How to Empower Yourself

Three Parts:Fulfilling Basic NeedsBeing Mindful of the PresentMaking Goals

Empowerment is the belief that you have the ability to control the course of your life. People who don’t feel empowered may have low self-esteem, feel unmotivated to go after goals and stop working toward happiness in their lives. You can empower yourself through emotional and physical activities that get you more in touch with how you affect your environment.

Part 1
Fulfilling Basic Needs

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    Ensure that you have the basic needs of food, water, shelter and a job. Fulfilling these basic needs gives you the certainty you need to feel in control of your life. If you don’t have these needs fulfilled, call your state’s welfare agency and/or job services to get started.[1]
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    Go for a walk. Exercise and activity is another essential human need. If possible, walk or workout outside of the home where you will get some sun, nature and interaction with other people.
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    Think about how much sleep you get on a daily basis. If you average less than 7 hours sleep per week, revise your schedule to meet this important need. Well-rested people have less stress and feel happier.[2]
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    Make plans to interact with people. Call close friends or family, arrange for dinner with a friend or go meet some new people at a community event. Social interaction is a basic need and can improve self-esteem.
    • If meeting new people is difficult, start small. Look for a local community event in your local paper or have a Skype video chat with a close friend in another location. Try to schedule something at the same time every week so it becomes a regular part of your life.
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    • Your goal is to form a social support system that can help you when you feel powerless. If you already have close friends and family, take advantage of it and call them to get and give help.
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Part 2
Being Mindful of the Present

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    Find the silver lining. Think of past life events that make you feel powerless. Try to find a way in which they improved an aspect of your life.
    • Accepting that life is full of mistakes and changes is part of being empowered. Uncertainty about the future is normal, and the ability to recover from mistakes and failures is essential for mental resilience and empowerment.
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    • A silver lining might be meeting an important person in your life, spending time doing something that you loved, learning about yourself, trying a new job or moving to a new place that you enjoy.
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    Stop using the word “can’t. It is the definition of powerlessness, because it states that you don’t have the ability to change or do something. Replace it with “won’t” or “don’t want to” which show that you have a choice in how you interact with the world. [3]
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    Try a positive mantra. It can be a goal, a feeling you want to achieve or a sentence that makes you happy. Repeat it whenever you start thinking or speaking negatively.
    • For example, read and repeat quotes about empowerment.
    • Stephen King said, “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
    • Mother Theresa said, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
    • Find more quotes online. Go to http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/empowerment.html.
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    Start a “Happiness Project group. Check out The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin at your local library. These groups help each other to identify emotions that are keeping them from happiness and make resolutions to improve their lives.
    • Find an existing Happiness Project in your area by visiting the author’s website. Go to http://gretchenrubin.com/get-started/join-a-group/
    • You can also start at home by making a gratitude list. Write every day about something that you are thankful for. [4]
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    Sign up for a class. Learning something new with a local college extension office, lifelong learning center or library is an inexpensive and powerful way to change your view of the world. Education is a powerful tool for confidence, because it gives you more opportunities.
    • For example, take this time to learn the computer, learn to do your own taxes, grow your own food, build a website, learn to ski, identify birds or become an amateur photographer. It can empower you at work or increase the beauty you see in the world.
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    Try meditation. Deep breathing and focusing on the present can clarify your thoughts and feel more control of your body and mind.

Part 3
Making Goals

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    Determine if you are feeling weak because you recently achieved a goal. People often feel depressed or powerless after they have completed a hard-fought goal. Give yourself a few weeks to rest and then make new goals.
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    Make a change in your life. Pick something small you have wanted to change and make it happen. Several small decisions can be as powerful as one large life decision.
    • Good changes might include commuting by walking or biking, cutting back on alcohol or cigarettes, getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, reducing time on the internet or a device, scheduling time for yourself or trying a new recipe each week.
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    Sign up for an athletic event. Choose something you have to train for, such as a half-marathon or a Tough Mudder. Exercise teaches mental resilience because you learn to push through pain and see its benefit.
    • In addition, being physically powerful may make you feel mentally powerful.
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    Set short-term and long-term goals. Working toward something is the culmination of self-empowerment, because you must feel as though your actions will help you achieve something.
    • Try a short-term goal like exercising 5 times a week for a month or increasing your productivity at work in small increments.
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    • Try a long-term goal like saving for a vacation or getting a certification.
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    Volunteer your time. Giving back to your community through a charity or a community organization will help you realize the power you have to affect the people around you. Schedule one hour a week or half a day each month to improve others’ lives and help them achieve their basic needs.[5]

Article Info

Categories: Personality Traits and Attributes | Building and Maintaining Self Confidence