10 Steps to Self-Empowerment (P3)
What we have covered so far
In part two of this blog series, we explored steps three and four to self-empowerment. These were value your values, consisting of three sections: internalise them, live by them, and honour them. The fourth step was to change the narrative, which focused on the victim mindset, limiting beliefs and being stuck in the past. If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to do so by clicking the link Self-Empowerment (P2).
Steps to Self-Empowerment
In this blog, I will be focusing on steps five and six of the ten essential steps that you can use to help you conjure the behaviours that build the spirit and attitude of Self-Empowerment.
5) Choose Courage daily
The fifth step that plays an essential part in Self-Empowerment is choosing Courage each day. There will always be situations and events that throw us off course, make us uncomfortable or anxious. This is why we must choose Courage each day so we can address whatever comes our way. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you. It is being afraid or anxious but choosing to face that situation anyway. Courage is a mental or moral strength to venture or persevere. When it comes to choosing Courage daily, there are three things to remember:
Courage is a muscle
Courage is not something that any of us are born with, but it is something that we can all learn to grow because it is like a muscle. The more reps that you put in, the greater your level of Courage becomes. You don't necessarily need to go to the gym to build this muscle, although, for some, that is the perfect place to develop their muscles of Courage. It is essential to try and do one thing that scares you each week (you can do it daily if you really want to bulk up quickly). Every time you do something that frightens you, you have hit the gym and broken a new world record. You have built your character. You have grown in mental toughness. With Courage, you have a 24-hour gym at your disposal that you can use anywhere at any time.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
Fear is an opportunity to grow
When we come up against new obstacles, barriers or hurdles in our life, it can often evoke strong feelings of fear. Whenever those feelings arise within us, we have one of two choices; we can Fret Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise! There are two meanings for FEAR. Fear is a universal experience! It is also important to know that fear is a bully and the only way to stop a bully is to fight back. If we are not careful, the fear of what could happen will make nothing happen in our life. Fear doesn't allow people to be themselves. For this very reason, we need to choose Courage and do something that scares us regularly. That is how we fight back against fear and grow! Remember your 24-hour gym at your disposal that you can use anywhere at any time, especially when fear picks a fight with you. Always remember that every level of our lives will bring a new fear that we need to overcome.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Have a willingness to try
The final step is having a willingness to try. In life, we tend to get in what we put out. When we address each day with a readiness, a will, preparedness and a cheerful disposition, there will be a difference in our approach, conduct and character. It really comes down to our thought processes and the thoughts that we allow to govern us. What is the narrative that you tell yourself when making decisions? When facing challenging situations, do you view them through the lens of possibility or impossibility? Do you step forward or show up for things that you are uncertain of the outcome? Is your willingness to try subject to your fear of failure? Always remember, in life, you miss 100% of the shots that you never take! Therefore, let commitment, not comfort be your barometer in life.
“The first step to change starts with the willingness to change.” – Pooja Agnihotri
6) Preserve your temple
We must respect our body and recognise that it needs care and attention for it to function correctly. We have all heard that saying, 'you don't know what you got until it's gone. That statement reigns true when it comes to the topic of health and wellbeing. Your body is a shrine that needs regular maintenance. Depending on what you fuel it with, how well you rest it and how much you exercise, it determines the quality and quantity of your lifespan. When it comes to preserving your temple, there are three things to remember:
Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's health. It means to have intention with the things you do daily to ensure that your actions serve you and your wellbeing, rather than afflict or harm you in the short term or long term. Self-care can be summed up in three ways: 1) the way you think about yourself, 2) the way you talk about yourself (self-talk or when speaking to others) and 3) the way you treat yourself. Therefore, beware of your habits (a settled or regular tendency or practice), your diet, sleep patterns, the thoughts you embrace or dwell on, and the words you speak over your life. Our bodies will repay us later in life for its treatment today.
“It is important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg
Self-love means having a high regard for your wellbeing and happiness. It is wrapped up in how you speak about yourself to others and yourself. Most people don't realise that the person you talk to the most is yourself. Throughout each day, we are constantly having conversations in our own heads. Often those conversations can be filled with judgements, criticisms and limiting beliefs about our abilities or capabilities. When speaking to ourselves or others, it is essential to be mindful of the words we use because they impact us. Constantly talking negatively about yourself is a form of self-harm! It harms your self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
It is crucial to see the good in yourself and acknowledge those things that you do well. Many people find it easy to speak about or identify their flaws but find it difficult to highlight their strengths. We need to be balanced in this area and be able to resonate with what we need to develop on and acknowledge those areas where we shine or excel. Self-love is about having an appreciation for oneself. This mindset is the by-product of operating in ways that nurture your physical, psychological and spiritual growth. This is why self-care and self-love are so vitally important. Self-love also means prioritising and taking care of your own needs, rather than sacrificing your wellbeing to please others.
“When you make a mistake, respond to yourself in a loving way rather than a self-shaming way.” – Ellie Holcomb
Self-compassion means having the same level of compassion for yourself as you would towards a supportive friend or loved one. When someone you care about is down in the dumps, feeling terrible about themselves, and you are speaking to them – what would your approach be towards them in their darkest hour? Self-compassion involves acting the same kindness and understanding towards yourself when you have a difficult time, fail at something, or notice something you don't like about yourself as you would for others.
Research suggests that self-compassion promotes self-improvement and reduces comparisons to others. It has also been linked with greater happiness, optimism and resilience. The foundation of self-compassion is recognising that you are human and, as part of that experience, is making mistakes from time to time.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive” – Dalai Lama
I hope these fifth and sixth nuggets have provided you with some food for thought and given you some helpful information to take that next step in your journey for self-empowerment. Remember, Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you. What will you choose to do today or this week to put in that work within your 24-hour gym and build your muscles of Courage? With whatever you decide to do, make sure you do it in the spirit of self-care, self-love and self-compassion!