Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 21: The Gift of Empowerment

One of the greatest gifts we can give anyone is empowerment. It’s a word that means different things to different people and various groups have adapted it to mean different things, but I believe empowerment means being able to speak authoritatively and with confidence for one’s own self.

It took me until my 30s to realize that I shrunk back from fully expressing who I was or what I wanted in all aspects in my life. While I may have been fully empowered in some relationships and dynamics, I wasn’t in others. In some instances I avoided strife or controversy at the risk of my own autonomy.

I can’t think of any overarching examples, but I can think of hundreds of little instances where I smiled politely and said something benign when my inner dialogue went something like, “You **#!, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you?”

For those of us that were taught to be peace-makers and givers and polite people, it’s important to remember that life is not an either/or proposition.

I don’t have to be polite or impolite, a peace-maker or argumentative, a giver or a taker. Life is not  dichotomy. There is plenty of middle ground where I can stand on my own two feet.

I am a firm believer that you win more flies with honey than with vinegar, but sometimes that honey needs to be laced. Asking “What was your intention behind that question?” ferrets out poorly phrased questions from disingenuous ones and gives both parties a chance to be fully understood.

At the same time don’t have to engage people’s stupidity. Sometimes people truly aren’t worth our time or energy. Stupid is, after all, as stupid does.

But “no, thank you” is one of the best phrases to have in our back pocket. It applies in a whole host of situations.

One is a great book for kids to learn the power of standing up for themselves. Let’s teach our children to narrate their own lives.

I for one stand up and say no

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein

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