Recently I participated in a webinar called the “Social Determinants of Health: Morality in the Culture of Apathy and Privilege” held by CCSI in Rochester, NY. The fantastic speaker was Nancy Shelton. For one hour there was a variety of helpful, insightful information. One of the many pieces of information presented by Nancy was the idea of instead of empowering someone was to activate what is already inside of them.

I know  I have used the word to empower someone.  To be honest I have used it a lot. Yet when I looked up the definition of empower it means to “to give someone the authority or power to do something” according to Guess what? I have no authority over anyone else besides myself. None! In psychology the word activation can be called arousal. To activate means to get something to wakeup, get it going, operative. When you are baking bread from scratch the key ingredient you need to use to get the bread to rise is yeast or other leavening.  Once the yeast is activated the bread begins to rise. It is an ingredient in the bread. No leavening or yeast and your bread is dense. Leavening or yeast and you have fluffy bread.

Every one of us has a plethora of amazing skills, talents, intelligences, beauty inside of us. Our own ingredients for our own loaf of bread. What makes us unique is our life experiences, genetic makeup, and how we view ourselves and the world. Sometimes people do not see any worth inside of them due to some life experiences that caused those character traits to become dormant.

Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming things you once thought you couldn’t” – Author Unknown

When I reflect on my life and the challenges I have faced and overcame, even though I had wonderful supports, I had to work through the challenge myself. I had to activate whatever I needed inside of me so I could tap into my skills and strengths to overcome the obstacle I was facing. One of the most valuable life lessons I have found is that when I work through a challenge  my confidence soars and my sense of self grows. If someone is empowering me, even if it’s with good intentions, it’s artificial and fake. No one can give me the authority or power to achieve something that is personal to me. I cannot give someone the authority or power to achieve something for themselves.  Pointing out to myself, or another person, the ingredients of courage, smarts, beauty that resides inside in the hope to activate, well that is another story. Owning your own personal power is where the real strength lies.

So next time you are struggling and feeling like you do not matter, that you don’t have the right stuff within you to achieve what you want to achieve wake up your skills, get them going and operative. You have all the right ingredients within you to help you rise up as a special human being. I believe in you. My hope is that at some point you will believe in yourself!

May your activation be with you💜

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash