Wisdom Workout

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The Personal is Political 

By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Carol Hanish’s essay written in 1970 questioned whether women’s consciousness-raising groups were a useful part of the political women’s movement.

In the piece named “The Personal is Political” Hanish said that coming to a personal realization of how “grim” the situation was for women was as important as doing political action because “political” refers to any power relationships, not just those of government or elected officials.

No matter where you stand regarding this new administration, it would be helpful to revisit your relationship with your unique personal power base. I think this is necessary because of the extreme polarization that is currently swirling around us and creating divisions that are more pronounced than ever before.

Personal power is formed by your awareness of and relationship with your individual needs and your clarity and actualization of your core values.

When your needs and values are aligned, you benefit by having a synergistic partnership between your thoughts and feelings. That clarity informs your behavior personally and interpersonally. For example: Let’s say that two core values that you hold are to extend kindness to others and to be honest and direct in your interactions.

In order for those two values to work in harmony, you will be required to strike a compromise with unrestricted honesty and your intent to do no harm with your words. When grappling with where you stand, you will create an opportunity to make discerning choices. Instead of being a communication butcher who only values cutting, you evolve into a communication surgeon who will not cut unless you can also suture any possible wounds.

Position power gives you clout in the world. It can add to your status, your accomplishments and it can help to ensure that your phone calls will be returned. It can also be taken away as a result of external life changes.

Personal power is an inside job. It requires personal vigilance so that you learn to respond; become response-able to all aspects of your life. No one can take your personal power from you unless you allow it.

Your personal power grows as your self-knowledge expands.

Susan is a local author. Her book “Beyond Intellect” addresses emotional intelligence issues. You can reach her at: susanvelasquez.com.


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