What’s your relationship to ‘the system’?

What does ‘the system’ mean to you? Is it your workplace? Is it the politicians? Is it the owners of big business? Is it the train company? Is it society as a whole?

We are all operating within a number of different systems, and how we feel about them, along with where we see ourselves in relation to them, can have an enormous effect on our sense of wellness.

I used to feel like a victim in relation to my employers. Ten years ago I worked at a university and for some reason, my perception at that time was that I was ‘less than’ my bosses, less than the institution. I felt like a very small cog in a giant machine. And that feeling provoked a feeling of resentment. I felt small, and I felt powerless.

I left to go travelling as soon as I could, and on reflection now I can understand a little more deeply why. Sure, I wanted to see some world, and travel is one of my values, but I also wanted to claw some power back. Because I gave all my power away by perceiving myself as small and insignificant, it felt like the only option was to leave, to try and find power elsewhere.

I now think very differently. Back then I thought my power was taken from me by ‘them’. Now I know it’s always more about me giving my power away through the perception of the situation. I could have seen my bosses as allies, as equals, and made suggestions about positive changes we could collectively make. I could have taken ownership of the situation.

What has helped me to find this shift is the realisation that it isn’t actually me versus the system. In actual fact, I am the system. We all are. Systems are created and run by other humans, who are way more similar to us than they are different. Each of us has way more power in the world than we think. We can change the situation we are in by remembering that we have as much power as the next person to step up and make a change.

When we are frustrated that the trains are late again we can get frustrated about how terrible the company is or we could take action as members of the system. We could give some feedback to the company, we could support their union to create a better working environment and thus happier, more productive staff, or we could create a different train company altogether.

We are way more powerful than we think we are. And we can have a much bigger effect on the systems around us than we might realise.

So what systems do you live within? How do you perceive yourself in relation to them? Where does the power lie? How can you change your perspective to see you are part of the system, and that being part of the system gives you the opportunity to change it?

With love, Hannah

Photo by Sam Erwin on Unsplash

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