In late August 2016, 360 young leaders and activists from 85 different countries came together for 2 weeks to collaborate on projects to achieve the United Nations' 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Led by Marlou Hermsen and Chris Arnold of World Merit, Merit 360 culminated in each goal group pitching its chosen project on September 9th at the UN.
As one of the guest speakers, judges, and mentors, I was invited to give a speech as well. Here is what I said.
We will never end the wars around us until we end the wars within us.
The only reason we are at war within is because we don’t understand the enemy we are fighting. We don’t understand ourselves.
My life’s mission to heal humanity from the inside out has led me to discover that, at the core of all inner struggles, are 3 universal types. Some call them “inner demons”, blocks, The Shadow, or The Ego. I call them simply “exPowers”.
The 3 exPowers are: Controllers, Woundeds, and Defenders. Controllers are the parts of us that seek to control, oppress, pressure, or criticize us. Woundeds are the parts of us that feel very powerless, weak, victimized, and sad. Defenders are the parts of us that seek to block, defend, and protect us.
Everyone has exPowers. And, sadly, most people are at war with them. However, when we fight them, we never win. Why not? Because we are fighting ourselves. And we are extremely powerful.
The truth about exPowers is that they are not trying to hurt us – they are trying to love and protect us, whatever way they know. Their methods may not be good, but their intentions are, and knowing this makes all the difference between being at war with ourselves or being at peace with ourselves.
exPowers are not weaknesses or flaws. They are not "bad" parts of us. On the contrary, they are parts of our power! Hidden within them is the love we crave, the wisdom we need, and the strength we seek. How do I know this? Because, the technique I created, called The Drawing Out Process, permanently frees exPowers of their pain and struggle and returns them to their original peaceful states, which I refer to as “emPowers”.
Our 3 inner emPowers are: the Impresario, the Free-Spirit, and the Sovereign. Your Impresario is the logical, strategic, organized, and productive part of you. Your Free-Spirit is the part of you that is joyful, creative, playful, and free. And your Sovereign is the very intuitive, powerful, courageous, and wise part of you – the one that knows what is right and wrong for you, independently of anyone else.
I say to you, you glorious beings, as you move forward in accomplishing the Global Goals, know that these 3 exPowers will rise up within you. Many of them already have! They will try to stop you, or they will push you to the breaking point. Why? Because they’re scared for you. They don’t want you to get hurt. They are terrified of you being criticized, failing, and feeling disappointed.
But know that this is entirely by design. Every challenge we face is an opportunity for us to witness and reveal our own power. Therefore, the more you face your exPowers, the more you will understand them, the less they will scare you, and the more peaceful and empowered you will feel.
Our exPowers are simply our power in disguise. Our darkness is simply our light in disguise.
So how do we face it when it arises?
First of all, arguing with pain – yours or anyone else’s – doesn’t work. So what does work?
Empathy is the antidote to conflict. Empathy is the glue for peace. Empathy is how we transform exPowers back into emPowers. And empathy is how we bridge these chasms of fear, misunderstanding, and hatred we face – both within ourselves and between each other.
If we are to heal humanity – and our world as a whole – empathy is our most potent gift. And it’s free.
Also, as you move forward in your Global Goals, know that you have all of the power you need within you – no more, no less. How do you access this power? By honoring your emPowers.
Ask them questions. Listen to them. Trust them. Let them guide you. Let them empower you the way they were designed to.
And, please… be sure to thank them. Thank all parts of you – because all parts of you are doing their very best to take care of you, whatever way they know.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi’s words couldn’t be more true. Because the only people we truly can change are ourselves.
By facing our darkness, we find our light. And when we light up, so does the world.
Therefore, if we are to effect lasting change, healing, and peace in our world, the only war we need to "win" is the war we wage on ourselves within.