Empowerment means having the knowledge, confidence, means or ability to do or make decisions for oneself. It’s a feeling of control over self, not over others. Keshab Chandra Mandal says female empowerment could be defined in five separate categories: social, educational, economic, political and psychological.
There are four elements of empowerment: authority whereby an individual needs the latitude to take the initiative to solve problems; resources or the means to carry out the authority that’s been given; information; and accountability.
There’s more to empowerment than a feeling of power or confidence. True empowerment is pure validation, a state in which we recognize and celebrate our own wild potential. This feeling is elusive, particularly for those experiencing daily oppression, self-doubt or limiting circumstances. In fact, it’s easy to feel disempowered when someone challenges our decisions or comments negatively.
Elusive as it may be, empowerment is always accessible to those who seek it. It’s possible to begin your mornings feeling empowered to tackle your day with courage and deep belief. So, how does one access empowerment?
Gratitude is the state of pure appreciation. Experiencing gratitude reminds us that we have something. So, begin your mornings with a gratitude practice. Take a moment to jot down five things for which you are grateful or meditate on one part of your life you deeply appreciate.
Practising gratitude physiologically prepares you to encounter your day with ease and authority and is an amazing antidote to anger and low self-esteem. Studies indicate that feelings of gratitude impact our brain chemistry, reduce stress and activate our body’s anti-aging agents. And we could all use a little of that, right ladies?
Strike a Power Pose
Many of us are visual creatures. Spending too much time in our head can deplete our sense of empowerment. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of self-confidence. So, begin each day with a power stance. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and place your feet squarely on the ground underneath your hips. Place your hands on your hips. Standing tall and straight, hold the pose for at least 30 seconds until you have fully captured the image of empowered yourself. No crossing your arms, slouching or leaning as these all suggest submissive postures.
Practise your power pose before an interview, on lunch breaks or after a difficult conversation. By physically embodying empowerment, you train your mind to truly experience its own power.
Challenge Those Limiting Thoughts
Self-talk has more authority than we realize. In fact, we’re often solely responsible for diminishing feelings of empowerment. Be aware of your limiting thoughts during any given day. What feedback do you give yourself following a presentation or after you share an opinion or make a decision?
Sometimes, just observing your own limiting mental dialogue is enough to challenge those thoughts. Offer an immediate rebuttal. For instance, if your Inner Critic screams, “You’ll never be successful.” Ask yourself, a “What if…?” question, such as “What if I can be successful?” or “What if I am already successful?” until you find a “what if” question that resonates with you. Over time, you’ll start to silence the limiting self-talk that prevents you from realizing your own potential.
Another way to circumvent the Inner Critic is by asking “lofty questions” every morning. These can be the same questions every day and can be replaced or added to as needed under these four categories:
Health & Wellbeing: Sample questions might include: Why am I always learning and growing? Why do I eat only foods that are best for my body? Why do I have such a sexy, ripped, muscular body? Why am I getting younger and younger every year?
Creativity & Inspiration: Lofty questions might include: Why do I have such power intuition? Why are my days always so filled with inspiration? Why am I so clear on my goals and visions? Why is my day-to-day work so inspiring for me and others?
Abundance & Power: Questions might include: Why am I so good at attracting, managing, keeping and multiplying money? Why is my income growing every year with ease? Why do I have such a beautiful home in (location)?
Love & Connection: Consider questions such as: Why do I spark love and joy to everyone who comes into my life? What am I always surrounded by love and amazing people to whom I’m deeply connected? Why do I have such a loving relationship with (partner’s name)?
Prove it to Yourself
Sometimes we need tangible evidence of our own empowerment to live in an empowered way. You can give yourself this evidence any time. Identify an area of life where you do to feel entirely empowered. Be as honest with yourself and as specific as possible.
Next, where do you feel disempowered at work? With your health? In your family? Now, identify ways in which you could be empowered in these situations or areas. What is one thing you could do to change the paradigm of power? For instance, if you feel limited in your career, you could have a conversation with your boss about tackling projects that better meet your capabilities. If you feel limited in a relationship, you could talk to your partner about pursuing activities that enable you to feel empowered and validated.
Accomplishing one small task in this regard can result in a surge of needed confidence.
Indulge in Your Passions
What fuels your days? Passions are those things in which you can easily lose yourself. Tap into your intuition and experience bliss. When we truly sink ourselves into our passion, everything ignites. We feel validated. We feel at home in our little sandbox of pleasure. And all seems right with the world.
It’s easy to overlook our passions when other obligations demand our attention. So, one way around this is to include time for your passion on your daily or weekly calendar. Remember, if you don’t plan your day, someone else will plan it for you.
We all have stories and opinions that matter. When you share your stories, you feel heard and validated. So, be vocal. Have that difficult conversation with your boss, mother, partner, sibling once and for all. Write that memoir. Talk about what matters. Be sure to choose responsive and appropriate listeners. You may also find that sharing your voice requires actively listening to another person’s narrative. This is true empowerment when you empower yourself by empowering another.
You are, and always will be, powerful. Don’t let life’s circumstances or other individuals tell you otherwise.
Donna S. Vieira is a certified Gentle Trauma Release Practitioner and Astro-Empowerment Coach who uses her knowledge of Astrology in sessions with her clients. She’s also a published freelance travel and lifestyle writer, blogger, and editor who has traveled the globe. You can read about some of her travels at FromMyTravelBag.com. She and her chef husband, Fernando, own Globetrotters Bed & Breakfast/Gallery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, where they have been welcoming guests from around the world since 2002.