Don’t get lost in the five fogs
With almost anything you do in life, you do it more powerfully if you are clear about what is happening and what you want. That applies to getting married, getting divorced, getting a new job, or leaving one.
To be personally powerful is to be in charge of yourself. With personal power, you are not a victim. If you can stay out of the five fogs, you can live your life with greater clarity and therefore, more personal power…
The fog of negativity
Negativity cuts off the world of possibility both for self and for others. I call negativity a “fog,” because negativity creates a little world. The negative person can’t see very far. He or she frequently uses phrases like, “I’m just being realistic.” Sadly, that limited world is their reality, and they see themselves as victims of that reality.
The fog of codependency
Codependency is the merging of your identity with another. When you derive your identity from your partner, you cannot see clearly who you are, therein “the fog of codependency.”
However, the psychology is the same if you merge your identity with a cause, only the fog may be denser. If you derive your identity from a cause, you limit your clarity and your personal power. The cause can be extremely worthwhile– environmentalism, Christianity, pro-choice, Islam, feminism, or housing the poor. The cause does not create the fog. You create the fog by deriving your identity from it.
Martin Luther King was a very powerful leader, not because he merged himself with a great cause, but because he didn’t. Instead, he maintained his personal clarity of vision while leading a cause. He also stayed out of the other fogs.
The fog of hopelessness
Hopelessness is a devastating emotional state. It is a feeling of being a victim of life, whether that life is poverty, an alcoholic and/or abusive marriage or a life sentence in prison. In fact, those stuck in poverty or abusive marriages often refer to their circumstances as “life sentences.” There is no clarity or personal power. The fog of hopelessness is so dense that its victims can see no way out.
The fog of lack of direction
We’ve all been caught in that fog at one time or another. I certainly have. I have followed what seemed to be a good idea, but then was distracted by a pull in another direction, and then another, and another. People often don’t realize they’re in the fog of lack of direction, because they are too busy going in all directions at once.
It often takes getting to a state of overwhelm, of being pulled in 10 directions at once, to make you realize you are in a fog. That’s when you need to step back and reflect on your core values, attitudes, skills and wants in life. Only then can you rise above the fog and regain clarity about your life direction. Above the fog, you have the personal power to pursue that direction.
The fog of alcohol
Maintaining clarity of purpose and personal power requires determination and effort. It can sometimes be scary knowing that the buck stops with you. It’s very easy to take a drink and make that fear disappear. It’s more comfortable in the fog. There are fewer demands in the fog. No one expects you to have vision in the fog of alcohol.
However, make no mistake: alcohol kills clarity, so it is a very real fog. However, it is your choice not to abuse alcohol. If you are addicted, it is also your choice to conquer alcoholism, with help if you need it.
To live powerfully is to take charge of creating your future, instead of letting the future be something that just happens to you. It takes a clear mind to choose the future you want and to follow your path.
Think for a moment of the times you have been fogged in and couldn’t see your path. Now reflect on when and how you rose above the fog to live with clarity and personal power.