there. Take action when you increase your understanding of yourself and the world around you.
  3. Make Conscious Choices. As your awareness grows, you realize that some of your preferences resulted from what happened in the past. Often, they come from your subconscious, the repository of the emotions from past experiences. Understand your history and its effects on you, but reevaluate your options. You are no longer in the past but in the present. Be aware of the moments when past experiences, prejudices, or the subconscious determines how you look at problems but choose to live in the present. Respond from your inner self, primarily from what your heart whispers. I am not talking about willpower but what your inner self says. The more you do this, the more you'll recognize the difference between sheer willpower and your inner voice.
  4. Spend Time and Energy on What Matters to You. You are not living your life for anyone but yourself. Your life is precious, so spend your time and energy on what gives you the most pleasure. Always for the greater good and without intent to harm. It is your life. Doing things that matter definitely energizes you.
  5. Continue to Make Choices that Lead to Your Transformation. Practice and keep doing it until it becomes your new self. Many things you do each day result from our doing it every day of our lives. You do the same with these new choices. You will find yourself returning to your old responses, but don't let this stop your progress. Catch yourself and make the necessary turns. Give yourself time and a pat on the back for your accomplished success.

How did I formulate all of this wisdom? Read on to learn about my journey to becoming the best I can be.

Second Child

Second Child

My Journey to Finding My Internal Power

One afternoon as I was going to do the laundry, all of a sudden, a strong feeling of tiredness enveloped me. I muttered to myself, "I'm so tired." As I thought about this, I realized the many moments in the past when I said the exact words. My husband brought this to my attention one day, saying, "you did not do anything; how could you be tired?"

That feeling bothered me, so I started thinking about it. I asked myself, where is this coming from? Why is this with me all this time?

After much thought, I realized that it went back to my being a second child. I came after a year of my sister and my mother was studying at the university then. With marriage and all its changes, I am sure the last thing she wanted was to have another child a year after the first. But then, I came.

How Birth Order Influences Perspective

My elder sister, being the first, gets all the attention. She was also fair and a cute baby. I wasn't, so I fell into a comfortable position of being always the second one asked for or noticed. Because of this, I always felt the tug in my stomach when scrutinized. It made me feel less than the other. I did not know it was still there; after all these years, making me feel uncomfortable.

This feeling influenced my life all through 70 years. I went from trying very hard to be number one to not participating in anything to fear that I would not be at the top. How I survived, I didn't know. Life was tiring. Everything made me tired. I spent my energy managing the situation, so I would never again place myself in the second spot. There were moments of spurts when I let go, but they were very sporadic.

So, all these years, I lived my life from this lens of being the "second one." I was, however, unaware of this. It shaped my life, determined my choices, and made me the person I am today. Being second, I tried hard in school and got most of the honours. I thought that my success in school made me overcome this. My sister and I had been on good terms. But without my awareness, that feeling still lingered, and its hold on me was as strong as ever. So, my life was terrific outside, but inside, I was tired. I was far from enjoying it.

I thought of the situations where I made decisions I regretted later, and what prodded such responses was this feeling of being second, not being valued as much.

When in a group setting, I was consciously assessing whether I was appreciated or not. I evaluated every sentence in a conversation, whether it was a slight to me. It was tiring as I spent all my energy on this. I hardly shared myself. I was far from listening. My friends found me distant. They couldn't seem to penetrate through me.

This feeling of not being appreciated made me get out of commitments, jobs, groups, and relationships. Each time there was a tiny hint that I was not that important, I flew out.

This flight had been the pattern in my life. I withdrew. So, I had never pushed anything through. I was bright and talented but never a major success.

My Turning Point (Or Paradigm Shift)

My husband was the first person who made me feel loved. But then, in our environment, were other people who mattered and were part of our life. They were all white, tall, beautiful, and accomplished. So being Asian, tiny, and uncomfortable in a new culture, I worked hard again to be appreciated, and I was, but I became even more tired. I always tried very hard in gatherings, so I never looked forward to being together with family or friends. I never enjoyed anything of what people see as a beautiful life. But slowly, because of their love and acceptance and my work on myself, I started to feel better and allow love to come into my life.

Yes, I worked on myself. I read books and took workshops. I went into myself and claimed the power within me. I started listening to myself, not just to my mind, which I usually did, but to my heart. I heard my heart for the first time, and I realized that my heart always told me the truth. Even when my lips spoke differently from the dictates of my mind, my heart would say otherwise. I started to make different choices from my mind and spirit, not the hurting self but the valued one. I stopped telling lies and owned my feelings about persons and situations. Slowly, I lived from my true self, expressing what I truly felt.

