I don’t know about you, but this word ‘empowered’ really sounds good to me, however when think about it I find myself asking – am I sure what it means?
I know it’s about a feeling or emotion and I know about empowering beliefs versus limiting beliefs and how to work towards those. But empowered itself, what that actually conjures up for me, well that’s a bit of mystery.
The reason it’s a mystery is because when I think about empowered I think about how I would feel if I had this, if I felt ‘empowered’. And when I start thinking about that, I realise there are lots of other labels I could use to describe that feeling. Labels such as ‘confident’ or ‘in control’ come to mind, but is that the same as empowered? Well, the dictionary definition says “make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights”. So this feeling of confidence and control is actually on the right lines, but then why isn’t it just ‘confident’ and ‘in control’? Why do we need another word…’empowered’?
The dictionary definition talks about confidence and I really wish that you could go and buy confidence from the shop, but it doesn’t work like that. We can support people to build confidence for themselves by giving praise and highlighting the positives of what they do, but it’s up to the individual to build the confidence within them. That’s the whole point, it comes from within. And that’s the same for empowered. We have to look within us to have empowerment, and to be empowered. And it all starts with the belief. Without belief there is no empowerment taking place.
Here at 3b our whole ethos is around Be, Believe, Breathe. This came about because of a conversation Sue and I were having while we were discussing the kind of business we wanted to create. We wanted people to have faith in themselves and in who they were and to understand that being themselves was enough. We wanted people to believe in their own abilities and what they brought to the world, going very much hand in hand with being themselves. And the breathing part was for people to have some time for themselves, or to take a pause and be able to give their thoughts and feelings some time rather than reacting. And it is within this whole ethos that we can truly find empowerment.
Now at this point in time many of us don’t feel like we have much control because of the pandemic and the restrictions we are living with and that whole feeling of powerlessness and uncertainty can have a detrimental impact on people’s mental well-being and it’s this very thought that we want to get past. We cannot change our current situation, we have to wait for the government, the vaccine and see how things will start to play out. These things are outside of our control. And yet we can be empowered without the need for control. In a way, this feeling of being in control really doesn’t have anything to do with empowerment. Because if we are empowered then we will push through those uncertainties, we will get out of our own way if we aren’t feeling confident and we will let go of the need for control, because the whole point of empowerment is to take action.
If I said to you that you were certain to have better mental well-being if you practiced meditation for 20 minutes every single day, would you do that? Hopefully the answer would be yes, because you have that certainty that it will change something for you and if you really want that change, and you have that certainty then you are more likely to do it. However, we all know there is a chance we might forget to practice the meditation, or that other things will get in the way, or we just won’t give it the time and therefore we will miss a day, or a couple of days, or a week, which turns into a month and on it goes. So, it isn’t certainty that gives you that empowerment, only the action of doing those meditations will support your mental well-being, as you feel differently each and every time you practice. This is what will increase the action and therefore that feeling of empowerment that you have made a difference to yourself.
Now, I am certain that practicing meditation for 20 minutes every day will help you with your mental well-being – I do have that certainty within me. I’m not saying you will never have any mental health issues, but I am saying that you will have greater mental well-being because of the benefits that meditation gives us. So when I talk about certainty, the certainty isn’t that you’ll never get a mental health issue, it’s only that it will offer you some change for the better. So certainty itself is not real, in many ways it’s an illusion. However what isn’t an illusion and what is real is that we have a choice to take action in so many aspects of our own lives – we just need to decide on what we want and then act upon it.
So what do you want to feel empowered by today?
What can you do to act upon that today?
Because today, is the day, to begin.