Who would not want this: to feel powerful and confident in your own abilities to achieve goals that are really important to you.
This is exactly what Empowerment, the process of strengthening, is all about. It is a rather broad term that is used to stimulate social changes, like for instance the emancipation of women. But empowerment also is personal development and is used as well in business as in healthcare. Often one speaks of Self-Empowerment. A nice definition of this is: “Understanding your full potential and be able to use it in your work as well as in your private life”.
Opposite to Self-Empowerment is victimhood. When stepping into the role of victim, you put the blame of your negative feelings and emotions completely -or for a big part- on the other or on the circumstances. The essence of this role is that you do not take the lead and responsibility for your own life, but that you are guided by the way others respond. How you feel depends on others. What you do depends on others. In general this leads to feelings of powerlessness, directionlessness or aimlessness. The feeling that life happens to you. The feeling of “have to" instead of "want to".
Why is it that one person reacts different to setbacks than the other person? Character, upbringing, traditions, culture, relationships and previous experiences play - without a doubt - a role. But in the end, it is merely due to the fact that one person thinks “I am powerless”, where as the other is capable of thinking “how do I want to deal with this negative situation?”. One person is feeling Self-power, the other person not. An example: an alcoholic who was in prison for a serious crime, had two sons. One son had become a copy of his father: he too drank too much and had ended up the wrong path. The other son was a teetotaler, father of three children and manager of a large company. When they asked the two men, why their lives had worked out like this, they both said: “Well, what else can you expect with a father like that!”
Events in our lives can make us feel we need something from the outside to make us feel good again. We then place the power outside ourselves, where as we become stronger and happier using the power within ourselves. When you don´t succeed to reach that power inside, then it is important to acknowledge this and to change it. Once trapped in the role of victim it is pretty difficult to get out.
Self-Empowerment is focused on finding and using the power within yourself. You can do this individually, possibly with a coach or psychologist. But it is also very effective to work with others on your Self-Empowerment. By discussing with others, you learn about yourself. You learn what is really important to you, you get insights by listening to someone else's story and you discover where your own pitfalls and powers lie, how your own self-image may slow you down to use your power. By working in a group with different assignments, you are challenged and encouraged to take concrete steps to achieve goals that are really important to you. In a safe environment you can practice new behaviour and within the group you can inspire each other.
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