After this, things changed for the better. I felt I was myself. I no longer invented reasons for doing or not doing certain things. I began to open up my true feelings, no longer hiding them for fear that these feelings may not be accepted or might offend others. I began to express myself more truthfully, enjoying relationships, groups, and events. I no longer felt tired but energized and joyful.

New Life

New Life

Wisdom From the "New Me"

This new me also improved the way I relate with friends. I now connect with a more remarkable forthrightness: sharing among family and friends has become more meaningful.

I had a drink with our neighbours on their dock the other day. One of them told me she just got a call from someone she had been avoiding talking with for some time now, but this person got a hold not only of her cell phone but also of her husband's work cell phone, so there was no way of avoiding her. It ruined her day. It was such a beautiful day on the lake for that to happen. My immediate reaction was, why are you giving her power over your life? Why do you give her control over your life? Shake her off and claim your power back. Be the Master of your own life.

I think I came out so strongly. I surprised everyone listening but also myself. I should not have done that. I should have kept my mouth shut, for this neighbour only needed to vent her feelings. But it came out and, to my surprise, picked up by one of her nieces, a 21-year-old young graduate who agreed and shared ways to claim back your power. We all listened to this young lady's wisdom, and the conversation became animated as she outlined ways to make yourself the Master of your life. Everyone got into the sharing and identified little things they would do to claim themselves back.

Find the Path That Is Right for You

You may have made your journey to your inner self. You have taken steps that you find more effective than the five outlined here. Keep at it. The inner self is waiting and continues to introduce itself to us through our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It wants us to know it better so we can make our choices and decisions from its center.

Start living from this true self. This truth is power, more potent than intelligence, wealth, or beauty. Living from your true self gives you confidence, a feeling that this is your life. You own it. A life that is uniquely you. What better gift than this to offer our world.



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mary Norton


Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 28, 2020:

I'm glad to know another second child.

Kalpana Iyer from India on September 28, 2020:

Being a second-child who has a more popular elder sister, I could identify with a lot of things you mentioned. We go inwards, seeking the answers to all our questions, and that can get very exhausting. Thank you for sharing this very insightful article Mary.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 26, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your experience, Denise. We indeed have control, and we need to exercise such. Otherwise, we are victims.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on September 25, 2020:

It is true that we give too much control over our lives and our attitudes to people and situations. I had an event happen last week that threatened to ruin my day. I was in the depth of disappointment until it struck me, No, I'm not going to let that ruin my day. So I gathered my wits about me and just decided, Oh, well. I'll do something else. It was a great day after that. I didn't let it control me. Great advice.



Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 22, 2020:

Thanks, Li-Jen. Am glad you are visiting and writing again.

Li-Jen Hew on September 22, 2020:

Correction: *might not look at it the same way again

Li-Jen Hew on September 21, 2020:

Hi Mary, Congratulations for being on Hubpages for 6 years by the way! I noticed the notification on the Hubpages feed last week. Good to see you writing again and you have not lost your writing skills haha. I appreciate the wisdom you have shared in this piece and I can relate to your insecurities. Well, you have nothing to regret because you have learnt from your experience and wrote this article for us to learn from. Glad to know things went well for you afterwards. I enjoyed the points on how to unleash our power within especially point no. 3 Make conscious choices where we need to reevaluate our options. It reminds us to step out of comfort zones and look at something with fresh eyes, as we might look at it the same way again. Thank you for sharing! I will keep your message in mind.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 07, 2020:

You certainly have some gem photos here! Taking pictures and seeing the results is always fun.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 07, 2020:

Thank you for reading my article, Ellen. I share so people can also go deeper into their own selves.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on September 06, 2020:

I am so used to your well written travel articles. This article is just as insightful. I can so relate to much of this even though I was a first child. Thank you for sharing something so intimate.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 04, 2020:

Thank you so much, Peggy. I love taking pictures and sometimes, a few gems come out.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2020:

I am enjoying reading the comments on this article, as well as your words. What FlourishAnyway wrote is so true. We all have more in common than we think when just looking at outward appearances. Linda Crampton complimented you on your photos. I agree with her. They are so beautiful and look like a professional photographer took them. Enjoy the days ahead as fall and winter approaches.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 31, 2020:

Denise, thank you. I am sure my sister has to work on her issues, too. I am sure some would concern me, too. We all affect each other without meaning to.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 31, 2020:

Thank you, Dora. Your affirmation is helpful.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 31, 2020:

I know how you felt. I'm the oldest but I was always a little funny looking and my sister (second born) was the favorite, not with my mom but with my dad and all the neighbors and friends. I didn't seem to have any, or precious few. She was outspoken and funny, I was shy and reserved. My life now is wonderful. I live far away from her, most people know me for me and not because of my sister. I've taken back control as you say.



Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 30, 2020:

Mary, I love that you were able to explore your feelings. That in itself can make you feel tired, but you did it successfully. The insights that you share at the conclusion of your article prove that it was worth it. Keep moving forward with the confidence you share here. Thank you.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 29, 2020:

Thank you for affirming my effort, Flourish. I haven't thought of it this way, but you are right. Deep within, we are connected.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 29, 2020:

Thank you, Linda.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 28, 2020:

Mary, the power of your words is booming here and I love it! I like when people truly contemplate themselves then share their analysis as you have done. It’s so authentic. If more people did that we could all find more common ground.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 28, 2020:

This is an inspiring and very helpful article, Mary. Your advice and your photos are excellent.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Eric, you do make everything fun. That is what I enjoy in your articles.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Sp, you are right. We have often taken ourselves for granted or not taken the time to look into our inner selves, especially when so many things claim our attention.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Thanks, Peggy. You are right. All of us have some form of insecurities. Each of us has a story to tell of how we dealt with this.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

You know what Chitrangada? I agree with you about age. Things that used to affect me have no longer any power over me. I love being old.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 28, 2020:

Fantastic. Wonderfully done. You have me inspired to work better at it. The good part for me is that doing these things is fun!

Sp Greaney from Ireland on August 28, 2020:

This is really inspirational. Thanks for sharing your story and showing us ways on how to change things in our life if we are not happy with them. I think we are all guilty of not looking after ourselves.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 28, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your inner journey and how you overcame the feelings you had from the past. The molding of a personality comes from many sources, and if being truthful, I think that many of us have insecurities. You have shed light on how to take steps to unleash the power we all have inside of us and enjoy a better life.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 28, 2020:

This is an inspiring piece of writing, with lot of takeaways.

It’s so surprising that I can relate my own personal experiences of life, with whatever you have shared above.

When we are younger, it’s difficult to take a stand. With age comes maturity, and I feel things start to improve.

We continuously grow and evolve in our lives. Some of the things, which used to bother me, now I don’t care for them. Yes, one becomes assertive in due course of time. And, if you are confident and sure of yourself, you take charge of your life.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Thanks, Liz. It took me long but now am happier.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 28, 2020:

Thank you for sharing what you have learnt in your life to help others, who might have similar issues. I appreciate your openness and sincerity and it's good to hear that you have worked it out.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Thanks, John. I am glad to be able to inspire.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Those are wise words, Heidi. Yes, it took some energy and maturity that often comes with age but not always. When I was younger, I did not have the time to look into myself. I was busy building a career.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Thank you, Lorna. I like that poem so much in my youth. Maybe, because I desired so much to have some control over my life.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Just like you, Brave Friend.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2020:

Thanks again, Bill.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on August 28, 2020:

Mary, this is quite an inspirational story. You offer very good advice in how to unleash your power within.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 28, 2020:

Sometimes our thought patterns are developed without our ever realizing it. Like you, I now understand why I think the way I do. I also understand why others may think the way they do.

But it does take quite a bit of emotional energy and maturity to gain a healthy perspective.

Thank you for sharing your experience and insight with us!

Lorna Lamon on August 28, 2020:

This is an excellent article Mary and the last two lines of the poem 'Invictus' by William Ernest Henley came to mind when I was reading it. - I am the master of my fate - I am the captain of my soul.

Taking back your power, means you step out of the shadows of your former self and into the light of your true self. All your points are so valid and invaluable to those who read this article. Well written and thought provoking.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 28, 2020:

An interesting hub and makes me think of how I lived thus far through all the challenges in a foreign country. It is fulfilling to one's mind.

Devika Primic on August 28, 2020:

An interesting way to see life. Focus on what matters and everything else in life would feel easier. A well-written and informed hub about how one should live their lives and in a way of no stress. It is fulfilling and encouraging to have a mind of your own.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 28, 2020:

We've already spoken about this, so I'll repeat quickly: wonderful message you have delivered, Mary, one which would benefit us all. Well done!