6 Ways to be more self-possessed

There are certain people who can walk down the street or into a room and command admiration and respect.  I’m not one of them.  It’s not down to the way someone looks or dresses, although that can help in getting attention, but something deeper in the energy that person brings into the room.

According to podcast fave Tonya Leigh, being self-possessed means having or showing self-possession, composed in mind or manner, calm, collected, composed, cool-headed, peaceful, serene, undisturbed, unperturbed, untroubled, unshaken, poised. When you possess something you own it, so being self-possessed means to own yourself.

TL talked about several areas of ownership:

  1. Owing your past – owning your story of your past.  We may have certain feelings about how we grew up, or who we were when we were younger, and hide parts of ourselves from others.  You can’t change your past but you have control over the story about your past.  All of those challenges and feelings of negativity or shame, or dislike for our past actually shape the person we become.  When we start to own the story of our past, we start to become more self-possessed. Tell your story in a way that empowers you and sets you up for an incredible future. You then start to appreciate the lessons from your past and how it has shaped you. 
  2. Owning your emotional life – taking responsibility for how you feel all of the time, without blaming anyone else for how you feel.  This can be uncomfortable as we want to say that someone else made us feel angry or upset but you give your power away.  When you take responsibility for how you feel you get to decide how to respond to it. When you look into why you feel anger, sadness or hurt or worry, you realise that you are the creator of your emotions all of the time, so when you decide you’re tired of feeling that way and you want to feel different; you can because you own it.
  3. Owning your self-opinion – you get to create your self-opinion and how you want to think about yourself.  Your self-opinion creates everything in your life.  If you think you are lazy, you will create laziness in your life.  If you think you are shy, you create evidence for that.  If you think you are not good enough, you will create evidence for that.  Equally, when you own your self-opinion, you can create self-opinions to drive new actions and new behaviours.  We base our self-opinion on what we think others think of us or on evidence of the past. You need to create new evidence to support the new self-opinion of you.
  4. Ownership of your desires – own them unapologetically.  Secretly we might want something but are afraid to admit it.  Maybe you’re worried about what others might think, or whether you deserve it.  When you own your desires you start to line up your thoughts, feelings and actions with what it is you want to create.  The first step is admitting it to yourself, being 100% honest with yourself.  The only thing that matters is liking your reasons for wanting whatever it is you want.
  5. Ownership of your decisions – sometimes we doubt our decisions, or blame others for them, or not making decisions.  The most important decision you make is not the first decision but the decision after the decision, which is owning it, and how you’re going to feel about it.  Blaming others for our decisions is playing the victim of circumstance. Choose your decision, then own it.  You have a choice.  You can sacrifice something and take another route, but so long as you feel good about your choice either way.  Stop feeling regret for decisions, they were your choice. Own it and move on. Take full responsibility and start to make very clear decisions.
  6. Ownership of your presence – it’s a combination of many things: how you dress, how you walk into a room, how you treat other people.  We often walk into a room and match the energy there.  You get to be deliberate about the energy you bring into a space. How do you want others to be in the space?  Be intentional about how you speak, how you bring your presence. 

When you are self-possessed you own the way you are and feel the way you feel.  You make decisions and choose how to show up in the world. 

I still have a lot of work to do in most of these areas.  I’m ok with my past, it is what it is, I can’t change it.  I still get taken over by emotions sometimes, but seem to be getting better and lot letting things get to me or if they do, not holding on to them for too long.  I am self-deprecating, full of imposter syndrome and have a low opinion of myself most of the time.  Occasionally, when something goes well I might feel good about myself for a while.  I don’t fully own all of my desires. I don’t worry too much about what others might think, that’s their issue to deal with, but actually admitting some of my desires, and what I really want, I’ll often go along with what someone else wants to do when that’s not really what I want to do at all. I’m not yet the person I want to be fully, unapologetically.  I do own my decisions though.  No one else makes decisions for me.  I may have to sacrifice something occasionally, but I’m getting better at saying no to things I don’t want to do.  I am terrible at presence.  Being introverted and with imposter syndrome, I walk in to most rooms and want to shrink into the corner so no one can see me.  There are certain areas in life when I’m the complete opposite.  There are times when I feel I want to hide in a corner, but I have to take a deep breath and pretend to be someone else for a while.

Where do you need to work on self-possession?


One thought on “6 Ways to be more self-possessed

  1. I have experienced those types of people who just walk in a room and appear to own it. I also am not one of them. I do wonder sometimes if you can really change your underlying character that much? 🤔 I think there is also a fine line between appearing confident and being bolshy/aggressive. Just my opinion 🤷


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