For 30 days, I thought it would be good to explore what it means to be empowered versus powerful and how to get comfortable with the “ugly” parts of ourselves. It took me a REALLY long time to become my own best friend, but I thought I would share some of the things that helped me to own my s**t, stop making excuses for it and just be compassionate about it, laugh at myself more often, and be comfortable in my own skin. To kick things off, I thought I would share an oldie, but fantastic goodie, “Wear Sunscreen”! I have been listening to this every day when I run and it always makes me feel inspired to be little kinder to myself and others.
Day One: What does “empowerment” mean to you? The dictionary defines empowerment (empower [em-pou-er] ) as a verb with a few meanings: 1.) to give official authority or legal power to; 2.) to enable (which also means to provide with the means or opportunity); or 3.) to promote the self-actualization or influence of. Synonyms for empower(ment) are: accredit, allow, capacitate, charge, commission, delegate, entitle, entrust, grant, invest, legitimize, license, okay, permit, privilege, qualify, sanction, vest, warrant
Day Two: Alright, so what does “power” mean? Power [pou-er] is defined as a noun with many meanings: 1.) ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something; 2.) political or national strength: the balance of power in Europe; 3.) great or marked ability to do or act; strength; might; force; 4.) the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy: power over men’s minds; 5.) political ascendancy or control in the government of a country, state, etc. Synonyms for power are: ascendancy, authority, authorization, birthright, clout, command, connection, diadem, direction, domination, dominion, hegemony, imperium, influence, inside track, jurisdiction, law, leadership, license, management, might, moxie, omnipotence, paramountcy, predominance, prerogative, prestige, privilege, regency, right, rule, say-so, sovereignty, steam, strength, strings, superiority, supremacy, sway, warrant, weight, wire
Day Three: Our egos seek power. Our hearts seek to empower. Often times, my ego has ruled because I was afraid to relinquish power, yet the true definition of “liberate” or “liberation” is “the condition of being free from restriction or control”. “Power” is about control. By trying to control someone else, we ultimately lose our own personal freedom. This weekend, test yourself to let go of the reins of power in the areas that you try to control life.
Day Four: Want to give up control? Give away something you can’t afford to lose. I always thought I needed to be right, I needed to win. Then, one day, I didn’t win and I realized what it was that I could afford to lose……
Day Five: The ego is motivated by fear and the heart is motivated by love. When you reside to allowing your ego to run you, you give up on loving yourself. The ego serves us only for so long and then we must have the courage to love ourselves. Today, kiss your ego kindly, let it go and let love rule.
Day Six: When was the last time you spoke to a stranger on the street? Insecurities often stop us from smiling and saying hello to someone passing by. If this happens to you, ask yourself, what prevents you from being open to meeting new people? Unrelenting Standards or Fear of Criticism perhaps? Kindly ask the internal critics to shut the EFF up already!
Day Seven: The idea that “beauty is only skin deep” was clearly written by a man who wanted to retain a position of power over his wife (Sir Thomas Overbury, 1613). Empower yourself to step away from the lies perpetuated by society that have you believe you must look a certain way in order to share beauty with the world. There is nothing wrong with taking care of your physical body, just remember to balance that with helpings of kind and loving thoughts to feed your mind and soul. True beauty resides deep within. Remember you ARE gorgeous!
Day Eight: As a human being, I generally want things to go my way. When things go my way, I feel that I have somehow “won” or been “right”. This doesn’t always mean that I feel happy. When I feel confident that I am okay even when I “lose” or am “wrong”, I give up the need to validate my self-worth based on someone else’s opinion of me, and that brings me back to my sweetness of mind. Today – negotiate with someone without intention or attachment to the idea of “winning” or “losing” and focus on listening and respecting what the other person has to say – even if you don’t agree with their viewpoint.
Day Nine: When you are empowered you can surrender your old habits that do not promote life. “The word “surrender” is often interpreted as giving up, as weakness, as admitting defeat. Although this is one way to use the word, we will use it in a different way. Surrendering means letting go of your resistance to the total openness of who you are. It means giving up the tension of the little vortex you believe yourself to be and realizing the deep power of the ocean you truly are. It means to open with no boundaries, emotional or physical, so you ease wide beyond any limiting sense of self you might have.” – David Deida, author
Day Ten: Ask for something you don’t think you will get today. After all it’s Friday….and you ain’t got no job and you ain’t got s**t to do, man…. 😉 (Seriously though….what do you have to lose by asking for something you want? A little pride if you don’t get it? What is pride really worth at the end of the day? Does pride/power bring joy or promote life? Maybe you won’t get what you ask for, but you will feel better for speaking up for yourself and what a great way to start the weekend!)
Day Eleven: “When it comes to the feeling of “I don’t matter,” we take one of two roads in dealing with it. We either find ourselves being powerless or overpowering others in some way.” Stand up yourself!
Day Twelve: Most of us have needed help from someone else along the way to get where we needed to be (or to go). Feel confident in acknowledging the efforts those people have made for you and offer your gratitude. Not only does this make the other person feel valued, but it gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling too!
Day Thirteen: Start doing things that you enjoy, regardless of having someone to enjoy them with, and you begin to see how much f**king FUN you really are! Why wait for someone else to validate your awesomeness??
Day Fourteen: Waiting for someone else to make you happy is the best way to be sad. Transversely, only you can give another person the power to make you miserable.
Day Sixteen: I am gonna leave today’s inspiration up to good ol’ George Clooney (you fine mofo, you) who said it best….”A smart, sexy woman is a cluttered mess of complications, but so much better than the alternative.” That’s right strut your fine mess of a self – it is true beauty pouring out.
Day Seventeen: Travel! The best thing I ever did to boost my confidence and truly believe in my abilities was to travel alone (for a really looong time). Maybe you don’t have that kind of time, but you certainly have two or three days to go see a new place close by. You must be willing to continue to explore new places outside of your comfort zone if you want to rid yourself of old fears.
Day Eighteen: “A person is not given integrity. It results from the relentless pursuit of honesty at all times.” – Unknown….When we deny ourselves the truth, sometimes we avoid the painful process of grieving a loss or facing a fear, and then we also deny ourselves from living our complete and total experience as well. Honesty isn’t always easy, especially when it must be paired with humility, but this is the only way to have real integrity.
Day Nineteen: Give up the burden that you must always know what is best for others, it’s generally our way of trying to maintain control, but it is also a way that we distract ourselves from dealing with our own process. Focus, instead, on being kind (to yourselfand to others).
Day Twenty: “It’s not the weight of the load that brings you down — it’s how you carry it” – Lena Horne. Start out your week with the intention of not allowing what has already passed continue to inflict pain. Yes, it is a part of who you are now, but it doesn’t have to define who you will become in the future.
Day Twenty-One: In the words of Walt Whitman, make your life poetry (happy or sad, it is beautiful):
Love the earth and sun and animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others…
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Day Twenty-Two: Give an impromptu public speech. We all fear speaking in public, because we know others are looking at us and criticizing our appearance, our viewpoints, our mannerisms. But, “what others think about you is their business”, your business is to speak from the heart.
Day Twenty-Three: Never be afraid to stand up for yourself or for what is just. It may seem hard at the time, and you may not win, but it is better than living with the regret that you did nothing.
Day Twenty-Four: (Kind of appropriate as we head into a 3-day weekend) Enjoy sex and don’t feel guilty about it! Too often we use sex as a bargaining chip thinking that it creates bond. When we try to bond someone to us we are trying to put ourselves in a position of power over them. When you are empowered with your sexuality, you return to a state of non-attachment and focus on the reasons YOU want to have sex, rather than to please or coerce another. Do it because you want to, because it feels good, because you like to – don’t do it to manipulate someone, to bargain with them or to obligate them in some way.
Day Twenty-Five: Instead of pleading formagazines to display the human form in a more realistic manner, STOP BUYING BEAUTY MAGAZINES! Money talks and if you hit them at their bottom line, they will pay attention, but for now it will give you an immediate self-esteem boost to stop viewing and comparing yourself to women who have been airbrushed to “perfection”.
Day Twenty-Six: I don’t normally get all biblical on you’re a$$, but there is truth to what Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”. We can lose jobs, friends, lovers, homes, things, but we never truly lose ourselves. You can learn and grow from each failure so long as you are still breathing.
Day Twenty-Seven: Not long ago, I wrote down this quote from tinybuddha.com and posted it on my vision board. I think it is important to remember to ask yourself, during those times of worry, why are you doing what you’re doing?
“Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.” -Unknown
If you completely surrendered your fears, what would you let go of today?
Where would your heart lead you instead? And most importantly:
Knowing that’s where your heart wants to be, what are you waiting for?
Day Twenty-Eight: This article has made its way around recently, and it is SO true. Not only do you give up these things to be happy, but also to feel empowered in moments of discomfort that you will be okay after those moments pass.
Day Twenty-Nine: Paradoxically, each failure brings you closer to what you want because you quickly learn what you don’t want. You learn what doesn’t work so that you can go about creating an environment, both mentally and physically, that are in-line with your intentions and you begin to discover the things that do work. There is real strength and great comfort that comes from knowing each time you “fail” you actually get better.
Day Thirty: Don’t let your journey to empowerment end here, take some risks every day! Here is a great list to help keep your momentum going.