“Empower yourself. Believe in yourself. Do not give your power away. Remember, when you blame others for your shortcomings, you are affirming your own weakness.”
We all do it. We look at our lives and feel disappointed. Some of us may feel cheated by circumstance, others disgusted by our own poor decision making. At the heart of this is a “why me?” undertone often unacknowledged. And if you dig another layer down, “why me” is really a comparison question. “Why me” really asks, “Why me and not them?”
This path takes you straight into a quagmire of depressed inaction and self loathing. As you sit in the land of “Why Me,” take a moment to realize that comparison is a loser’s game. Not a game for losers, but a game you cannot win. As you look around you and feel “less than,” you will likely be blinded to those who have it worse. And you will always find someone who seems to “have it better.”
So, stop scanning the crowd for those winning or losing life next to your own experience. Focus on yourself. And if you like comparisons, focus on comparing you to you. The you of 2 years ago with the you of today. And then, start empowering yourself to be better and find a more satisfying life.
Personal empowerment is about developing confidence and strength in who you are, right now as is, and then determining what you can do out in the world. We all have something to give. We all have value. Empowering yourself means discovering and cultivating your value and then making positive choices that allow you to live your truth and achieve your potential.
Here are a few small steps to take towards personal empowerment:
Become Self Aware - Discover your values and make conscious choices, every day, about how you’re choosing to live. Tease apart obligation from desired commitments and critically examine how you live to be sure it reflects what you care about in life.
Identify your Strengths - Acknowledge your talents, those things others tell you you’re good at, and begin realizing these gifts are assets to use and leverage. It’s often easy to believe things you’re good at naturally bring less value to the world because they’re “easy.” The opposite is true. It’s easy to you because it’s a gift, so use it to your empowering advantage.
Take Action - Even small steps towards a goal, any progress, should be celebrated. Getting outside the place of rumination is key to empowerment. Once you’ve isolated your values, desires and skills and can envision a direction for your life, set a goal and then do something with your skills. Anything. Just get out of your head.
Stop Living Negative - Empowered people are confident, but probably not always. We all tend to have negative moments, but learning to recognize them as anomalies is key. One way to do this is to watch your language. Specifically, the language of, “I can’t.” When you say “I can’t,” it often really means, “I won’t” or “don’t want to.”
It’s true, you can’t fly like a bird. But if you say you can’t open a Yoga Studio, or can’t go to the concert tonight, that is not the same kind of “can’t.” You don’t want to rearrange your schedule to go to the concert tonight because you prefer to do something else. You don’t believe you have the skills or don’t want to learn how to acquire the resources to open a Yoga Studio. But “can’t” is a fear-based lie we tell, which steals our own power.
As American sociologist, Martha Beck, says, “The process of spotting fear and refusing to obey it is the source of all true empowerment.”