Ready, Steady, Go! Becoming Personally Empowered

In my earlier post I looked at What Is Personal Empowerment? and asked you to evaluate where you are right now. Once you have evaluated yourself honestly, without being arrogant or hypercritical, you will have two lists: what you do well, and what you wish you could do better. Next, tackle each item on your list, one by one.

Personal empowerment may sound selfish, like it is all about you. However, the truth is that making yourself into a better person, the person you truly wish to be, extends benefits outwards – like a stone being thrown in a pond and the effect rippling outwards. By looking inward, you can improve your relationships at home, work and so on. You will feel less trapped and more in control of your own life.

You will be able to deal with problems more easily and set and achieve goals. These might be personal ones, or career-related ones. No matter which, you are more likely to be a better friend, spouse, parent, work colleague and so on if you feel empowered, not a helpless victim of circumstances.

You will work better as a team, and thanks to your opportunities for personal growth, you will achieve a new sense of fulfillment. Just think how liberating it will be to get rid of the nagging feeling of discontent that might be harming your career and personal relationships.

But before you start getting too enthusiastic about the idea of personal empowerment and development, it is important to realize that the process will not always be an easy and comfortable one. The goals you set may be harder than you think. Looking inward may bring up a range of issues you might have been burying for years.

Personal empowerment will involve making some changes to your life, which is not always an easy process. The degree of change required will differ from person to person, depending on the individual starting point and goal. You will also have to watch out for self-sabotage, and sabotage from others.

Dealing with Self-Sabotage and Sabotage from Others

Neither you nor they might even realize your efforts are being sabotaged, because change can be very stressful and intimidating for yourself and others. Let’s look at the example of weight loss, which many people need to deal with these days, and the ways you might sabotage yourself or be sabotaged by others – either consciously or unconsciously.

On the one hand, you would like to look great in your clothes, happy, healthy and fit. On the other hand, it might be easier to stay the way you are than to make a lot of changes and then have to deal with being more “visible” and “attractive,” especially if you are a shy person.

In relation to your family and friends, they might secretly feel jealous of your better body. Family members also tend to pigeon-hole us into certain categories and behaviors. You might be the “fat” one, or the one with “the big appetite.” At family gatherings, well-meaning relatives might encourage you to eat more: “Go on, have a little.”

They might even fill up your plate, putting you in an awkward position because you don’t want to overeat, but you also don’t want to be rude to your hosts.

Predicting trouble spots and learning strategies to cope with these kinds of situations will be an important part of personal empowerment. Setting boundaries and sticking to them as needed, or letting them relax a little, can keep you on target with your goals. They can also help you build on the foundation of your accomplishments. Just because you eat one small piece of candy does not mean your entire diet is ruined and you should just give up and go back to the way you used to eat.

Self-awareness, setting values and sticking to those values, or adjusting them as needed, are all part of personal empowerment and development. So too will be gaining the skills you need to succeed in your endeavors.

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