Grow Your Power.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

No Power?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Empowerment – growing your 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 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 to develop your skills.

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.

Begin making your own decisions.

Look for areas in your life where you can decide for yourself. Large or small, it does not matter, 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 control away.

Try new things to grow your self-esteem.

Are you going for ice cream? Look for a new flavor to try. You may like it. You may not. Check off that one 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. Doing a wider variety of activities increases your sense of competency.

Volunteering to help others make you more confident.

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 may surprise yourself with how well you can do something.

Practice leadership to improve your confidence.

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 they never knew they had.

Do something for yourself to feel more confident.

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 mater 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.

You’re going to spend your whole life with you. Invest some time in getting to know you.

Learning a new skill will make you feel more competent.

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, online blogs, and short-term classes are all great sources of information. Stores sometimes teach courses on how to use the products they sell.

Get more education or training, and you will feel more confident.

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. Check out some of the online tutorials which show you how to do something. Staying current on your skills makes you feel better about yourself.

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.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Make your space your own

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

home

Make it your place.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Make the place you spend your time a happy place.

We live most of our lives in spaces. Spaces protect us from the elements when it is hot and when it rains.

Some of these spaces are of our choosing, but many more are spaces created by others. If you want to feel more comfortable with your life find ways to make the spaces you inhabit more of your own.

Below are some suggestions to transform places you are stuck with into places you want to be.

A view or pictures create personal space.

Windows open to views. You may have little control over what is outside that window but you can impact the views inside your space.

Consider planting a bush or flower outside your window when possible. Place something on that window sill. A plant, real or artificial can make that bare window sill feel more like your windowsill.

Put up some pictures. Create an environment that says this is my place. Pictures of what matters to you, of places you have been or want to go can all help to dedicate that space to your life.

Personal mementos or keepsakes make you feel at home.

Even on shared desks, people find ways to place their family picture or moments. Bring a rock or souvenir from your life and set it by that monitor to feel like this is your space, at least for now.

Just remember to pick it up and take it with you clearing the way for the next person at the desk to make it theirs while they are there.

Your music takes you home.

Having your tunes on helps make this place you are confined to your own. If you can play your tunes do so. Especially at home have that option. Are there others in your environment that do not like your music? No need to squabble. Get a set of headphones or earbuds and turn up the sounds.

Notice how music connects with your brain on a deep level. Change the music with the task and you will see how music sets the mood. Too much stress in your life, look for relaxing tunes to tame the chaos.

Have restful colors where you spend your life.

Color affects our moods. Green and Blue, the colors of Mother Nature, are restful to many people. Bright colors can spark your creativity. Decorate what you can in helpful colors.

Make things comfortable in your space.

A few minutes spent adjusting the chair, the footrest and the other things around you can make your time in any setting more positive. Can you move an end table or add one to make things within your reach? Maybe you need to move things so they are out of your way. Some of us need to get things out of our productive spaces and clear a path to use the space we claim as our own.

Plan for maximum safety.

Know how to get out of your space when needed. Make sure you have safety equipment, fire extinguishers and the like available. What changes in your room will make you feel more secure? Safety means different things to different people. Find the things that turn your space into a sanctuary of safety.

Pets and plants say this is my space.

Having a pet or plant in your living area makes it so much more your own. Can’t have a dog or cat? Consider a goldfish or a potted plant. It is so much nicer to return home and find something alive there.

Leave room to move and stand.

Avoid environments that keep you restricted to one place to sit and another to stand. Create the option to stand and move about. Frequent changes of posture can relieve stress and tension. Include those options to the best of your abilities in your environment. Having created that space to move make use of it. Frequent breaks, even small changes of position can reduce fatigue.

Those are some of the ways that occur to me that might help you to create a place that feels like home. Feeling that this is your place, that you belong here, helps in creating that happy life that we all deserve.

Any other thoughts about how you have made where you stay your home?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

6 Ways to overcome low self-esteem

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Low Self-esteem

Low Self-esteem.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Want to feel better about yourself? Here are some ways.

The problem of low self-esteem is way more common than any problems resulting from feeling too good about yourself. My view is that this whole rating yourself thing is way overrated.

There are a great many ways to overcome your low self-esteem issues. Some of these methods are concrete and some are more global. There are things you can do and there are ways to change your thinking.

The simple ones are not always easy and the easy ways are not always simple.

The doing things are more specific but the being methods are more globally effective. Pick what works for you and see the results.

1. Work with a counselor or therapist.

Professionals are specifically trained in mental health issues and have all sorts of methods to help you. As you get more mentally healthy you should see a corresponding increase in your self-esteem.

