Why does empowerment matter?
“We are held in our places within a culture where the personal loss of power is so epidemic that no one hears the cries of loss and outrage.
“Instead, we are ostracized for acts of individuality, or, at best, feared.
“To keep our power over others, we often give up our freedom and authenticity, and conform to expectations.
“This is a terrible loss, for it obscures the unique divinity within ourselves that contains the seeds of evolution + transformation.
“Those who have made this sacrifice expect others to do the same and become highly offended when they do not.”
~ Anodea Judith
When I explain to people that a big part of my work is about empowerment, sometimes people don’t get it at first.
To some, it sounds… fluffy.
But I think this is largely because many of us don’t really get what empowerment even is and/or why it’s important.
Before I begin, we must acknowledge that the conversation wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t acknowledge the ways in which people are systemically empowered or disempowered.
There is so much work to be done there, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t also things which are more in our immediate control that we can focus on.
While they’re both deeply important, the latter is what I’ll address here today.
At the heart of it, the act of empowerment is the reclamation of one’s personal power.
As humans, we’re all born with an innate ability to be empowered individuals, but our environments + experiences early on in life often impact how much we feel comfortable having + expressing that power.
Feeling empowered fuels things like our:
– confidence that we can ‘do it’, that we can make things work
– faith that we can take risks, leap into uncertainty, even if that means we mess up a little bit along the way
– expansive definition of what’s possible in the world
– authenticity, expression, + individuality
– evolution + transformation
– overall well-being
– inner knowing that we are capable + worthy
The alternative, which is what many of us learn, includes things like:
– being constantly doubtful of ourselves + that others who make it work must somehow be ‘special’ + that it wouldn’t work for us
– feeling like we must rely on others for our well-being or that we have to wait until we _______ [lose X pounds, have X amount of money, live in X house or city, etc.] before we can even begin pursue our goals + dreams or feel happy + good about ourselves
– believing we cannot be safe, successful, AND happy
– avoiding action because we’re afraid to fail or otherwise be humiliated
– seeing one mistake or criticism as a sign that we’re a failure
– conforming to expectations, hiding our truth, + doing what we’ve been told we ‘should’
– letting others’ limitations of what they’ve done and/or believe to be possible define our own beliefs of what we could accomplish
– feeling + staying ‘stuck’ or ‘trapped’ in our lives
– wavering/conditional or nonexistent sense of efficacy + worthiness
We trade in our own sense of empowerment + authenticity in hopes of receiving love, belonging, safety…
And that’s to be expected! Those needs are more fundamental at the beginning of a human’s life.
At some point, perhaps we DID need to trade those things in so that we could get our basic needs met, but it can be difficult to unlearn those patterns + behaviors, even if we no longer depend on our caretakers to provide for us.
Empowerment involves helping people to bridge that gap.
To recognize the behaviors that no longer serve them (even if they once did), so that they can live their lives as adults rather than hurt children, as individuals who feel confident + worthy, as people with a sense of freedom + a greater belief of what’s possible for them, who feel capable + deserving of experiencing love, joy, a sense of belonging…
And beyond the individual, this helps the collective as well. The more people who are empowered to act, then we are able to evolve + transform more, both individually + as a whole.
Without people who can not only envision – but have the desire and ability – to enact change and be different and try a different way of life, life would be a continuation of (mostly) the same.
Just like mentioned in the quote at the beginning: empowerment is the seed of our collective healing.
Without it we would all stay in this ‘stuck’ feeling, in merely tolerable lives that we feel powerless to change.
Empowerment also re-centers us back in our own hearts, since people who feel empowered are largely fueled by their own love + acceptance of themselves as humans, not constantly seeking it from the world around them.
If more of us can come from this place – that regardless of our actions or mistakes, our Being, is still worthy – there is so much less to fear about being who we truly are.
So much of what scares us is based in a fear of rejection, abandonment, and/or danger if we were to truly pursue (and believe that we are worthy of) the lives that we desire.
Another huge benefit of empowerment is choosing to give up the victim mindset. Now, this doesn’t mean don’t ever ask for help or desire love from another or be entirely independent without ever relying on others.
Rather, it’s knowing that at a base level, you are able to give what you need to yourself AND that you have the courage + wisdom to know when ask for help, that you feel solid enough in who you are that you are more likely to find love that will feel good.
Last but not least, empowerment helps us to expand past limitations. It helps us to see how much potential in the world exists for innovation, for a story to be written that has never been written before… rather than believing we can only follow paths laid out before us, or ones that we’ve been ‘pushed’ onto, we have the sense of power to believe we can create an incredible life, against all odds or doubts.
So now that I’ve shared my perspective, I’d love to hear from you – What does empowerment mean to you? Do you feel empowered?
Shoot me a reply with your answers! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
You’ve got this. <3
As always, feel free to share this with anyone who may find it helpful, and I look forward to hearing how it helps you.
P.S. If you need some help with this (or other related topics) and are interested in possibly working together, leave a comment below or hit ‘Contact’ above, and let’s get talkin’!