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Akanna Okeke: 5 Ways You Give Your Power Away

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Everyone is ultimately responsible for themselves and their actions.  However, we are always too quick to blame everyone else –government, parents, bosses, friends, witch doctors –but ourselves, for the consequences of our own actions.

The truth is that we all seek to change the behavior of others.  Some of us seek to do it the right way, through influence; where we put out our work with the hope that it inspires others and influences some change; while some of us do it the wrong way, through control.  We try to change others by being controlling.

Whoever is on the receiving end of these two kinds of people –the ‘influencers’ and the ‘controllers’ –always has a choice to make; a choice of whether to allow themselves to be influenced/controlled or not.

That’s right, we allow ourselves! Nobody takes our power away from us without us giving it away by ourselves.

Here are five ways, I’ve noticed, by which we give away our power voluntarily, and allow ourselves to be influenced or controlled by others.  I hope you are able to find yourself in at least one of them and if not, then you are at least able to grasp the concept and use it to identify your own unique situation.

Reacting, Rather Than Responding
You might be familiar with the story about the cockroach in a restaurant that flew and landed on a woman and she screamed, trying to get it off by jumping around and waving her arms frantically.  The waiter then came towards her and it flew onto the waiter and landed in his chest area and he gently looked down at it and picked it up with his hand.

That story has been aptly used to illustrate the difference between reacting (which the woman did) and responding (which the waiter did).

Reacting is weak.  It is a sure method of giving your power away, sometimes even to a roach unfortunately.

If someone is able to cause you to lose your temper/composure by what they say or do, they are in control of you.  You have just given away your power to them.

The responder, on the other hand, is temperate.  He thinks before he acts and therefore, acts rationally and not emotionally.  When you respond, you remain in control, with options and choices.

So if you feel yourself reacting, by getting hyper emotional at something or someone, step away and regain control of yourself.  Then, you can choose the best way to respond.

Standing for Nothing
You might be familiar with the old saying, “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.

Being rooted in your own beliefs is very vital to not being easily offended.  Those who ‘react’ when other people declare their religious beliefs, political views, their take on gender roles, and other such views that have to do with a person’s orientation; are often people who are not sure what they actually believe in.

We all know that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is feminist but we don’t see her jumping from one blog post to another, attacking writers who have expressed their contrary views.  She just does her thing and everybody knows where she stands.

If you have to react to every single write-up you see that opposes what you think you believe in, then you may want to check yourself to see if you truly believe in anything.

Those who don’t stand for something feel threatened by others because they are not yet rooted in their own beliefs.  If you are easily offended –highly irritable –then you unfortunately fall into this group.  You need to get rooted.

Borrowing
This is the most conscious, voluntary and transactional way to give your power away.

You must have heard that “the borrower is slave to the lender”.  A car loan means that the bank owns the car until you repay; same thing with a home loan, and other kinds of loans.

Being in debt means that someone else gets to determine how you spend your income. And if they don’t like it, they have the right to question you about it.  That doesn’t sound like peace of mind, does it?

If you owe a family member some money, you will always feel the need to explain and justify to them why you are taking that vacation with your kids, or why you just made a new purchase of anything major.  Even if they don’t seem like they demand an explanation, your guilty conscience would still prick you every time.

We should try to get out of debt, any opportunity we get.  Freedom is paramount.  You don’t want to be a slave.  You don’t want to willingly sign your power away to someone else to control your life, or a portion of it.

Get debt-free as soon as you can.  Owe nothing to anyone, but love.

Dependency
This is a very tough one because we all have people on whom we depend.  It could be a parent, a friend, an uncle or a spouse.  We depend on them to meet some or all of our needs.  It is okay to depend every once in a while, but not to become a dependant.

I believe we should all take responsibility for ourselves, and this means always moving toward that state where we are able to independently take care of most of our own needs.

