Take Your Power Back

We each have our own unique lens through which we view the world. More often than not, it is distorted or skewed from reality. Not only do we see things from a biased perspective, we often surround ourselves with people who think like we do. When someone tries to hurt us, we tend to close ranks and collude with our friends to make ourselves feel better. It may work in the moment, but we end up spreading the same kind of hate we’re trying to get away from. Recently, I was inspired (as I often am) by my twin 13 year old daughters Madison and Mackenzie, and the way they chose to handle a certain situation. Seeing things through their eyes can give me a new perspective, and as adults we can learn a lot from the example they recently set for their peers.I’ve never been a 13 year old girl, but I know it isn’t easy. Navigating social media, with its possibilities for both widespread applause and intense criticisms, makes being a teenager even harder these days.A few weeks ago, a so-called friend of my daughters had created a video making fun of them and the pictures they posted on Instagram. Then they posted this mean spirited video on all their social media channels, where my daughters’ classmates could view it.Most people would lash back out or hide in a corner and feel bad about themselves. As a father I was extremely proud of the way my daughters chose to handle that situation. You can choose to take anything hateful and turn it around. It’s all about your perspective. My daughters took that misguided action and made it powerful. Here’s what they didn’t do:

-They didn’t play the victim.

-They didn’t lash back out at the “friend” or call them out by name.

-They didn’t give those bad remarks about their looks the power to hurt them.

What they chose to do is instead was to take the high road. Rather than worry about who was going to see the video, they took control of the situation and turned it around. They shared the video on their social media platforms, with the caption: “There’s a video going around of us and we’re going to share it with everybody.”Essentially, they were saying: we choose to rise above and take control of the situation. I don’t believe these negative comments to be true and I want to show you that I don’t believe them.In doing so, they owned the Kryptonite that was supposed to hurt them. Posting the video liberated them from the fear of who was going to see it. They took a video that could have been a vehicle to make them feel less than and it showed their strength, conviction and belief in themselves.The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the power of the words we use to ourselves. The words someone uses to speak about you can only hurt you if on some level, conscious or unconscious, you believe the words to be true.My wife and myself have always tried to instill the belief in our daughters that they are strong, powerful women that can change the world. Watching how they reacted to this situation ensured me that they have taken these positive words to heart.They refused to let the negative words of someone else hurt them, and perhaps even more importantly, they refused to make someone else feel less than in order to feel better. When they posted the video, they didn’t call out the “friend” who created it. Rather than caption it #yousuck, they wrote #iforgiveyou. They understood that the person is fighting their own battles, and they only did this so that for a brief moment they could feel significant.Unsurprisingly, my daughters’ decision to share the video on their Instagram page garnered a lot of positive response. Their post had 500-1000 views of people who commented on how beautiful and smart they are, and how strong they were to turn this incident around. People made comments like:“I wish I had the same confidence you have.”Not only did they take ownership of the video and refuse to let it bring them down, in sharing it with others, they helped liberate other kids by providing a positive example. As adults, we can also learn from the example of these 13-year-old kids, and how they refused to be shamed or to shame someone else.You always have a choice to change the lens through which you view the world. Everything in your life is how you view things. You don’t see things how they actually are, but through the lens in which you view them.My daughters have taken the victim role in similar circumstances, but this time they decided to change the lens. They chose to take back the power. They chose to feel good on their own merit, surround themselves by the right people, and to never let anyone else take that power away from them.____For more insightful perspectives from Chad Sanschagrin with Cannonball Moments, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.   You can also subscribe to our podcast, the Cannonball Mindset. 

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