Essential Principles, Practices and Panaceas, A – Z: Empowerment

empowerment haiku

How would your life be different if…You could control the outcome of your day, your week, your year? Let today be the day…You embrace the truth that you DO have such control to label every event in your life, and create an agreement with reality that empowers you and propels you to greatness. Steve Maraboli

An empowered life is a life lived on your own terms, one in which you don’t have to pussy-foot around others in an effort to please them. Taking charge of your own life doesn’t, however, mean disregarding the important people in your life; it’s about finding balance between doing what’s good for you and your commitments to others.

How empowered do you feel regarding your own life? Would you say that you set the agenda, or are you following someone else’s?

Even though their intentions are good, parents can disempower their children through fear; it’s natural for a parent to want the best for their kids, but what if what’s best for them is to let them find their own way, even if it means them making mistakes (and dealing with the consequences of making those mistakes)?

What is more empowering for a child – to do their best with their homework and learn from the teacher’s feedback, or for you to ‘help’ (i.e. do) the homework? I’ve known of parents taking schools to task because they are in denial of their child’s shortcomings (and we all have those); blaming the school for their child’s poor behaviour is the easier option, I suppose, than playing their part in addressing the problem. But then perhaps the parents themselves are disempowered.

Fear for our children, and their futures, can result in us trying to control their lives, which is certainly my experience (as a child and as a parent); sadly, it doesn’t work, in fact it can have disastrous consequences (as I know only too well). When you’re empowered you don’t feel the need to control others.

I’ve heard lots of criticism of Gwyneth Paltrow, but one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard any parent say came from her; in an interview with Amanda de Cadenet, Gwyneth said that she looked forward to seeing who her daughter becomes.

How empowering would it be for all children if their parents provided the love, food, shelter and nurturing they need, allowing them to blossom into the unique individuals they are? To be there to catch their children when they fall – as they surely must – but to help them get back on their feet without having to be a crutch for them? To wholeheartedly accept the choices their children make, even if they would much rather Diana be a lawyer than an electrician, Freddie a doctor than a nursery nurse?

I once knew a counsellor who would say of my attitudes towards life: In an ideal world… But we live in the real world which, paradoxically, imposes impossible ideals on us via the media. Images of surgically ‘enhanced’, airbrushed (yet largely talentless) ‘celebs’ are ubiquitous; they are illusory and mock those who aspire to imitate their idols.

Is the desire to attain a celebrity lifestyle what drives folk to spend vast sums of money on the National Lottery and its offshoots? I’ve seen people leave shops (on more than one occasion) and immediately fish for a coin with which they can start scraping at the multiple scratch cards they have bought and that they hope will change their lives. This seems like quite desperate behaviour to me; it’s certainly disempowering.

We give our power away because we’re not made aware of our inner strength – and I have no doubt that it is something we all possess. You ARE capable – all you have to do is connect with your essence, your innate spiritual force; it gives you unparalleled personal power. So, too, does taking full responsibility for your life; thus, there comes a time when we have to take the decision to empower ourselves – unless we want to remain enslaved .

You are the writer, actor and director of your own life story. Is yours a tale of achievement of potential? It can be.

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