Self empowerment means taking back control of your life. This happens when you actively place all the power in your hands, and develop the ability to grow your confidence and strength so you can stand up for what you believe in. When you are empowered you have the capacity to make choices that positively impact your life and the conviction to set personal and professional goals. Being empowered means you become aware of your strengths and weaknesses in such a way that you develop a life that works for you and not against you.
We are not always given an opportunity to feel empowered. Its not necessarily something that comes naturally either. Empowerment comes with a lot of personal responsibility and accountability and this can sometimes be scary and overwhelming. However, when an individual feels liberated enough to take control of their life, anything is possible.
So how does being empowered make you feel fulfilled? Well, when you overcome your fears and limitations, you can live the life you have always dreamed of. Change, however, isn’t easy, and there is specific knowledge and certain tools you need to start the process.
Liberating yourself can be frightening. In one aspect everything transforms and you get to make your own choices, live according to your own values and beliefs system. You stop living up to other people’s expectations and experience true freedom. In another way you have to let go of who you are. You can no longer be the victim of your own life and there will be no other person to blame for the setbacks that will occur. What I can tell you is that this fear will disappear, and if you practice the below tasks and work on adjusting your mindset miracles can happen.
Empowering yourself begins with self-reflection. Evaluating your goals and thinking about your values, strengths and weaknesses. Are you prepared to make adjustments to your thoughts, emotions and behaviour in order to achieve the things you want? If the answer is yes, pat yourself on the back and let’s get into some of the ways you can achieve self-empowerment.
How well do you know yourself? What are your positive and negative personality traits? Do you know how you respond to certain people and experiences? By asking yourself these questions and figuring out the answers, you have taken the first step toward self-empowerment.
Think about these tough questions for a minute. How do you let other’s define you? Who do you blame for your situation? What hurdles do you need to overcome to move forward?
The foundation for power begins when you understand yourself deeply. Each one of us posses our own unique set of skills and knowledge, do not underestimate your resourcefulness. Use what you already have inside of you to catapult yourself forward. When you accept yourself with all your strengths and flaws, you will be better equipped to make the necessary changes for a fulfilling life.
When we set achievable goals we give our life direction and regain control of our lives. It is the easiest way you can start developing a life where you control the outcome. Goal setting is about progress not perfection, the closer you move toward your goal the more confident and motivated you will be to continue.
Your goals do not have to big or life altering to make the shift from feeling disempowered to empowered. Start small and DO NOT underestimate the power of small consistent change. Some of the goals I started with were to start journalling everyday, to set my alarm earlier and to make an effort to meditate every morning. Remember this is a process, so one step at a time.
When we feel confident we feel invincible. Confidence is the single greatest motivator for changing your behaviour and becoming more empowered. Confidence is a state of mind that happens when you feel good about yourself and your abilities. It is therefore paramount to self empowerment. Here are some ideas on how to improve your self-confidence.
Exercise not only improves your physical appearance but has amazing effects on your mental wellbeing. When you exercise, even if its for only 30 minutes at a time, you can greatly improve your self-esteem, combat anxiety and stress and feel good about yourself overall.
3.2 Eat well
Food has healing properties and mood-enhancing qualities. When we eat well we fuel the body with the right nutrients and vitamins it needs to function at its optimal level. If you eat a well balanced healthy diet, not only will you look better, but you will have the energy to do the things you truly want to do. Certain foods boost the brain chemicals associated with better sleep and happiness. Some foods have the ability to reduce anxiety and even improve self-confidence.
3.3 Practice mindful mediation
We are our own worst enemy when it comes to confidence. I cant count the number of times I have told myself that I am worthless, that I will never achieve my goals or that i’m useless. How can we expect to empower ourselves when we full our minds with all this negative self-talk?
Mindful meditation teaches us to slow down the self-doubt and negative comments. It asks that we stop judging ourselves and try live in the present moment. When we live in the here and now, we are better equipped to make decisions that will positively impact our lives. Mindfulness ultimately teaches you to be a calmer more thoughtful person, giving you the opportunity to make choices based on reflection and awareness. In and of itself mindfulness can be empowering.
