Have you ever had a moment in your personal or professional life when you felt, disempowered, disrespected and unsure how to reclaim your power and happiness?
Perhaps it was the result of a narcissistic boss who undermined your worth or intimidated you through insults or bullying. Maybe a friend or colleague betrayed you or took advantage, abusing your generosity. Did a cheating and lying partner pull the wool over your eyes making you feel less than your actual worth?
It's happened to all of us in some capacity. There are endless forms of disrespect and emotional rape that render us doubtful, fearful and defenseless. We should always demand respect and honor for who we are, and for who we are not.
The good news is that you don’t have to remain powerless.
I am excited to share three simple steps that will embolden you to live a more authentic and liberated life where you will never be the victim or the prey again—a life in which you will assert and maintain your personal sovereignty.
Empowerment is a recent buzzword that you’ve probably heard in conversation or read about on social media. According to The Oxford Dictionary, self-empowerment refers to the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. It’s something most of us desire, but don’t necessarily have the tools, secret code, or courage to obtain. It’s something we all need in order to live a richer and more fulfilling life.
Despite being difficult to attain, the building blocks to self-empowerment are very basic if implemented effectively and strategically.
STEP 1. Know Thyself
This is a very complex notion that originates in Egyptian and Greek philosophy. I’ll try to it sum up in one sentence. It means to have a complete understanding of who you are, what you are, and the relationship your existence has with the universe and others.
If you grasp and respect this self-awareness you are empowered beyond measure, as this is the foundation of your identity and your legacy. It can take a lifetime (or three) to comprehend who you are, what the meaning of your life is, and your purpose.
Life is a journey that teaches us lessons that help us know, shape and understand the who, the what, and the Why of our existence. Establish and honor your personal values. Don’t stray from them. They are deal-breakers when violated. Walk away if they are not honored or respected. It will hurt in the beginning. Focus on the long-term benefits.
The better you Know Thyself, the more compelled you will be to travel your authentic journey and the harder it becomes for others to stray you from your path. That’s power.
But wait, there’s more!
STEP 2. Self-Love
The second step is self-love. If you lack self-love, it’s time to take whatever measures needed to shift that mindset. Self-love is the foundation of your strength. Self-love leads to self-respect and authenticity. Love yourself enough to believe that you deserve all things good. This does not mean selfishness or vanity. It is a health and beneficial form of love that establishes who you are and your worth.
The more you love yourself, the more you will honor your values. Take time to recognize and acknowledge your values. They define your character, and your character lets the world know the very essence of your being. What is important to you? What makes you happy? What are your standards and expectations? In which direction does your moral compass point? What makes you feel complete or unfulfilled?
It can be a massive challenge to live authentically!
The truer we are to ourselves, the truer the world will see us and act accordingly. Painful life experiences and toxic encounters can make us doubt ourselves, feel unworthy and turn self-love into shame, guilt and self-loathing. When we lack confidence, we are disarmed and unable to defend our values. When we honor our most authentic selves, we are free and in total control of how others will treat us and how we will feel about ourselves.
When you are down for the count, in particular if you are a "giver," it is definitely time to be "selfish." Make sure your oxygen mask is on first for your own survival. Helping others first serves you no purpose when needing to reclaim YOU. Your giving nature will always be there, but now with boundaries and limitations designed to protect you.
STEP 3. Boundaries
Know when to say no, and be comfortable with saying no!
Know when to walk away and cut your losses if deals are broken.
According to multiple studies, the top deal breakers in relationships are: untrustworthiness (lying, cheating, deceit, manipulation), abuse or anger issues, bigotry, poor hygiene (but of course LOL), and selfishness.
Don’t allow a friend, partner or boss to undermine you… ever.
Always be in a position of power where you can walk away from those who don’t honor or respect you. You deserve a life of bliss, filled with people who are rooting for you, and for your dreams to come true.
A huge component of setting your boundaries is to not be preoccupied with what others think. We only care what others think because we are dependent on acceptance. And yes, we are social beings who need to fit in; but fitting in doesn’t mean losing or compromising our identity. I’m not condoning cold-hearted selfishness void of empathy, sympathy, and humility in order to be you. Remain humble, kind, and generous. Deep down we know what’s right and when compromise is called for.
The reality is we all eat lies when our hearts are hungry for acceptance, whether at home or in the workplace. We give up our power because our boundaries are blurred and susceptible to being breached. The more confident you become the easier it is to be YOU. Some will like you and some won’t.
Ultimately, everybody is looking out for himself or herself. You have that right, too. Be strong. Be brave. Be you.
Have the courage to except nothing less than what you deserve. Empower yourself by always positioning yourself ready, willing and able to turn your back and walk away from the abuse void of apology, only forgiveness.
You’ve got this.
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Vital Germaine is Las Vegas’ most dynamic keynote speaker and employee engagement trainer, author of 3 books, including IMAGINATION WILL TAKE YOU EVERYWHERE, Shaping the Mindset of Transformation and innovation.