As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live! Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Be the Expert about Your Own Life
Empowerment means to gain knowledge and understanding. Self empowerment means to gain knowledge and understanding of the Self. This is where you have to ultimately be. The concept of being the expert about yourself and therefore your own life is one that many people have difficulty in seeing and understanding. Let me explain: we all have been raised to believe that a physician knows what's best for our health; a priest, minister or rabbi knows what's best for us spiritually; a therapist knows what's best for us emotionally or mentally. Therefore traditionally, an expert has been someone else whom we were taught to refer to and trust unconditionally. Questioning the opinions of these experts was not encouraged. The blind acceptance of authority has been a fundamental component of the existing power structures within our society. This has now become a learned behaviour, which in turn has become one of our own belief systems. In a way we have lost or never developed knowingness about ourselves. This belief system is what runs our lives forever more, until we decide to challenge it and then change it within ourselves.
What usually happens when these belief systems are triggered in us, in a real life situation, where we are required to be in our power but feel that we can’t (we feel powerless) and that we have no right to it! We then react in a powerless way or in a victim type manner and become submissive, powerless, non-challenging, accepting etc., etc. and so the cycle goes on.
What is Self-Empowerment?
Self-empowerment means to gain knowledge and understanding of how you operate on the inside. When you understand this, then you are able to understand others around you. Think of it like this - if you knew absolutely nothing about a car and its inner workings and the car broke down somewhere far from home, you would have no idea what to do to fix the car so that you can go on. Yet, if you had a good knowledge and understanding of the car and its inner workings, then you could figure out what needs to be done, get the tools and spares required and fix it. In this situation you would be empowered (feel empowered) as you would know what to do to get yourself going again. You would not just sit in the car and wait for someone to come and sort the problem out for you. So then, self-empowerment means to gain knowledge over and of the inner working of the Self, in a similar way that you gained knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the car.
So what does this mean? It is essential to gain knowledge of how we all work. What happens on the inside, what are the mechanisms that play out and how do they affect our lives? This is a study on it’s own. Some of the articles listed below and on this website will give you a broader understanding.
The next stage would be to find out and to understand where your personal belief system came from. Once you understand that, then you can have a look at the interaction of the two and see how they run and influence your life and how you attract certain events into your life, which then makes you think that this is true for you and reinforces your personal belief systems.
Self-Empowerment implies belief in the self, trust in the self and accepts the responsibilities of self-leadership. Before you can do any of these, you first have to find your own power and be in it! If you do not find your own power it is impossible for you to develop further into your own true Self. Being self-empowered, you will KNOW that you have taken an active role in creating the future of your dreams. By taking an active role your life will change for the better.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
So, let’s define empowerment and in particular self-empowerment. Let us start with empowerment. Empowerment is probably the totality of the following or similar capabilities:
- Having decision making power of your own
- Having access to information and resources within you, that enables you to take proper informed decisions about you and for yourself
- Having a range of options available that you have determined for yourself, so that you can make choices - not just yes / no, either / or
- Having the ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision-making
- Having the belief in self to the extent that you feel that you can make positive changes and/or have the ability to make changes for yourself
- Having the ability to learn new skills and/or improving one’s personal power or group power.
- Having the ability to change other’s perceptions by democratic means
- Involving you in your own growth process and changes. This is never ending and also self-initiated.
- Increasing your positive self-image and overcoming stigma
Finally, the summation of all of the above together, say: “I am personally responsible for my life and where I find myself - if I don’t like it, I have the power to change it and I have the right to do just that. Through the appropriate use of choice, I can change my life!”
Self-empowerment then means to have the personal knowledge and belief in self to be able to perform any or all of the above. Self-empowered people reflect within themselves a feeling of self-confidence that is demonstrated by the following qualities:
- Self-Knowledge – the ability to “know thyself” in all its facets and thereby know how others operate, and then how to interact with them.
- Self-appreciation – it is important to know what you are good at and to develop a sense of self-dignity. Know what it is that you can offer the world and know too that the world wants you to deliver that. We need it from you and we can’t wait for you to do it!
- Vision – points us in the direction that we must move to. It provides the path and in knowing where we are going, we can proceed step by step despite any fear.
- Power of purpose – the power of purpose inspires confidence within us and gives us a sense of purpose. Although purpose is not a panacea, it makes living worthwhile. Life matters when you have a purpose.
