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Chatterbox: The power within


Anyone who has ever watched that television show, “Bridezillas,” knows just how completely empowerment can seduce a person.

It is when we are getting to choose, but especially when we are in complete charge and being indulged, that who we are as people is clearest. So, what do we do and how do we treat people when we’re in charge?

I will share that this column sat dormant for several months in my computer. A recent situation made me realize it needed to be shared. Helping someone during a charity photo shoot in the area, I was asked to assist one of the photographers, which I gladly did. I have many years of formal photo work experience and did my best to assist this lovely, young gal who was exhausted past ideas for shoot material.

Shortly into the shoot, another photographer arrived. She curtly and rudely told me to “take a seat, far away” and to (with a rude gesture) pretty much “shut up.” I deferred so as not to embarrass anyone. Days later, I realized that the moment was a cosmic nudge to finish this column.

The term, “Bridezilla,” and the television show it birthed, is almost euphemism for the bride who believes that her bridal status allows her to command everyone involved and around her, often forgetting that they are her loving and supportive friends and family, who also want her day to be perfect. Her status should induce a cautionary, if not downright magnanimous, manner, but then, she wouldn’t be a Bridezilla. These gals aren’t alone in feeling power’s privilege.

When we gain power and control over any situation, how we handle it, motivate, instruct, or refer to others, and the requests we make of them, all indicate who we think we are. Our behavior doesn’t just control the outcome of a situation, it drops a dime on us and how we regard, respect and show gratitude to, others.

It’s a rare bird who can display great compassion, altruism, and cool politics when empowered. It’s the mark of not only a confident person, but a fair, empathetic, smart and competent one as well. It’s a heavy crown, as illustrated by the older photographer at the shoot, innumerable Bridezillas and, dare I add, the rich and powerful of every country. There is a flip side here, though, as there is with many things. More important than how we behave when we have power, is how we behave when we need to muster it up for ourselves.

We, as people around the world, are each and all called to rise to act more often than we even realize. In the face of injustice toward any people, animals or even our planet, we are better when on the side of what’s right – right for they who need us the most. Even if what’s right isn’t popular, isn’t best for us personally, or doesn’t benefit us personally, we must stand and lend our energy to it.

We all almost always know, instinctively, what’s right. Doing it in the face of controversy, against personal gain, or against popularity, is very difficult. When we are done, the feeling of having been on the right side – whether for the public or just our own family history – will read well for us and rest best with us. When we remain complacent, when we don’t wear our empowerment well, when we end up on the wrong side of our own life story or history, the power may be elating but it will be short-lived.

It may be humorous or a bit of a stretch to tie a fairly non-consequential photo shoot, an out of control Bridezilla, or any personal experience, into the life changing choices we make every day. Still, we do each shape our lives, as well as impact upon the psyche and fragile, vulnerable feelings of those around us, even children, with the moves we make and the words we utter, great or small.

At home, at work, at large, in our private, public, and political thinking and influence, it is imperative we wear our power well, and adjudicate very prudently and compassionately. Others will remember what we did and the way we prioritized. Once history, these things, the memories they make, or impact they have, will not change.

What we create every moment isn’t just what we remember about ourselves, but what we build on, what we want others to remember about us, and what we pass on to our kids.