The truth is, once they pay your bills for you, they own you! This is true about your parents, under whose roof you may live, your uncle that constantly sends you pocket money, and, yes, even your job (that pays your bills) and the boss that controls it.

These people have ‘something on you’ –they indirectly control how you use your time and make your decisions.   The ideal would be to be weaned from those on whom you depend, even your job.  I believe we should all strive to become independent business owners and have much more control over our time and how we make our own decisions.

Having No Boundaries
I’m currently reading a book, which I recommend that you read.  It’s called Boundaries and it’s written by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.   It teaches how to say ‘No’, when to say ‘Yes’, in order to take control of your life.

If you find that you have a problem saying no to people, or that you always feel the need to defend your actions and explain what you do to others; then you might have a boundaries problem.  You have not set appropriate boundaries in your life so that others don’t walk all over you and take advantage of your time and resources.

Our African culture is very communal and so we are not taught to have boundaries. Anyone can butt in on you without respecting your time, and think it’s okay because “that’s how we all grew up”.  Visitors come unannounced to your house because they were in the neighbourhood, and after all “your house is our house now?”

Having boundaries is the ability to mark off your life in such a way that you multiply your love for others and minimize the problems you face.  And if you want to learn how, just get the book; it’s currently opening my eyes to tons of realities.

So there you go… five ways you give your power away. Do you agree with these? Did you see yourself in any? Do you know of any ways by which we give away our power and let others control us?

I’d like to hear from you, as I learn from you as much as you learn from me.

Photo Credit: Chris Miles | Dreamstime.com

22 Comments

  1. Anny

    April 4, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks… This made a lot of sense to me.

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 5, 2017 at 7:06 am

      You’re welcome, Anny! Glad it made a lot of sense to you!!

  2. Nakoms

    April 4, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    This is a very good piece. Better than the usual man vs woman topics.

    Only point I have a different opinion is on the borrowing part. There is nothing wrong with borrowing if it’s for investment and you have a well laid out plan for payment. The lack of borrowing is the reason why businesses are not able to move to the next level.

    Most truly successful businesses have used leveraging (borrowing) in one format or another.

    • A Real Nigerian

      April 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      In your mind now, you’re making a reasonable contribution. Mtcheeew.

    • Nakoms

      April 4, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Sister me why are you always wound up like this.narrative? Take it easy. Life is not hard na. A little positivity will do you a world of good. Have fun. Go get laid. I’m not being sexist, spending some time in the other room f**ing will help relieve the stress.?????

    • A Real Nigerian

      April 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      “Have fun. Go get laid. I’m not being sexist, spending some time in the other room f**ing will help relieve the stress.?????”

      Typical retarded Nigerian response. Expected.

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 5, 2017 at 7:13 am

      Hey Nakoms, thanks for your comment!

      Yes, I think when the repayment of your loan comes from the proceeds of whatever you used the loan for, then that’s a healthy way to borrow- and that’s where leveraging comes in.
      Consumer debt, on the other hand is not really a smart move because the loan repayment doesn’t come from the purchase made.

      We can try as much as possible to avoid debt. I know of a few billion-dollar companies that are debt-free in the US, and have stayed so for many years. I think we should study em, as they seem to understand how wealth creation TRULY works.

  3. A Real Nigerian

    April 4, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    “We all know that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is feminist but we don’t see her jumping from one blog post to another, attacking writers who have expressed their contrary views.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa!!!!
    Wooooooooo!!!!!! Someone is still saltaaaayyyy ?????

    Please, write another informative article on how women “don’t have logic again and cannot be good leaders”. We are waiting.

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 5, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Thanks for commenting!

      And yes, expect more informative articles! 😉

  4. Ronks

    April 4, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I always enjoy reading your write ups and was pleased to see what your reference to the book boundaries! I just read their book boundaries in dating and reading another of their books 12 crazy xtian beliefs! Insightful men!

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 5, 2017 at 7:16 am

      Thanks Ronks! Yes Boundaries is amazing..Didn’t even know about it until recently. I’ll check out the two other books you mentioned! Thanks for that!!