- Commitment – this is the “heart-felt” promise to the self to see things through and will not let you down.
- Contribution – for those that live by the principle of contribution, reward follows service and getting follows giving. You reap what you sow! When you sow positive things, you reap positive things and when you sow negativity, you reap negativity. Life is best when you are happily and willingly contributing to others.
My Empowering environment
By Peter Jordaan
When I was growing up I was asked by my Dad to help in the vegetable garden. I did not like it and thought that it was a waste of time. I wanted to go and play and have fun with my friends. At times I was given leeway to go and play but at other times I had to make my contribution. I am forever grateful for these times of being made to make my contribution. There were multiple learning aspects for me in this process. One aspect was that I learned how to work with mother earth and when you do this, there is a huge response from her for your efforts as compared to other non-prepared areas of cultivation. Other aspects were working together as a family and learning about cooperation and collaboration and about manual work. I learned that I could do many things with my hands – something I would use a lot in my later life!
Another aspect was that I gained an understanding of what happens when you “empower plants”. By this I mean when you work the soil, tilling and adding manure and compost and by adding a regular watering program. We provided the best conditions to encourage vibrant growth and we had a lush garden and a wonderful vegetable garden. It was a joy to see the plants thriving in it. It was even more fun to eat the fresh homemade pumpkin and/or vegetable pie at harvest time! We also discovered that there is nothing like picking fresh vegetables and eating them there and then in the garden, whenever we felt like a snack. You could taste the vibrancy! We would often pick vegetables, tomatoes and fruit during the day, as a quick nibble.
Despite the garden being raided by us kids, there somehow was always enough for us to constantly nibble on as well as to harvest. Unconsciously I started to discover that there is always enough - my first lesson in abundance! That however, is a different matter to this article. Amazingly and with very little effort, there would always be enough! Some plants were left to go on in order to produce seed. We would then harvest the seed and later replanted it. It was like a never-ending source of food. All we had to do was add a little planning and effort in preparation. Nature can be truly abundant and benevolent and this is a lesson we all have to learn!
From this “simple environment” I started to learn about empowerment and what it meant. When we create an environment that empowers, everything responds and this goes for the plants, for me and for my family. The simple difference was that we offered the seeds and plants a healthy environment that encouraged what they did naturally and then they responded! This is what we in turn offer our clients - we create a vibrant healthy personal environment that encourages self-development and motivation.
Primary Components for Self-Empowerment
From the article below, you can see how the elements may be viewed as a pre-requisite to a healthy, inviting environment for self-growth. If you are serious about enjoying fresh organic goodies from your own personal growth garden, then have a look at this outline of a program that I developed. I have labelled it “Successful Proven Steps for your Personal and/or Business Life”. I found that by using this powerful process as a guideline, it shifts clients from a position of being stuck to advanced levels of personal stature, empowerment, not afraid of life, excited to go out there and take on what life has to throw at them. This always results in changed relationships at home, with friends and at the office/work place that are warm, loving, mutually supportive, encouraging, co-operative and collaborative. In fact, every facet of life changes into something really positive, dynamic and workable.
When undertaking this for yourself, you will find that things come to you that much easier, synchronicity starts to happen, opportunities come your way and life begins to flow for you. In other words, you start to manifest what you want in your life. Everything we teach here is practical and you can take it home and work with it straight away. We don’t believe in intellectualisation of anything. By making minor adjustments to this program, we have been able to facilitate the healing of the so-called “impossible” diseases like diabetes, all forms of depression, abuse (sexual and other), addictions, etc.
Benefit of Self Development
By becoming more aware of our concept of Self, improving our self-esteem, our new version of old belief systems and increasing our self-motivation and our willingness to go out and engage in life in a positive manner, we develop our self-knowledge and understanding of how we operate, what the internal dynamics are that plays out in our life and building our self-confidence and we can naturally progress to trusting ourselves, fulfil our life purpose and be our own life inspiration.
As our own personal development unfolds, our sense of being an active, creative participant in life also grows. This internal state of self-empowerment is a dynamic platform to move forward from within our personal developmental plan.
