By David Joel Miller,
Empowerment – growing your personal power.
Ever wish you had more power? Would you like to be more in control of your own life? Do you feel helpless to change your life? There are ways to increase your personal power, be more effective and have more of the things you want in life.
No matter how much or how little power you feel you have today, you can begin to grow that sense of personal power, step by step, starting today.
You may have learned to be helpless, been in a situation where no matter what you did you were told you were wrong. Your efforts may have been invalidated and unrewarded. People may have taught you to be helpless. If you learned to be helpless you can unlearn that way of thinking.
Right now, what are you doing to enlarge your feelings of personal power? If not today when will you begin to take control of your life?
Here are some ways to grow that personal power.
Look for areas in your life where you can take control.
If you focus only on the areas that are out of your control you become debilitated and paralyzed. Focus on your choices.
When you think you have no control you make it so. You may be in a situation where you are dependent on others. You have more control than you think. You may not be able to control your situation or surroundings but you can control your attitude. You can think like a victim or you can think like a survivor and be a participant in your life.
Look for help or a mentor.
If you are in a low power situation, an abusive relationship, or poverty, look for resources that can help you. Teachers, counselors or mentors can help you to grow your power.
Can’t find a person to help you? Look for books on changing your life.
Start making your own decisions.
Look for areas in your life where you can make a decision for yourself. Large or small it does not matter, simply begin the process of thinking about how you feel about things and what you want. Cultivate the habit of making as many decisions about your life as possible. Especially pay attention to how you feel about things. If you feel helpless you may be giving up your power to someone else without even noticing you are giving your power away.
Try new things to increase your skills.
Going for ice cream? Look for a new flavor to try. You may like it, you may not. Check that one off from your to-do list. The more experiences you have in life the more you can adapt to change. Like it or not change is a part of life.
Help yourself by volunteering to help others.
This is a great way to try on new behaviors. In 12 step groups people will become secretaries of meetings or chair a meeting. The experience of trying on a new behavior can increase your self-confidence. You just may surprise yourself with how well you can do something.
Empower yourself by practicing leadership.
In many residential treatment facilities the group selects client officials. Each week as clients come and go these officials change. Clients frequently tell me this was the first time in their lives they have been in a leadership role. They discover talents then never knew they had.
Do something for yourself.
Taking good care of you is not being selfish. You can’t be of service to others if you don’t have it to give. Self-care is important. Making yourself a priority tells you that you are worth being cared for. Feeling good about yourself, knowing you matter will enlarge your sense of personal power and control of your life.
Make something “your own.”
Find something that brings joy to your life. Do you have a favorite author? Which sports team is “your” team? Do you crochet? Do you cook Italian? What interest or activity says “you?” What is your religion or spiritual connection? Feeling that there is something you connect to makes you feel more anchored, more a part of the community.
Learn a new skill.
Expanding your skills is a great way to make you feel more competent and useful. Is there something you always wanted to try? If not now, when will you do this? Look for someone in your life who has this skill and ask them to teach you. Go to places where people who have this skill hang out and learn from them. Clubs, on-line blogs and short-term classes are all great sources of information. Stores sometimes teach classes in how to use the products they sell.
Get more education or training.
Opportunities for education and training are more available than at any time in history. There are plenty of adults of all ages back in school learning a new skill.
There are some suggestions for creating empowerment and growing your personal power. Have you found any other ways to feel more competent and in charge of your life?
Leave a comment and share with the rest of us the things you have done to empower yourself and grow that personal power.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books