Seeing a counselor does not mean you are “crazy.” The best athletes have coaches and there are some life problems that need a counselor. Most counselors are in the field because we like people. That liking is one of our “core conditions.” We call this “unconditional positive regard” which means I like my clients and have a belief that they can get better, do better and have a happy life.

Would having someone who believes in you on your team help?

2. Learn a new skill.

Knowing that there is something that you are able to do is a huge boost in your self-confidence. Take a class on any subject you would enjoy and as you learn more about that topic you will find you are able to talk about that topic with others and you feel more confident.

This could be an academic class but I find many people prefer a non-graded class or activity. Learn a sport; take a cooking or yoga class or even something practical like a parenting education class.

The more skills you learn the better you will feel. And please do not fall into the trap of needing to be the best at everything so you can feel OK about yourself.

You do not need to become a master chef. You can aim for a “good enough” chef and just make something new that does not get people sick. You also do not need to be parent of the year. There is such a thing as being a “good enough parent.” Be that good and your kids will think you are the best mom or dad ever.

3. Making more friends increases self-esteem.

Friends are often the result of shared activities. The “learn a new skill” above can help you meet new people and develop more friends. Consider also a church or other religious activities. It is nice to be around people who share your values. One caution. Do not turn your religious practice into another way to isolate and withdraw from anyone who is different from you.

Consider also making friends via volunteer work. Seek out chances to help in your community. You will make friends, help a cause and feel better about yourself.

4. Become your own best friend.

So very many clients I see treat themselves in ways they would never let anyone else treat them. Stop beating yourself up. Learn to like yourself. In fact, learn to love yourself.

You make it difficult to like you any more than you like yourself. Think better of yourself and you will find that others around you treat you better. If they don’t catch on to this change in the rules, that from now on you are doing things to make yourself like you, then you need to get them out of your life or at least minimize their influence on your self-esteem.

5. Do an image breaking exercise.

This one came from Albert Ellis; it has been modified and used by lots of other people. He tells of having clients walk a banana through central park on a leash. Once you have done something that wild and crazy it is hard to take the day-to-day activities all that seriously.

Need to always be right and do the best at everything? Try taking a class you know you will fail. Once you failed one class and see that nothing life threatening happened it becomes easier to take the risk of taking a class that you have a chance of passing and not feeling the pressure to be the best, perfect or you are no good. (That one is from Milton Ericsson by way of Haley.)

Remember every great person has failed at things. One writer (Joanna Penn) sums it up as “Fail early and often.” All writers have some pieces that get read and others that do not attract much attention. The more you try the more you will fail but the more you will also succeed.

Treasure those successes. It is way too easy to discount what you do right by thinking only of your faults. But remember to give yourself credit for the things you do well and keep on trying.

Someone said those who matter do not mind and those who mind do not matter. Do things to please yourself not others. Take credit for the good and if you get more things right than wrong you are at the head of the class.

One way to think of this is that most lawyers lose more cases than they win. There is at most one winner. More often both sides got less than they wanted and both think they lost.

For every person who is elected to office, scores or more run for that office. Lots of people try and some few get there. Be one of the ones that keep trying and you will start to roll up the wins.

6. Stop rating yourself.

I left this one for last. Actually, this is the most powerful method. You are a worthwhile person just because you are you. Let all the rest go. Stop evaluating yourself and you will instantly feel just fine about what you do. This comes under the heading of radical acceptance in my book. (The one I live by not the ones I am writing.)

Hope those suggestions will help those of you who feel you have low self-esteem, anxiety or depression to learn to improve the way you see yourself and to go on to have that happy life you deserve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Should I tell my therapist about Porn? Morning Question #21

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Should he tell?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Talk to the counselor about porn?

Why? I would think they already know about it. The better question is – are you or your partner having a problem with porn? If this is something that is causing you problems then yes, by all means, tell the counselor about it.

Another reason to disclose the use of porn is if you and your partner are having relationship problems. Even if one partner does not think the porn is a problem the other partner may. Viewing sexually explicit materials can create a false sense of reality. Internet porn is about pixels, not people. So if one partner in a relationship looks at porn and there are problems, sexual or otherwise, between the two of you, that porn watching activity is very relevant to individual and couples counseling.

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk about anything relevant to your problem. If you are having relationship issues of any kind then what you see portrayed as relationships in any media is relevant. If your therapist is unable to talk with you about this or is excessively moralistic or judgmental, then you just might have the wrong therapist for you.  See also Counseling as a novel relationship and posts about What the counselor can and can’t tell. The post about threesomes was written about bringing an addiction into your relationship but it is very relevant about porn or internet addictions also.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What are Morning Questions?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Counseling questions

Counseling questions.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Morning Questions?

Sometimes a question or comment comes in or someone uses a search term that needs a short answer but not a post. Occasionally in the early morning, I will post answers to those questions.

