Greetings from the sunny south, where the sunsets are spectacular, the temperature steamy and the humidity just shy of 100% most of the time. I’ve relocated my residence, and with that come new opportunities, new challenges, and the same old me.
I’ve been reading a lot, developing new skills, starting a personal business, and doing research in the spare hours between job applications. My research led me to an interesting if contradictory article about “empowerment”, which as we all know is one of my favorite topics. This writer however was critical of the whole idea, arguing that to empower implies giving power to one previously without. Diving in with a critical lens, I read the article and worked out my own conclusions on the subject. If you aren’t tired of hearing about the strength, tenacity, courage and capability lying inside each of us, read on!
An audacious definition of EMPOWERMENT:
- To remind or affirm of inner strength. To allow one’s self or another to be strong, tenacious, courageous and bold.
- The act of calling forth and calling out the strengths of one’s self or another, especially in the absence of feelings of these strengths.
- To allow, encourage and celebrate the strength, drive and power of others, understanding that their capability does not diminish your own, but rather amplifies it.
You see the idea of empowerment is not somehow to give power to another, as if we are so powerful and others so totally lacking. There are situations in which we hand over our authority to others, and times in which we may see others with very little sway over their circumstances where we may try to allow some, but this is not empowerment.
Years ago when I started this journey to become one who “empowers” others I did it not from a place of such strength, or influence, but as someone who was tired of giving her power to others. I come to this space not because I think that other women have no power, no strength, and no ambition, but precisely the opposite. I became an “empowerer” because I saw the women around me pushing down their God given power, minimizing their strengths and downplaying their abilities. Women afraid of being strong, people convinced that their goals were too ambitious, their desires too far out of reach. I was tired of living my life in fear of what others thought about me and saw other people in the same situation, giving the authority in their lives over to the expectations, judgements, and opinions of others. I experienced my own strength, took time to wholly appreciate my abilities and unique character and loved it so much I knew I wanted to spend my time reminding others of how to feel the same.
So, on with the goal. I’m going to continue reminding, calling out, encouraging and affirming. You keep reading and taking what you need. If any “power” comes from it remember, it’s not mine, it was in you all along.