  5. Anne

    April 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I find it hard to understand why some people can’t just respect boundaries. I remember asking an aunty to ask her friend if she could give me her friend’s number and she was a little impressed I thought that way. Most Nigerians don’t respect boundaries. I went to visit an uncle ( mum’s younger brother ) and chose to write my name by the gate. Right now, I protect my space a lot from the onset because some people are not trained to respect boundaries. Someone takes them home and they start making rules as if they own the house with you. The day the nanny said she did not like noise because I played Christian children’s video in the morning, I made her understand the fact that children live in this house. Anyone who does not like noise should live alone ,as long as I am not disturbing my neighbor. It is my territory. That is just an example. The fact that someone opened up their home or life to you does make you an owner
    Be realistic about your current status, work to get better but don’t be a parasite or you could be wonderfully insulted.

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 5, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Amen, Anne! Amen!!

  6. Akanna Okeke

    April 5, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Hey Nakoms, thanks for your comment!

    Yes, I think when the repayment of your loan comes from the proceeds of whatever you used the loan for, then that’s a healthy way to borrow- and that’s where leveraging comes in.
    Consumer debt, on the other hand is not really a smart move because the loan repayment doesn’t come from the purchase made.

    We can try as much as possible to avoid debt. I know of a few billion-dollar companies that are debt-free in the US, and have stayed so for many years. I think we should study em, as they seem to understand how wealth creation TRULY works.

  7. funmilola

    April 5, 2017 at 9:53 am

    every time Akanna writes on this blog, I learn something new and its very cool. I totally agree with all the points especially borrowing, I find it very hard to borrow because I won’t sleep well at night.
    now,i , have to go get the book.

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you, Funmi! I’m so glad that you’re able to find value in my articles. Yes, I agree with you- it will be very hard to sleep well at night with debt dangling over your head. It’s hard to picture it until we get into it, unfortunately.
      I definitely recommend Boundaries! Please get it, it is Christian too, and it eliminates all the excuses Christians use to let people walk all over them, with scripture too!

  8. Ndidi

    April 5, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    A sure way of giving away your power is actually being in, or thinking you’re in love. The other person becomes the boss of you for that time, and you just become a mumu looking on.
    I don’t know what the remedy is,

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 5, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Hahaha, I think it’s okay to be vulnerable in relationships..you just have to make sure that the other party is vulnerable too, so that it’s more of an interdependent kinda relationship – not codependent or any other dysfunctional type…that’s probably the cure lol!
      You’re so funny though! Enjoyed reading your comment, Ndidi!

  9. Marian

    April 6, 2017 at 3:42 am

    My husband and I were talking about the SAS conference just now and he said – “Akanna writes columns on Bellanija” – I was all OMG!! Mehn, I for don get your autograph o. I partied with a star 🙂 hehe. Very humble and fun somebody!

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      LOL!!! You all partied like rockstars!!
      Thank you, thank you- I’m even more humbled by your comment! I hope we somehow get together again and do some more partying! hehehe…miss you guys already!

  10. Uzo Emodi

    April 7, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Thank you Akanna for this post. It made a lot of sense. I wish you can give insight on how to take charge of ones emotions for highly emotional people like myself. Thanks!

    • Akanna Okeke

      April 8, 2017 at 7:24 am

      Hey Uzo, you’re welcome! Glad it made a lot of sense to you.

      I will do some more studying on mastering emotions, but from what I know so far, I can say that you’re right on track for being aware of the problem. That is the major work when it comes to emotions – becoming aware. Then, you have to make sure that your emotions are only indicators and not dictators – i.e. they let you know that something is wrong, but they shouldn’t dictate how you respond.
      Meditation is a very powerful technique for raising awareness, which helps with mastering emotions.

      it’s an interesting topic and i think I’m gonna look into it and write an article perhaps! 🙂
      Thanks for writing in and planting this seed! lol

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