The what and why of personal power

Written by Kathy Jacobson

Mar 26, 2024

In the movie, Shrek, Shrek compares being an ogre to an onion because they both have layers. This is not a new analogy; many have made the same comparison to the human personality. As a human, you’ve certainly experienced the complexity of human nature.

Since the inception of the original horoscope countless systems have been developed to explain how and why we are what we are. In addition to astrology, we have the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, Kiersey, IQ tests, skills surveys, and gene sequencing.

But does such an assortment of tools help us to know ourselves?  We can never really differentiate between what we were born with, what we were taught, what we’ve concluded, what influences us, what we internalize and what we rebelled against.

Personally, I’m a Sagittarius, an INFP, a 5-Thinker, an Idealist, the oldest of nine children, a European-American, and a baby-boomer. Although such explorations have helped illuminate aspects of myself I might otherwise have ignored, they have not helped me be truer to myself. I’ve still had to work with my own perceptions of myself.

So, what does my self-knowledge have to do with the way I access and utilize my personal power?

Here are three specific ways, self-knowledge and personal power interact.

  • The better we know ourselves, the more wisdom we bring to our choices. And from wiser choices we acquire a greater depth of personal power.
  • All the complex layers and facets of us influence the way we access power, and that in turn affects the power we can access.
  • Running through all those layers and facets is that un-specified and un-measurable aspect of self we come into this life with. For the sake of this discussion, let’s call this aspect of our personalities The Soul. This unseen part of us exists within us regardless of any and all physical influences.

I’ve been playing around with ways to illustrate this, and I finally came up with this:

Of course, there are more layers than that, and they are not discrete, they bleed into each other, feed on each other, influence each other, etc. And running through it all is that straight, broad constant, The Soul, that connects the layers and pierces through them.

So, we have our physical human-ness, and we have our soul-ness. Our soul-ness possesses unlimited access to infinite power. An important responsibility/opportunity of human-ness is to connect to our soul-ness and thus gain access to that deep inner power.   

Okay. So What?

From my years of writing and teaching fiction, I realized the importance of the question, “What’s in it for me?”  Characters must be motivated on a very personal level. Readers must be given reasons to care about the characters. Writers must see the reasons for employing various techniques. Good writers make it all personal. Always.

This is equally true when it comes to personal power. Why bother?  What’s the point?  What’s the benefit? Will it change anything? What’s in it for me?

Consider the following benefits of putting forth the effort and doing the inner work:

  • We’ll be happier.
  • We’ll find inner peace.
  • We’ll create better outcomes for ourselves and others.

          I like the word miracles for describing such outcomes. Since the concept of miracles may have as many definitions as there are people. I use it in a very broad, very non-religious way. I see miracles as extraordinary results, happening in unexpected ways. A miracle is an outcome we can’t make happen, probably can’t foresee, and certainly don’t control. We do, however, possess the elements of power to improve our lives.


When we talk about miracles and personal power, we’re basically looking at two distinct abilities, the ability to transcend and the ability to create. To transcend means to rise above physical circumstances by aligning emotions, thoughts, and actions for the purpose of creation. Since manifestation is such a huge topic, let’s concentrate on a few important guidelines:

  1. Free yourself of the afflictive emotions identified as Victim and Interpreter.
  2. Be clear about what you want to bring into existence, i.e. manifest. This can be as broad and universal as world peace, or as intimate and personal as mending a sprained ankle or bringing more harmony into your home.
  3. Make sure your core values support what you want to manifest.
  4. Understand there are always tradeoffs. To create something new will require you to discard something old, such as a belief, a habit, or an expectation, etc.
  5. Give your attention to your intention.
  6. Employ the emotions that energize what you intend to create.

For now, here are brief descriptions of the Modes of Emotion and how they affect manifestation.

The Five Modes

Victim Mode emotions tend to restrict power down to the weakest possible flow, but enough still leaks through to empower a declaration of no more. That simple choice transcends helplessness and creates an opening for something other than more of the same. To say No more fear (or anger, or hate, or despair) will not immediately dispel the fear (or anger, or hate, or despair); it does open the space for something else. It does illuminate the path into the next level of personal power.

People operating from Interpreter Mode emotions know they are no longer helpless. Compared to the thin trickle of power available in Victim Mode, the stronger flow vastly widens the spectrum of possibilities. Despite any continuing struggle, there is now sufficient power to transcend helplessness and to create action.

With Observer Mode comes a shift in the balance of power. Before, the emotions held the reins of power, now we become the master of ourselves. This is a transitional state, and transcendence has a circular quality.  As we transcend judgment, we gain the ability to create a desired result. The more we observe, the less we judge, and the less we judge the more we can observe. This process moves us inexorably away from Interpreter Mode and toward Partner.

Consider the following examples of this movement toward greater personal power:

Observer Mode opens the door to vast creative potential. We move from the zone of possibilities into the zone of probabilities.

Partner Mode emotions empower us to transcend limitations, including: financial lack, physical impairments, career stagnation, insufficient education, inadequate tools, entangled relationships, failure, etc. We now have sufficient power to create abundance, health, success, friendships, contentment, vitality, etc.

One of my sisters has had more health challenges than any ten normal people, beginning with a defective hip socket, discovered when she started to walk. She also has an amazingly cheerful outlook on life. The first medical intervention she endured was a year in a body cast as a toddler; since then, she has endured more surgeries than she’s cared to count. At twelve years old, she again spent a summer in a body cast. During those long months, she observed no one wanted visit a gloomy invalid, but they’d come and hang out with her when she was happy. All her life she has refused to find misfortune in her situation. She never complains, gets defensive, pities herself, or mourns a life she couldn’t have. She has created a beautiful family, a welcoming home, a wide circle of loyal friends, and myriad opportunities to serve and grow. One time a neighbor commended her ability to overcome adversity. The question confused my sister, who had never considered herself a victim. Looking for clarification, she asked without irony, “What adversity?”

Transcendence is possible for everyone. When faced with “adversity,” we can choose to rise above the situation. It may continue, but though our emotions, thoughts and actions we determine its impact on our lives. If we stay in the higher modes of Partner or Creator, we manifest the result we desire.

In Creator Mode, we gain access to the infinite wellspring of our personal power. I suspect we already experience and employ Creator energies in some aspects of our lives. Sometimes, with some people, in some situations, we experience love, happiness, peace, delight, etc. Sometimes we are stress-free, conflict-free, worry-free. Sometimes we experience that inner knowing that we are one with the universe. The no-upper-limits aspect of infinite means we can continue to expand in this mode forever and not exhaust the possibilities.

At this level we can transcend anything and create anything.

Manifestation may be magical, but it is not magic. There are no designated formulas, no set rituals, no worship, no requirements for membership. There are, however, principles and practices. For an expansion of these ideas and specific ways to achieve greater results, I encourage you to explore my website

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