Empower is to make someone stronger and more confident in controlling their life and claiming their rights according to Dictionary.com. “The word empower originates from comes from the Old French prefix ‘en-‘ meaning ‘in, into’ and the root ‘power’ which comes from the early 1300s, meaning ‘ability, strength, might’. Though the word empower has been used in the past in literary works, its modern usage dates from around 1986.” (MacmilliamDictionaryBlog)
Too often in my life and in my work as a therapist I interact with people who feel disempowered. From basic interactions to more significant ones they feel paralyzed and live with fear in regards to what would happen if they stood up and spoke up for themselves. Most of these individuals are ready, willing, and able to stand up for others. They have little to no issue in being protective of people they care about. It is a totally different story when it comes to them.
Especially in my counseling work we look at the reasons behind what stops them for being advocates of good and right for them. Knowledge is power. When you understand the whys it facilitates challenge and change. Most if not all have a poor sense about who they are. Their confidence, sense of worth, esteem is not good. In addition some have a history of trauma and are experiencing a fourth trauma response called fawn. While there used to be fight, flight, freeze a fourth trauma response called fawn has come into play. This is how Roland Bat in Resolving trauma and PTSD describes fawn: With a please or fawn response you have given up a sense of self, a sense of healthy identity and have taken on responsibilities that are NOT yours to carry. It is a survival response in a time of need.”
For some this means that you are not living the life you want to be living in the way you want to be living it. Your fear, uncertainty, lack of sense of who you are stops you from being who you want to be.
Guess what🤔 You can change this! Yep you can change this🎉 There are actions you can take to become empowered. Here are some GREAT action steps:
- Get a journal or something to write in. While you can use your phone or computer it is preferable to write it because writing gives your brain some good old muscle memory. DAILY write down positive statements about yourself. Write things are you are proud that you accomplished that day. It can range from I made my bed to I did a presentation for a group of people to I went to the gym. A positive is a positive. Include compliments or positive statements people gave you. Even if you are not feeling that way about yourself YET keep writing things down. When you are feeling crappy about yourself go and read them.
- Do kind actions for others. According to the Cedars-Sinai blog “acts of kindness can release hormones that contribute to your mood and overall wellbeing. Most research on the science behind why kindness makes us feel better has centered around oxytocin. Sometimes called “the love hormone,” oxytocin plays a role in forming social bonds and trusting other people. It’s the hormone mothers produce when they breastfeed, cementing their bond with their babies.” To have this really work you have to do REPEATED acts of kindness.
- Get some movement, activity, fitness in your life. It does not matter the type, it matters that you do SOMETHING on a regular basis. “Exercise affects the brain in many ways. It increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. Exercise also promotes brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in many important cortical areas of the brain.” according to Scientific American.
- Take stock of the relationships in your life. Are you around individuals who bring you up or bring you down. If your relationships include people with a strong, ongoing, persistent negative nature perhaps it is time to make a change in regards to how you have a relationship with them.
- Take actions like having positive passwords. Read motivating books, quotes and such. Surround yourself with the positive things you want for yourself. Your brain will absorb what it is exposed to.
- Be like the train who said I think I can I think I can. Cause you can.
- POWER POSE it up. According to research from Ann Cuddy “adopting an expansive posture makes people feel more powerful.” Power posing is not going to hurt you so give it a try.
I have had times in my life where I did not feel empowered. I did not express or stand up for what was good and right for me. I felt trapped in myself. It totally sucked! By working hard and diligently to get to a better headspace it got me to a place of empowerment for myself. Are times there are situations, relationships, courageous conversations, presentations that I still get nervous about? YES. Yet taking of charge of me and doing something about it ALWAYS feels better that being silent and not standing for myself.
Most excellent person empower yourself. You are so worthy of living the life you want to be living in the way you want to be living it. I believe in you and know you can do it⭐️
May your empowered be with you💜
Photo on the internet.