What is personal empowerment?
There are times we all doubt ourselves. There are moments our self-esteem may swing from thinking we are great and above average to thinking we are not good enough or even a complete failure. This is a normal part of the human experience. However, if we live in a near constant state of feeling not enough, like everyone else’s needs are more important, or like every move we make is a mistake, it can cause us to live a greatly limited life. We don’t need grandiose delusions or to think we are the most important person in the world, but we do need to be able to see our own self-worth and what we are truly capable of accomplishing.
Even small moments of self-doubt can cause trouble if we let them rule how we live our life.
The goal of personal empowerment is to learn how to realistically see your great potential and to make the best use of your personal power. This requires learning the skills needed to change how you relate to your self and others so that you are not easily disempowered. I work with my clients to master these skills. Then, I help them figure out how to best channel this newfound empowerment into obtainable goals.
Learn how to …
Realize your own self-worth
Be a caring person without sacrificing yourself
Set healthy boundaries and express your needs
Find your authentic self
Creating worthwhile goals with manageable, realistic steps
One thing you can do right now for personal empowerment is set healthy boundaries.
Setting boundaries can be really scary when you’re not used to it. But it is simple when you know the how the process of setting boundaries work.
#1: Be Clear
First of all, it’s important to be very clear with the other person when you’re setting a boundary.
When you’re vague or make them guess, it can be very confusing for them. So, in order to save them the trouble of trying to guess what you mean, just be clear to begin with.
For instance, imagine if your hubby asked you to hang out on Friday because his sister and cousin is coming to town, but you really don’t want to. It’s your only night off and you was looking forward to time with yourself! Instead of saying, “I might go, not sure…” you could just make it clear from the get-go, “I can’t, but thanks for the invite!” Isn’t that so much nicer than leading them on, and having them wonder if you’ll join them or not?
Also, be assertive! Saying clearly and directly what you want is a simple way to make sure you’re both understood and respected. Just because he's your husband doesn't mean you can't say no. Nine times out of ten he has probably ghosted you by saying he has to work late. But as women we don't think anything of it. We may be upset but we get it and eventually move on without his presence. Although his tactics sucks. He did what was best for him without hurting your feelings. Show yourself the same respect.
So, don’t make them guess. It’s not nice. Be clear and assertive!
#2: Remember, It’s Self-Care
One thing that helps me a lot is to remind myself that boundaries are a way to take care of myself.
When you focus on how “mean” a boundary feels, you just make yourself feel worse.
Instead, focus on how loving you’re being to yourself!
You're finally putting your own needs first.
For instance, you’re planning to do your weekly groceries tomorrow night and your sister asks you to watch her kids to go out on a date at the same time. Isn’t it loving to yourself to follow through with your plans to take care of your needs by honoring your own plans to go grocery shopping? In my opinion, yes it is! Maybe you can help your sister at a time that works better for you. Win-win for everyone. Can she push her date up an hour?
So, keep your focus on the fact that boundaries are an act of self-love. You can't keep abandoning your needs or dropping your plans to please others.
#3: Focus on Feelings + Needs
Another tactic for setting boundaries without being rude is to verbalize your feelings. Let the other person know how you feel and what you need.
If we take our example from above, maybe your sister keeps pressing you to keep her kids on Friday and asks why you aren’t available. You could respond, “I’m feeling burnt out with work this week. I need time alone at the end of the week to recharge my batteries.”
Then, you’ve clearly stated what you need and how you feel. And it makes it a lot more difficult for your sister to keep pushing.
However, it’s possible she might. And guess what? She might not be the greatest sister if she can’t understand that you’re simply meeting your own needs by turning down her request.
Perhaps you need to hold a family meeting and talk about this unhealthy habit of her exploiting your kindness. Maybe she can ask her friends or someone else to help her out and see if she show them the same disrespect. Trust other will assert themselves just as you are learning to do.
When you keep the focus on your needs and feelings, it makes it easier to set boundaries without looking rude or feeling guilty.
#4: Practice Simplicity
As a recovering people pleaser, I know firsthand how easy it can be to give 1,000 explanations for saying no.
Sometimes, that gets me in trouble and I end up getting talked into saying yes. Especially if it's a request from one of my kids or hubby. Sigh. I hate when I let that happen.
What works for me is to practice simply saying, “No thanks!” without any explanation. When you do that, most of the time people back off.
When they keep pressing, you can smile and say it again. Eventually, they get the hint. Give it a try!
But also watch out for your triggers. My husband tend to use client treatment when he don't get his way. This is a big trigger for me as I hate it when I think someone is mad or disappointed with me.
Keeping it simple with a little, “No thanks!” is an easy way to set a kind boundary, tone of voice and nonverbal communication plays a big part. Try smiling while saying no. It's less defensiveness.
#5: Speak Neutrally
Finally, when it comes to setting boundaries with looking rude, try not to get defensive or angry.
When you can speak in a neutral tone of voice, it helps keep the conversation neutral as well.
But when you start raising your voice or get defensive, it brings a different tone to the conversation. Then, it can feel like conflict like I mention above. And you might even start feeling mean, which is the opposite of what we want. We want to express ourselves with love and compassion even when saying no or "Hell No!"
So, try to keep your tone of voice nice and neutral to set that boundary with as much kindness as possible.
I know firsthand that setting boundaries can feel mean, but it doesn’t have to! I hope these tips will help you set them with kindness as you learn how to empower yourself and heal from emotional wounds.
If you are ready to learn more ways to empower yourself, Contact us today for a Clarity Sessions.