Self empowerment is not shameful, so we shouldn’t feel guilty!
1. Know WHO we are
This means that innately we have to have self acceptance. If we do not accept ourselves then we will have a very difficult time strengthening ourselves from within. In our social settings we are referred to as “so and so’s daughter, son, mother, father, cousin, secretary, teacher, etc.” We must never accept a role that takes us away from WHO we are, but rather, we must immerse ourselves to that role.
We must embrace that we can be positively unique even if it is seen as unusual within our social settings. For example, some of us might be the first to go to college in our families; or start our own businesses in our neighborhood, or even try a beauty treatment at home rather than in a pricey saloon! In every case, we might have experienced the naysayers who might have opined that we are for sure placing ourselves in uncommon territory. This is when we need to dig deep and remind ourselves that we are “self empowered”. It might help to recall all of the historic figures who put on their masks first … scientists, mathematicians, explorers, writers, and the list goes on ...
2. CHOOSE wisely
Choices are an everyday part of our existence. However, many of us make choices based on what we think someone else might want, rather than what is best for us. This is the slippery slope between self empowerment and “selfishness”. As long as the choices that we make are for the betterment of ourselves, FIRST and those around, SECOND, then we are in empowerment. This means that we must know our limits.
We might think that there is an exception to this point such as when someone is in danger. However, we shouldn’t think: “If I help that person I might break a nail”! In fact, this isn’t an “exception” at all. Rather it is an opportunity to strengthen our self empowerment because we would believe in ourselves enough to go above and beyond to assist other … with our “mask” intact! Conversely, a situation that might require that we neglect our own “mask” for another might exist in this example: when we choose to buy an expensive gift for someone when we know within ourselves that we can’t afford it. The recipient might think that we are being selfish because they didn’t get the gift. This is where we must be empowered enough not to make choices based on guilt.
3. Rise above feelings of GUILT
If we surround ourselves with persons who make demands of us based on guilt, we will have a very hard time becoming or remaining self empowered. We all know what this is like: “If you love me then you will…” this is a form of bullying that is implying that you must put the mask on the other person first even though you are in the greatest danger! If you pass out from hypoxia can you be sure that that person will revive you?
Many of us have imprisoned ourselves in circumstances of “acceptance” because we feel guilty. We neglect self and go all out for others while making ourselves miserable. If we are not content within our mental, emotional, and physical dispositions, we can never be at our best for others. We might do like we used to say in the seventies and “fake it until we make it”. Sadly, these kinds of compromises lead to self destruction and violence not to mention negative outbursts such as those that we read about in the news.
4. Surround ourselves with persons who SUSTAIN our self empowerment
We should be very leery of anyone who feels slighted by our positive outlook, achievements, and overall personal fulfillment. When we are “self empowered, we are not envious of others. We accept that we all have a destiny and we stay focused “based on the belief that we know what is best for ourselves”. This means that we do not pick apart everything that someone else has done and try to replace it with “this is what I would do if I were you…” Outside of the work environment where we might have standard operating procedures (SOPs) there is little room for self empowerment in an environment of “If it were me…”
Many of us exist in a realm of invalidation. We extend ourselves beyond the point of self empowerment with the hope that we will be validated. Unfortunately, the more that we give, the more that we are demanded to give! This leaves many of us feeling defeated, dejected, rejected, and abused. Again, we see many circumstances, such as domestic violence, where one individual might feel that they just have to have the ultimate form of validation to the detriment of another. This tragic example is a reminder that if we neglect our gut feeling - our instinct, when our innate self empowerment warning signal is saying that we are in a bad circumstance, because we feel guilty - then it might not turn out so well for us. This is why we must compromise wisely… if at all…
5. Never COMPROMISE self empowerment
This final point is by far the most difficult for many of us because it is human nature to “belong”. “Belonging” requires “compromise” … fair enough! The key here is to surround ourselves with persons who will not demand “compromise” that takes us away from our POSITIVE selves. The exception here is if we are involved in negative activities, then it isn’t a compromise, it is allowing another to help us to get away from self destructive behavior which would help boost our self empowerment! For example, we might like to do a certain positive activity every day, such as physical exercise. We manage to fit this activity into our daily routine without neglecting our responsibilities to self, our families, and/or our jobs. Then one day, we meet someone who says: “If you love me then you won’t go to (insert activity here) every day”!
Can you see how this would reduce our self empowerment? When we encounter these types of circumstances, more than any discussed previously, we must put our own masks on, and dig deep into the definition of self empowerment. Some might counter that “love requires compromise”. Yes it does, but any compromise that is unhealthy is not worth compromising. An individual who values us will say “put on your mask” go enjoy you (insert activity here) and I will be here when you are done!
Subsequently, we must constantly go within and get the necessary reminders that if we remain true to ourselves, live a life of integrity, and speak the proverbial “truth to power", then we will be better equipped to discern what is going on around us and make the best decisions towards self empowerment …