What does this word really mean? In my 20’s it meant giving someone my piece of mind and then feeling really proud for doing so. That was reactivity and I didn’t know any better.
“Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, educational, gender, or economic strength of individuals and communities.” – Wikipedia.
I never realized that bit about communities. I thought it was meant to give me more power. Then how come the more power I thought I had, the weaker and more reactive I became? I did not realize this at the time on one level, but didn’t feel healthy and whole on another.
The more “power” I thought I had the more fearful and insecure I felt inwardly. I learned when I maintain the outside I do so at the expense of the inside. My work must begin within me, first, before I can help anyone else. Otherwise I am just a fear based…. fraud! And so are all of us when we do this, even if we don’t think so.
“Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival.” – Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.
What if empowerment is about helping others? Or what if through our own hard internal work we sort through the quagmire of self blocks and therefore have experience to guide others?
“Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need.” – Gillian Anderson
Empowerment is about being a guide, first to ourselves through our own journey to self evolution and then as a living example to others. We can only live or embody what we ourselves have experienced.
We can preach only what we have not experienced. We can quote books, theories and philosophies and not live any of it. There was an episode of the Biggest Looser where an overweight woman, raised her overweight daughter and paid for all this by owning her own chain of gym facilities. This is a perfect example of having intellectual knowledge but not being able to “live in it”.
Perhaps the firs step toward empowerment is honesty. An honest self appraisal of who you are, how you show up, what face you hold to the light and what face you paint for others to see.
There is the face of deception which is so ‘powerful aka lacking of empowerment’ that it deceives you into thinking you are something you are not. You are not the worst. You are not the best. You don’t need a stage and parade to pay homage to your awesomeness. You do not need to off yourself for being the worst person ever.
These are reactive extremes born of a desperate person who has deceived themselves for so long they no longer know who they really are. Or perhaps they did not have the environment to create an accurate sense of self so they have been struggling ever since.
Chet Holmes author of the Ultimate Sales Machines introduces himself as having vast experience. He comes to share what his audience will understand implicitly because it’s logical. He will give tips that make sense and make suggestions that the audience will agree if they follow will advance their company. Then he goes on to say but most of the audience won’t follow a single thing with any real focus or consistency and that’s why so many companies fail.
Consider this: If we practiced intense self honesty, a desire and willingness to be vulnerable with another who has taken the self aware journey, acted from a place of service to help others and continually kept the focus on what we needed to change in ourselves; not what the world needed to change for us to be happy; what do we think would happen? Now will you do any of this?
“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” – Plutarch