When most people think of power, they think of power-over. This is because that’s the only kind of power recognized by the control paradigm, and most of us are stuck in the control paradigm. But the truth is that power shared is power multiplied, just like love shared is love multiplied. The similarity of these two sayings is no coincidence. Just as power-over is rooted in fear, power-with is rooted in love. It all boils down to fear and love — just like everything does.
All power rooted in fear is false power. But not all power-over is rooted in fear. Mark Silver gives the excellent counterexample of rescuing a child from traffic. You’re exerting your power over her, forcing her, controlling her to get out of harm’s way, even if she struggles against you. What matters most is acting from love instead of fear.
Power-with is a form of dependence. It’s interdependence. But from the outside it can look a lot like codependence. Codependence is when you have an ego that is hurting and you direct that hurt inward. You ask others “Please have power over me and hurt me because I deserve to be hurt”. Interdependence is when you let go of your ego’s desire for control and let your walls down. You say to others “Here, I am sharing my power with you.” And if they turn out not to be trustworthy, you aren’t betrayed, you just made a poor choice — and you move on.
With great power comes great responsibility. It’s incredibly scary to realize how powerful you are. It’s quite a perspective shift to realize that you are fully capable of changing the world, but then instead choose to sit on the couch and play Mario 64.
When the control paradigm does fall apart, people are going to look for a new story to be in. Where are they going to look? They’ll look at people who are already living a different paradigm. They’ll look at people who are working together in cooperation, mutual respect, and love. They’ll look at us — all of us. By being ourselves, loudly and proudly, we can help a new paradigm take root so it will be ready to bloom when the old one comes crashing down.