10 Steps to Self-Empowerment P2
What we have covered so far
In part one of this blog series, we explored the first two steps to self-empowerment. These were 1) become a student of self, consisting of three sections: self-awareness, self-regulation and self-reflection, and 2) take control of the day, which entailed starting the day with intention and planning the day. If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to do so by clicking the link Self-Empowerment.
Steps to Self-Empowerment
In this blog, I will be focusing on steps three and four of the ten essential steps that you can use to help you conjure the behaviours that build the spirit and attitude of Self-Empowerment.
3) Value your values
The third step that can impart you treasured lessons is Self-Empowerment is valuing your values. It is essential that you first identify what your values are. Core values are the fundamental beliefs you have, and they form the guiding principles that dictate your behaviour. They serve a pivotal role in helping people understand the difference between right and wrong. In this sense, your values act as an anchor that keeps you grounded during complex and dynamic situations. When it comes to our values, there are three things to remember:
The first thing that we must do with our values is to internalise them. By this, I mean to make them become a part of your everyday attitudes or behaviour. They should become part of one's nature and be so ingrained in your thought processes that they become habitual and unconscious assimilation. They should be your teacher and instructor.
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy E. Disney
Live by them
Your values should become your pre-cursor and final influence behind the decisions that you make. When you stand by them, they will stand by you. Once this happens, they provide you with stability and enable you to be consistent in your approach. They bring you peace and joy as you see the benefits and success that manifests in the long-term as their teachings guide you. Regret is close friends with those who cheat on their values.
“If you don’t stick to your values when they are being tested, they’re not values, they’re hobbies.” – Job Stewart
The final step is to honour your values. This means to have respect, admiration and give tribute to your values. To achieve this stage, you must be schooled in the discipline of the art of self-reflection and gratitude. These two tools provide you with a constant reminder of how you have made it thus far and what will get you to the next destination. When you make internal vows to stay faithful to your values, they will never leave nor forsake you. Sometimes it is only your deep-rooted values that keep you from your M.O.M: Moments of Madness. Let your values trump your feelings in all that you do!
“Never compromise your values.” – Steve Maraboli
4) Change the narrative
One of the most consistent and vital battles you must overcome is the one within your own mind. From the perspective and viewpoint that governs our minds, we tend to live out our lives. If the story you keep telling yourself is that you can't, you're not able, or it is too difficult, your mind and body will work with that narrative that you continuously feed it. Remember that the mind is a muscle. Every thought is like a rep, and the thoughts you think on the most, will become the strongest and dominate your mind. There are three mindsets that I want to address regarding this topic.
The Victim Mindset is when someone takes on the role of living out of our wounds that they have experienced and then starts projecting them onto others. This victim mentality is a psychological term that describes someone who seeks to feel persecuted to gain attention or avoid accountability or responsibility. Individuals who have difficulty with this mindset believe that situations and events are beyond their control. Also, that people are deliberately trying to hurt them. The results are that they develop particular characteristics, including being fear-focused, having outbursts of anger, blaming others, pointing the finger, and regular occurrences of pity parties. They are willing to invite anyone who would listen.
If you feel some of the descriptions above relate to you, then here are some tips on overcoming the victim mindset. Your priority is to begin to take ownership, accountability and responsibility for what you want and need. By overly relying on others, you are giving away your power and preventing yourself from growing. Therefore, take some time to determine what you want in your life, what's important to you and most importantly, what steps you are going to take to make them a reality. Draw strength from your values and learn to say no to things that no longer serve you. You will need to decide to draw a line in the sand and stop blaming others or pointing the finger. Start small but be consistent in making the changes that will create the life that you want. Practice gratitude every step of the way, as this will help to shift your thinking from what you don't have to what you do have.
“You can’t expect to be a victor if you’re living a victim mentality.” – Billy Cox
First of all, let us break down these two words. Limiting means serving to restrict, restrain and confine. Belief means to have trust, confidence and acceptance in someone or something. When you think of restrictive, restraining and confining thoughts concerning your abilities, value and worth, this can have enormous consequences on your feelings, actions and behaviours. Limiting beliefs are negative thoughts and opinions that individual views to be the absolute truth. They can have a significant impact on someone's decision-making and the substance of your life by hindering them from moving forward and growing on both a personal and professional level. It is not uncommon for limiting beliefs to be developed during our childhood. As we repeatedly exercise that thought muscle, those limiting beliefs become part of our identity over time.
There are a few things that you can do to begin to counteract your limiting beliefs. The first thing is to recognise that thoughts are not facts. Just because something comes into our minds doesn't mean that we have to believe or accept it. With that in mind, it is vital then that you begin to become the gatekeeper and security guard of your mind. You don't let anything in until you have checked that those thoughts meet the requirements to take up space within your mind. The fact is that there may be a lot of those thoughts already renting space within your mind, so be vigilant and be ready to throw them out whenever they present themselves with an intruding thought. Another technique to use is the 'show me the evidence' tool. Whenever you experience a limiting belief, examine the evidence to see if it is just another lie that needs to be thrown out. Never just take these limiting beliefs for the gospel. Instead, challenge them, and you will find that they were really just bluffs that you were allowing to keep you bound on most occasions.
Stuck in the past
This mindset can have a powerful grip on our psyche if we are not careful and has the potential to block us in the invisible mental prison of our thoughts. When we are stuck in the past, an emotional anchor keeps us tied to something that was either said or what happened. This ultimately means that you cannot appreciate the present, which is a gift (why we call it present) or look forward to the future. The truth of the matter is the past can become like a black hole. If you are not careful, it will consume you until you are completely lost. As a result, you may find that you are existing rather than living or thriving. When you keep replaying the regrets of your past, you end up living what I call the 'moonwalking lifestyle', where everything operates in a backwards motion. This can be quite damaging because you are reliving the horrors of the past and programming the body to respond to fear, anxiety and worry.
The door to yesterday has been shut, and the key is thrown away. The past has run its course and only be resurrected by you within your mind. So here are some tips to help you break free from your past. The first thing is forgiveness, whether it be for yourself or someone else. There can be so much bitterness, anger and rage wrapped up in unforgiveness, and it keeps you in a negative loop that can affect all aspects of your life. For more information on forgiveness, check out my blog and my three-part podcast series on the Dilemma of Forgiveness. The next thing is to pay attention to your emotions because they tell you much about what you are thinking. Our subconscious mind is active 90-95% of the time, which means we can be triggered even though we are not consciously thinking about something. By tracking and paying attention to our emotions, we can break old thinking patterns. Get in the habit of feeding your mind with positive and empowering affirmations and stories about what the future holds for you. Finally, practice mindfulness to help you to develop the skill of staying present in the moment.
“Your past was meant to guide you not define you.” – Unknown
I hope these third and fourth nuggets have provided more grounding and direction as you continue on your journey of self-reflection. Values are the qualities that you want to bring to your ongoing behaviour. They are also the qualities you want to use to achieve your goals, when you achieve your goals, and if you don't achieve your goals. Your values come first because they are here, right now in this very moment, and you can choose to act on them or not. Using your values enables you to achieve your goals successfully. You can only truly live out those values in an authentic way when you change the narrative of how you see yourself and divorce yourself from your limiting beliefs.