When we empower ourselves, or become empowered with the necessary support from others, we open ourselves up to countless possibilities and experience a sense of unparalleled freedom. When we are empowered, we get to take ownership not only of our past, but also of our current reality and our future. We allow for new opportunities for personal growth, career progression, and fulfilment, which makes our goals and dreams more attainable.

What does self-empowerment mean?

Self-empowerment refers to the act of empowering one-self by taking control of both your personal and work life through active decision making. The decisions you make must come from a place of authenticity and a willingness to take responsibility and must be based on what you want. Throughout the course of our lives, there will be times when we will feel disempowered in the presence of certain people, events, or situations. We need to be kind to ourselves during such times and approach the situation as an opportunity for learning and personal growth, rather than remaining passive or seeing ourselves as ‘stuck.’ It’s important to remember that we are always a single decision away from changing the course of our lives entirely, and that the power we are yearning for already resides within us. Sometimes we just need to reach inward to find it.

Why is self-empowerment important?

Living a life by your own design offers multiple benefits. Research has shown that people who decide to actively take control of their lives tend to be happier, more fulfilled, and more satisfied in both their careers and personal lives. Self-empowerment helps you to feel more confident in overcoming life’s obstacles and helps you make more informed decisions when doing so. Another great benefit of self-empowerment is that it encourages you to develop your skills and helps you approach people and situations with clear direction and certainty – both of which are critical to the successful achievement of your goals and aspirations.

When you are self-empowered, you are choosing to be in control of your destiny. You are likely to face times of adversity and uncertainty more confidently and you are more likely to come out of it stronger. One of the most beautiful things about self-empowerment is that it doesn’t stop with you – it helps others too. When we are self-empowered, we are more capable and willing to empower others. By being visibly more confident and in control of the way you live your life, you can inspire those around you to also take charge of their own destinies and to lead a more self-empowered life.

Another way in which self-empowered people may empower those around them is through their leadership, guidance, and direct intervention. When someone has been deprived of the knowledge or tools they need to thrive, they can become empowered when we make these resources available to them. This leads to more people being fulfilled in their jobs and personal lives, and builds a healthier and happier society over time.

How can I become self-empowered?

If you are only just beginning your journey to self-empowerment, do not fear – there are many techniques and exercises that can support you during this process. It is important that you find the ones that suit you best and that you make sure you practise them regularly. The first exercise entails jotting down your thoughts, obstacles, and achievements in a journal. By doing so, you will be able to record the progress you’ve made so that you can identify what worked, what didn’t, and reflect on how far you’ve come.

Another important technique to employ on your journey to self-empowerment is cognitive restructuring – which refers to the process of challenging the self-limiting thoughts and beliefs that underlie the sense of powerlessness you are experiencing. Every time you have a negative thought, confront it and ask yourself whether there is truth in this thought. Then try to look at it from a different, less self-defeating perspective. Perhaps you have come into the habit of viewing yourself or your situation in a very specific way, and it may be hard to change that – but it is possible. Try to consciously practise an internal narrative that is more positive and supportive of who you are and where you’re going. Once you make these self-affirmations a habit, positive thinking will come more naturally and will have the potential to subdue any negative and self-limiting beliefs – thereby promoting a sense of wellbeing and self-worth.

The ABC Technique, which was proposed by Dr Albert Ellis in the 1950s (and later adapted by Dr Martin Seligman), was introduced to help people develop a more optimistic outlook on life regardless of their circumstances (also referred to as “learned optimism”). This is a very valuable technique for anyone trying to achieve self-empowerment, as it allows a person to see the consequences of their negative thought patterns and to become more optimistic in response to that. ABC stands for: adversity, beliefs, and consequences. Simply put, the theory states that we all experience adversity, and that the way in which we choose to think about this adversity creates beliefs. These beliefs in turn affect our decisions and actions, which leads to consequences.

To get started on the ABC technique, we need to pay attention to our internal dialogue whenever we face adversity, and jot down the details of the adversity we faced, the beliefs we formulated, and the consequences that ensued. Once aware of these three things, we’ll be able to recognise patterns in our thinking that might be problematic, and come to realise the immense difference it would make if we chose in future to formulate more positive and optimistic beliefs in the face of adversity.

One of the most powerful ways to achieve self-empowerment – particularly in the work-place – is to upskill yourself. Learning a new skill not only boosts self-confidence but also opens up new job opportunities and possibilities for promotion to higher positions within your company. Another great way to build towards becoming the most empowered version of yourself is to increase the amount of physical exercise you do. When your body feels good, so do you! And when you feel good, you feel stronger and more powerful. If you struggle to commit to gym memberships or enjoy a more sedentary lifestyle, remember that every bit of exercise counts. Start by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or get into a routine of walking for just 20-30 minutes a day. You’ll be amazed to find that it’s not only the exercise that’s improving your health and happiness, but the fresh air and change of scenery too!

Along your self-empowerment journey, you may find that you need a little bit of inspiration to keep you focused and motivated. A great strategy to employ here is to pick a role model that inspires you, and to study their recipe for success. Find out how they came to be the success they are today, which obstacles they faced, and how they overcame them. Remember that you are your own person with your own journey, and you’re unlikely to follow in the exact same footsteps of your role model – so use their story as a guideline and embrace your own. Take it to the next level by working even harder and smarter than they did. That way you’re bound to turn everything you do into a success.

Most importantly, remember to never give up, no matter how many times you have to fail before you succeed. Life is an opportunity for growth and learning, and we will never stop learning until our very last day on the planet. So, embrace all it has to offer, dare to be bolder and braver than you were yesterday, and find the power that lies within.