3.4 Don’t forget self-Care
One of the best things you can do for your mind and your body is to know when to take a rest. When you start taking care of yourself, you immediately start feeling more confident. Confident people know when they deserve a moment to themselves, they identify the need to replenish the mind and body so that they can give themselves the strength to continue.
Self-care does not have to be complicated, its making little kind moments for yourself. Next time you feel overwhelmed or tired why not try take a long bath, or go outside for a walk. Read a book or get creative. Better yet, enjoy a good cup of coffee with a friend and catch up. Go on that date night with your partner or take a nap.
3.5 Educate yourself
Make it your life’s mission to learn as much as you can. This can be through formal education, or through listening and learning from others. Information is empowering, it teaches us so much about ourselves and about the world around us. An environment that focuses on learning can do a number of things to boost confidence.
Firstly, it encourages us to communicate. We learn to ask for what we want, it encourages us to keep an open mind and we learn to ask for help. It assists us in making decisions and teaches us to receive feedback. It can even help us face challenges head on and learn to overcome them.
Embrace and overcome your fear of failure. Failing is a sign of progress, it shows that you have moved outside of your comfort zone and attempted to take a step toward self-empowerment. Use failure as an opportunity to learn, to gain insight and be open to the possibilities in front of you. Sometimes life does not work out the way we want to, but sometimes its for good reason. Have faith in that.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you and have your best interests at heart. When we surround ourselves with people we truly trust, we create an environment where we can grow and be challenged. We all need love and understanding, but we also need to take constructive criticism and feedback. If profound changes are to occur we need to move outside of our comfort zone and open ourselves up to new and exciting possibilities. Self-empowerment means we are open to learning from others and from ourselves.
This follows on from the negative self-talk. The things we constantly say to ourselves eventually become part of our identity. The more negative and degrading they are, the worse you feel. However, the opposite is true as well. The more positive and uplifting your self-talk, the better and happier you become. Try using these empowering statements the next time you feel the self-doubt crawl in. Say them out loud or quietly in your mind, it doesn’t matter when or where or how often you repeat these statements to yourself, just do it! Self-empowerment begins here…
“Never limit yourself to what you can’t do, but to what you have the power to do with what you have.”
Self-empowerment can also begin when we set out to empower others. When you invest your time and energy into another person, you intertwine yourself in their story and life purpose. Watching them transform their life for the better is extremely rewarding and inspiring. When you inspire people by setting a good example and building their confidence with kindness and a belief in their potential, something wonderful happens. You become an eyewitness to another person’s growth – nothing is more exciting and exhilarating.
Opportunities for empowerment can happen in any environment. Whether you empower your colleagues, children, friends or empower through leadership, it does not matter. Empowering others is a mind set you adopt in all your interactions with people. It is the inherent belief in someone’s ability to grow and change their life for the better.
We can empower people in a number of ways, here are a few examples.
The way we communicate with others is important. Never make people feel inferior by using complicated language. Effective communication begins with a shared understanding, so be clear and choose your words wisely. Encourage an open and positive dialogue with people, and practice gratitude and kindness.
Something I learnt as a counselor was to mirror the language my clients used. When we listen carefully and reflect back the words and feelings conveyed by another, it makes them feel understood and respected. Make sure you respond in a non-judgmental manner and avoid inserting your own ideas and agenda. Don’t be negative and try be constructive in your criticisms.
Adopt a person-centred approach in your interaction with others. You are not the expert in another person’s life, value people’s self-determination, knowledge and wisdom. Be open to sharing knowledge, resources and skills. Try and be supportive and trustworthy at all times, and trust in the integrity and competence of others.
Give thanks, where thanks is due, show appreciation and assist people where you can. Ask people for their input and consider their thoughts and suggestions. Always believe that people have unlimited potential.
Encourage an environment where people feel safe to share ideas and information. Try create a solution focused approach to life, and show others that it is okay to make mistakes.
While I acknowledge that the road to self-empowerment is not an easy one, it is necessary if you want to take back your ownership and authority as an individual. There are many different examples of empowerment that I have not touched on today, but I wanted to give you an outline of the small steps you can take to change your life for the better. Its time for a shift, its time to stop allowing others and the world to bring you down. Learn to harness your potential, stand up for yourself and become a force to be reckoned with. The world awaits you!