Empowerment is more than simply feeling powerful or confident. True empowerment is pure validation, a state of being in which we recognize and celebrate our own wild potential.
This feeling is often elusive, particularly for individuals who experience daily oppression, self-doubt, or limiting circumstances. It’s easy to feel unempowered when someone challenges our decisions or makes a negative comment.
Elusive as it may be, empowerment is always on the horizon for those who seek it. It is possible to start your mornings feeling empowered, and, as a result, to tackle the day’s events with courage and deep belief.
Gratitude is the state of pure appreciation.
To feel gratitude, we have to have received something. Experiencing gratitude is an easy reminder that we have something, whatever that something may be. That something may even be wonderful.
Begin challenging mornings (or every morning) with a gratitude practice. Take a minute to jot down five things you are grateful for or meditate on one part of your life you deeply appreciate. Be serious with these exercises. Commit to them.
Reach out for these ideas throughout your day, as you navigate work, wait in traffic, or shop for groceries. Gratitude is an amazing antidote to anger and low self-esteem. Studies indicate that immersion in feelings of gratitude can impact our brain chemistry, reduce sensations of stress, and activate our body’s natural supply of anti-aging agents. A gratitude practice can physiologically prep you for encountering the day’s events with ease and authority.
Try a Power Pose
Many of us are visual creatures. Too much time roaming around the brain can actually deplete our sense of empowerment. It’s easy to analyze ourselves out of feeling confident.
Begin or end each day with a power stance.
Choose a large or full-length mirror and stand with your feet squarely underneath your hips. Place your hands on your hips. Stand tall and straight. Hold the pose for at least thirty seconds until you have fully captured the image of your empowered self. You can take other poses, too, according to your preference. Avoid any postures that suggest submissiveness or limitation, such as crossing your arms, slouching, or leaning.
Perform a power pose before a job interview, on lunch breaks, or after a difficult conversation. Physically embodying empowerment can train your mind to truly experience its own power.
Challenge Limiting Thoughts
Self-talk has more authority than we realize. Believe it or not, we are often the ones responsible for diminishing feelings of empowerment.
Become aware of limiting thoughts that you experience during any given day. Notice the feedback you give yourself after you deliver a presentation, share your opinion, or make a decision. Sometimes, observing your own limiting mental dialogue is enough to challenge it. For others, this observation can actually make things worse.
Observe and challenge limiting thoughts. If you find yourself thinking, “I really don’t have a good shot at landing this job,” offer an immediate rebuttal, such as, “I am highly qualified for this position.” Mirroring negative or unempowering thoughts with empowering ones can, over time, start to silence the limiting self-talk preventing you from realizing your own potential.
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 at any time.
Identify an area of your life in which you do not feel entirely empowered. Be honest with yourself and be as specific as possible. Do you feel empowered at work? With your health? How about within your family?
Now, identify ways in which you could be empowered in these situations or areas. Choose one thing that you could do to change the paradigm of power.
For example, if you feel limited in your career, you may want to have a conversation with your employer about tackling projects that better meet your capabilities. If you feel limited in a relationship, you may wish to talk to your partner about having conversations and pursuing activities that enable you both to feel empowered and validated.
Prove to yourself that you can find authority even in those aspects of your life in which you feel consistently limited. Accomplishing even one small task in this regard can grant you a surge of needed confidence.
Indulge in Your Passions
We all have something that fuels the minutes in our days. Your passions are those things in which you can easily lose yourself, tap into your intuition, and experience bliss. Perhaps you are passionate about running. Maybe you love being a leader and helping a community find solutions. Let’s say that you can’t stop thinking about art, or social justice, or that one rock band.
When we truly sink into a passion, everything ignites. We feel validated. We feel as if we’ve come home, in a way. Most everything is right in the world.
Unfortunately, passions often get the side-swipe. It’s easy to overlook them when life crowds out our schedules with other obligations.
Consistently engaging with something you are not passionate about can take away your own sense of power and potential. Indulge your passions the way you want to indulge them to experience true empowerment and self-discovery.
Share Your Voice
There are stories in each of us, stories and opinions that matter. Empowerment can stem from our ability to share these stories and feel heard and validated in return. Empower yourself by being vocal. Have that difficult conversation with your mother for once and for all.
Write that memoir. Participate in a Spoken Word competition. Talk to your daughter or your nephew about what matters. Join an online community or forum so that your words can be heard. Be sure to choose responsive and appropriate listeners. Anyone who does not respectfully listen to your story can bring those familiar feelings of limitation back into the arena.
You may even find that sharing your voice requires actively listening to another person’s narrative. This is true empowerment—when you empower yourself by empowering another.
Finding Your Power
Your days deserve to be bright with potential. Honor your own by recognizing what is holding you back or imposing limitations that are, in the end, imagined.
You may find power in a regular gratitude or meditation practice that challenges limiting thoughts and cultivates awareness. Power poses can give you a visual reminder of your ability to conquer barriers.
Ultimately, participating in meaningful, truthful exchanges and pursuing your passions can give you the fuel and community you need to live your fully empowered self.
You are, and always will be, powerful. Don’t let life’s circumstances or other individuals say otherwise.
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Kate McGunagle is a freelance writer, editor, and mindfulness blogger. Her blog (A Lighter Earth) focuses on conscious living, mindfulness, and sustainability. A graduate of Princeton University and Boston University, she recently moved to the northwest of the U.S. to become a yoga instructor, launch her writing career, and build an off-grid tiny house in the mountains.