Here is the most recent list of morning questions. You should also be able to reach them from the list of categories to the right of the posts.

Morning Question # 1 – MFT trainee or MFTT?

Morning Question # 2 Does Methcathinone help you get big in the gym?

Morning Question # 3 What stimulant drug causes mental illnesses?

Morning Question # 4 – Is there a mental illness you can’t recover from?

Morning Question # 5 How often and how long should you see a therapist?

Morning Question #6 – Could a father’s meth use cause Schizoaffective Disorder?

Morning Question #7 – Toxicology not picking up bath salts?

Morning Question # 8 – Which personality Disorders can’t read other people?

Morning Question # 9 Is Substance abuse or mental illness first?

Morning Question #10 Do counselors report crimes?

Morning Question #11 Adjustment disorder, depression & mania

Morning Question #12 – Double Depression

Morning Question #13 Is anxiety a mental illness?

Morning Question #14 Is Dysthymia better in the morning or worse?

Morning Question #15 Blackouts -common or rare?

Morning Question #16 Can one person be a support system?

Morning Question #17 Should LPC interns tell people they are interns?

Morning Question #18 Is stress a diagnosable reason for time off from work?

Morning Question #19 What if a client tells you they had sex with their last psychotherapist?

Morning Question #20 Side effects by being impregnated by a Methcathinone user?

Hope this helps you find what you are looking for. If you have other questions or suggestions please drop me a line.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Just being honest – 5 times telling the truth is a bad thing

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Telling the truth.

Truth.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Not all “truth” is created equal – Communication Skills part 2.

As children most of us were taught we should always tell the truth, even when we knew the adults around us were not being truthful. In relationship counseling, we spend a lot of time on communications but improving communication does not always improve the relationship.

People who say they are “just telling the truth” find that their relationships suffer. Truth and honesty can build trust in a relationship but there are times when telling the truth can be both harmful and misleading.

Some people can say the most hurtful things, only to excuse what they have said by reporting “I am just being truthful.” People who use the truth defense are usually not so very receptive to having their partner reply with similar truths.

While telling the truth is a very desirable characteristic here are sometimes when the truth may damage relationships and may not be the “whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

When your version of truth is an exaggeration.

Common statements, especially during arguments are “You always – You never, you are totally.”

Categorical statements are rarely, if ever, true. This way of saying things is meant to put the other person down and is criticism for criticism’s sake.

Criticism is a way of being hurtful and may cause permanent damage to the relationship. You don’t get to do this and then play the “I was only being truthful” card.

When you say it out of anger the truth is you are angry.

Things said out of anger are meant to hurt. Even if you avoid the exaggeration trap you are likely to say things laced with sarcasm and personal attacks. “Truths,” said in anger, are going to damage not improve the relationship.

Having hurt the other person they have no incentive to work on changing anything. When you are saying things in anger you are lashing out not looking for constructive resolution. Even if the statements were true, when you are full of anger, this is not the time to have that frank talk.

The truth-telling was all about you.

Sometimes “being honest” is about pointing out all the possible flaws in the other person in order to make yourself feel better about you.

Being honest is one thing, but there is no reason to blurt out every single defect you see in the other person. No one needs or wants that much honesty all at once. Think about the purpose behind telling someone the things you see wrong with them.

Is your honesty really about helping them improve or is it coming from a place of selfishness on your part. Honesty like meals needs to be spaced out over time as the need arises.

If you really want to be helpful talk only about as much of the person’s faults as they are ready to hear. Be sure you are not just doing these things to make yourself feel superior.

If the Honesty talk is all about the other person’s faults and you are not ready to own any of the faults this is not real honesty.

You can’t sleep at night or have an emotional hangover after truth-telling.

If after a binge of “ruthless honesty” you find you are unable to sleep at night. If you are emotionally drained for a while after the conversation then you might be experiencing an emotional hangover.

Telling someone off, like drinking too much, may feel good at the time but it is likely to come with the cost of an emotional hangover.

If you find you regret what you have said after an episode of “being honest” You know that the reason is the damage that what you said has caused to the relationship.

Excess of negative emotions, especially anger and fear will lead you to do things while emotional that you may regret afterward.

“It was true” may be a defense in a court of law but it will not make for happy relationships.

The other person is not ready to hear it – you need to use compassion.

Yelling at the deaf and showing pictures to the blind don’t aid communication. Telling someone more truth than they are ready to hear is only going to harm your relationship.

If you really want to end the relationship you don’t need to catalog the other person’s faults to justify your decision.

Remember to practice your compassion skill first and the honesty will have a place to grow when needed.

More on communication skills can be found at:

Communication is not what you think

Just being Honest        

Criticism, complaining, asking for change

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Grow Your Power.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

No Power.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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 they 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, online 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.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.