Thursday, July 26, 2012
Challenge 3, Part 2: Becoming Self Empowered
Becoming self empowered is not easy, or at least it has not been an easy journey for me. I still fear the path one must walk to become self empowered, especially as I head toward learning to speak up for myself, learning to ask for what I need, and actually giving myself what I need. Funny how that works, what we most need for ourselves, the ability to meet our own needs, something we should be empowered to do at least once we reach adulthood, is often a very hard task to accomplish!
Think about it. Once you reach a certain age, you learn to feed yourself. Yes, the food you are given may not be a choice, but you get to feed it to yourself. I mean, how many people fawn over baby as he grasps that first fistful of Cheerios and shoves them adorably in his mouth? Same with potty training- to be free of that diaper means "I'm a big kid now." Riding a two-wheeler. Learning to tie your shoes. Being home alone for the first time. All empowering milestones that we pass through as we grow.
For some, those milestones are celebrated and begin to instill that sense of accomplishment and pride in oneself. This can pave the way to a life where the feeling of accomplishment, of pride, comes from within. Self empowerment to the maximum level- believing in yourself, not needing external praise to know you've done well. This boost gives one the power to try new things without worry of failure. All those little milestones along the way were sprinkled with failures, but because the successes were celebrated, the failures just became a part of the process, and not the end all self belief.
For others, that is not how their journey went. Successes weren't as frequently celebrated and failures filled the gaps between. Becoming empowered was feared, and developing a reliance on those around you (your family) was the expectation. Sure, some milestones were celebrated and many skills were learned. There was even a bit of fun sprinkled along the path. But that self confidence that grows as a result of positive experiences that are praised, and failures that are encouraged to be challenged into successes, well, that is often missing. Instead of looking at a failure and saying to yourself, as was modeled to you by your parents, "I can do it, let me try again, I know I can do it," a failure means the end. A failure means you need someone else to help, and you always will.
Which, in reality, is not true.
Because EVERYONE can become self empowered. Everyone. Doesn't matter how old you are or how lousy your life was growing up or how little you were celebrated. It IS possible to learn to lean on, to empower yourself to reach for those experiences, to learn to nourish your body, feed your soul, and love yourself. No, you might not be able to do it alone, at least not at first. Yes, it may take a long time, and you will need to have people that are walking along the path with you. And yes, at first you will need them to feed you the praise and encouragement you missed as you grew. But eventually, at least I'm told, you will no longer need the encouragement to come from those walking with you. Eventually you will be able to internalize their positive words, replace the negative tracks with positive messages, and empower yourself.