You don’t have to do it all on your own
We need to look at how the Universe works and sets itself up to help us. There is always something that is being done by the Universe to help us and assist us to grow and develop. If we could and would only but open our eyes to see it, we would understand and take the opportunities available to us to grow and make things easier, better, more fun, etc. for ourselves. The fundamental thing is to realise that we don’t have to do it all by ourselves. It is OK to ask for help and insight to support you on your way. It is comforting to know that no matter what the problems are, there is always a way out. The Universe ensures that. It also says: “know and work” with, instead of against the laws of the Universe. When you do this, you can solve every problem or situation and the sky is literally the limit for you.
A methodology to understanding self
Well the first thing to do when a situation arises where you have a reaction to something (it can be anything), become aware of where that feeling is in your body. What does it feel like? Try to imagine what it feels like and once you have the feeling of what it feels like, project it as a picture / image of something that happened to you earlier on in life. Have a good look at it and trace it back in your life to the first time that you felt or experienced this. Then have a look at what was going on at the time. What were the circumstances; what was happening to you; how did this situation negatively influence you? What was it that you took on about yourself in that moment; who did not encourage you to have power or to be in your power; to be authentic? This is where you were triggered by some or other belief system and ended up giving your power away. Your reaction in the present moment is that moment of the past that you are reliving now, in the now. In that past moment lies the gem for you to now ponder on and to overcome. Herein lies the answer/s that you have been looking for.
If you can’t do it for yourself, then get someone who is specialised to help you to get the relevant understanding and answers for you. Once you overcome that hurdle you would have started to build knowledge about yourself and how you operate. When next a similar event/situation comes along you will not necessarily react negatively, as you will have understanding, however, you will be more empowered to overcome it easier.
Whenever you have a reaction to anything, do the exercise above over and over again and soon you will have built up a huge amount of knowledge about yourself. Through this methodology you will eventually overcome all your reactions and fears that were holding you back or that made you feel disempowered. When you reach this stage, you would have become quite empowered and powerful in your own right. You will be able to manifest what ever you wish!
An example of disempowered people and how it plays out in society
Let’s look at an example to try and illustrate our point. In our country (South Africa), with the problem of HIV / AIDS, people with HIV/AIDS are typically seen to have a victim consciousness about themselves and they appear totally dis-empowered and dis-enfranchised.
Ok, so how did this come about? Looking at the typical person who has this disease, they are generally the ones who have been the victims of society and have been subjected to negative authority experiences, negative societal experiences, negative cultural experiences, negative home and family life experiences, negative environmental experiences of which one is living in townships and being told what and what not to do by others. This is what I call victim consciousness in this article. They are not given an opportunity to think or take decisions for themselves and have not been encouraged to this in any way. In fact just the opposite is true for them - “just do as you are told” is what their experience generally is.
They are also subjected to a medical system that is completely disempowering and an economic system where they are generally the downtrodden ones, the abused ones, where they have to irk out a measly living, etc., etc. From their point of view they see life as hard, they don’t deserve, they are not worthy of or they are not good enough. They are never encouraged to be better and believe that they cannot do better for themselves and that they must just accept their life situation as it is. This then has become a life long pattern for them and they think that this is the way life is and they never actually challenge it. They think that this is their lot, this is how the dice fell and there is nothing they can do about it! They feel a victim. This is nothing else than a learned, conditioned behaviour – a kind of conditioning. Now look at the symbolism of this and how it is reflected in their disease. Their immune system becomes compromised and they become powerless to defend themselves against the disease entering into their body. In my practice I have not yet come across anyone who has this disease that does not have a pattern of victim consciousness somewhere in them.
In order for them to change their situation, they need to learn to view themselves as experts on what they need, look at their negative belief systems, see what is involved to clear this and learn to take care of themselves, they need to learn to deeply love themselves (in all of the aspects that it means). They need to become fully empowered! Once they develop this attitude they will start expressing themselves, creating positive attitudes and events for themselves and uplift themselves out of this deadly cycle.
Another Example Let me give you another example of a child in an upmarket home, who has everything done for them, everything is given to them and they never lack for anything. They are used to just giving orders and getting what they want. This kind of child then grows up and goes out into the working world carrying this experience with them. This is their belief system about the world and the way it operates. They expect to be able to carry on the same kind of life style they were used to when they were growing up. They suddenly find that they are in constant conflict with their co-workers, their subordinates and superiors. They can’t understand why and what is going on that life does not work like that. From the outside looking in we can easily see what is going on but from the inside of the person they have no idea – they think that this is the way that life should be and that is how they think they should operate. They can’t see why people are in conflict with them. They simply have no idea.
We can go on, and on, with many examples of life!