Empowerment vs Disempowerment

13 Aug


“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you are right”
 ~Henry Ford



      People often struggle with feelings and beliefs that are disempowering. Some of these feelings are resistance, negativity and feeling sorry for oneself. While others choose positivity, acceptance and gratitude. They celebrate life and make a choice to have such a perspective on life.  Changing ones perspective from disempowerment to empowerment can firstly be done by accepting that life’s happenings are beyond ones control but our reaction to the those happenings are within our control. Realizing that we always  have a choice and options is significantly more empowering than an attitude of feeling like we have no choices.
     The main aspect of disempowerment is a feeling of powerlessness. With this powerlessness brings about negativity, feeling like a victim of circumstance and resentment.  Let’s look at negativity. It can be one of the biggest blockades in life. It drags down ones energy and emotions. It’s easy to become frustrated and negative about some situations but allowing those feelings to dwell can lead us into a pit of despair and feeling out of control.  According to the law of attraction, we must redirect the negative feelings to positive ones, remembering that positive attracts more positive and vice versa.

     If you think of your own experiences in the past, you can be reminded of what feeling negative can do.  I can remember some mornings I would wake up tired and grumpy and that would generally leave me feeling like I wish I could go back to bed. I would start my day dreading to go to work. At work my irritation continues and soon my co workers are getting on my nerves, and any extra work that I am asked to do, just sets me off. I can feel my blood boiling and tension in my shoulders and back, and soon a headache starts. You can imagine where these feelings will take me if I let them continue…I would be focused on what is wrong in my day and maybe vent about it to friends or my husband…and soon go to bed dreading the next day, feeling like it will be the same. Or I wake up tired and grumpy and sit with that negative feeling for a bit, and then choose to let it go.  I know how much I can’t stand to feel grumpy, so I set about a change so that my feelings will be better. I could take my coffee outside and listen to the birds chirp or feel the sunshine on my face, I could put some fun music on to pep me up and feel more energized. I can choose to do something to get me out of this funk.   The knowledge of being able to turn a negative into a positive just by choosing what you want to feel is empowering. How you feel and respond to a situation is entirely up to you. 

    Another factor of negativity is negative self talk. By using negative words, negative feelings arise which can bring you and others around you down. Decide what positive words you can use in your thoughts and conversations. 
Some examples of negative self talk are:  ‘Why does this always happen to me?’, ‘Why can’t I be smarter?’, ‘ Why is everyone against me?’.  
By changing the way we speak, we can start to believe if and others around us will as well, creating a even more positive effect. 
‘What can I learn from this experience?’, ‘What makes me feel good at this moment?’, ‘How do I become smarter?’, ‘What should I do differently?’.  
In the latter and positive questions, there is a chance to see things differently and see one can do to change his or her own situation, whereas the former questions do not and leave one feeling helpless and a victim of circumstance. 

    Alternately, to create positivity one could say affirmations. Making affirmations is a way of acknowledging your strengths, capabilities and love for yourself. Sometimes we may catch ourselves saying something negative about ourselves. I have often said ‘my hair looks terrible’ or ‘I am huge’, or ‘this is a disaster!’. With these negative statements made day after day, we come to believe them. So by making positive affirmations day after day, we can come to believe those instead. Affirming ourselves can bring about a change of perception. Some affirmations are ‘I am strong’, ‘I deserve this’, ‘I am worth this’. Each day we can build ourselves with this positive language and begin to believe it and replace the negativity with positivity. 

   Another aspect which causes one to feel disempowered is resistance. Resistance is a state of not allowing. It can be in the form of feeling envy, blaming others, or feeling sorry for oneself.  In a state of resistance we might complain about our situation but do little to change it. We might feel sorry for ourselves and start to look for someone or something to blame for our misfortune.  All of these actions are a drain on our energy. When we are in a state of resentment or resistance, there is little room for improvement in our lives because our energy is wasted on these feelings.
    Acceptance is taking control of how we respond to our lives. It is a shift from seeing things as hopeless to seeing that we are the catalysts in changing them. Instead of feeling resentful of what others have or others do, we can start to appreciate what we do and we have. Instead of seeing only the bad in the world, we can decide to see the good also and choose to make a difference. 
    
Case Study 
      For Louise, it was her weight. She’d been dieting for 15 years and getting nowhere. She lost and gained it all back again and again. She had feelings like she wanted to just give up and deal with the fact that she was going to be overweight for the rest of her life in hope that something may come along and change it.  She started to see a life coach to work on her issue. She was feeling like she didn’t even want to address it though because she was so tired of the same result and not believing she would ever just lose the weight and keep it off.
     Her coach asked her why she wanted to lose the weight and Louise’s answer was that she wanted to feel good, look good, and feel more worthy of herself because she’d be healthier, fit in her clothes and feel more attractive. She came to realize by her own answer that she was really just feeling powerless and defeated as well as unworthy. She was doing little to change her situation because she wasn’t feeling motivated to exercise and was feeling shame when she exercised in public because she felt fat and was self conscious of what others might think.
     Through coaching she was able to see that she was her own worst enemy. Her thoughts were so negative and limiting. She was seeing failure and hardship before she even got started. She could hear the negativity and resistance in her own voice. 
She decided there and then that she didn’t want to feel like a victim of circumstance. It was a turn off for her to see or hear this kind of talk from other people and she refused to be one of them.  It was a good thing to actually hear herself and her negativity being articulated and paraphrased by her life coach. It made her sit up and say ‘enough!’.  She started to focus on what she really wanted and how she would go about achieving it. She looked at the feelings that were associated with the prior weight loss before she had gained it back. She started to feel energized and positive remembering how it felt to take control like she had before. She chose to hang on to those positive feelings. She decided to walk outdoors, eat healthier, shop for healthier foods, journaling about her successes, and setting up action plans to keep on track. 
    She worked on removing the shame and unworthiness she was feeling by being overweight by facing her feelings and bringing forth actions that made her feel good. She chose to  blog about her journey in trying to lose weight and hid nothing. The honesty of her blog helped to remove a lot of the shame but also helped her discover that she had so much support from those who read it.  She realized that her worry about how others saw her were in fact, her own feelings of self-esteem that she projected on others. She didn’t know what others were thinking when they saw her, yet she had blamed them for seeing her negatively.  
   Louise shifted her perspective of feeling negative, blaming others, having a low self esteem to feeling motivated, coming face to face with the shame she felt and turning it into a motivational blog she shared with others. Now she is enjoying the process of losing weight and doing it with a positive frame of mind. She couldn’t feel more empowered!


Reflection

What areas in your life do you feel in control and positive about?

What areas in your life do you feel out of control and negative about?

How are you resisting in these particular situations?

What are three actions you can take to change your perspective about these situations?

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