What is empowerment?

What do I mean by empowerment? Let’s first exclude the contradictory interpretations. I am not talking about the commonplace, materialistic notion of the giving of power, or enabling because this is by default limited to material dependency. It is not about having or enabling political power or the power to control or manipulate others, being at a competitive advantage, achieving unlimited technological progress or having access to vast choices of affordable material goods. It is not about licensing to destroy.

Whilst these features of a materialistic society might appear to seem beneficial in the short-term, it is only at the cost of others less advantaged and the environment. What goes around comes around: the greed, aggression, domination and all the symptoms of a belief that we live in isolation from one another, has bred more of the same.  In fact this belief, although part of human nature, is psychopathic, irrational and yet so institutionalized that it allows for extreme human rights abuses to be committed, and often directly or subconsciously hidden from others’ eyes, whether through media control, politically, or individual cover-ups. That world-view says nothing about how to enable the sense of freedom and hope, despite e.g. a lack of material possessions, low status in an official hierarchy, a period of illness or conflict with others. It only tells us how the material status can be improved for a limited time for a restricted number of people and ignores the costs to a dangerous degree because it doesn’t understand the concept of unity.

True empowerment is when an individual or group recognizes that they have a choice to push those limiting fears aside, the type of fear that constrains our creativity, love, wisdom, compassion, ability to follow our dreams. It is the enabling of courage to rise up out of incapacitating negativity and apathy, to move forward towards the desired situation. It is when we start to understand that our lives are inextricably linked to others’ in a vast network of existence, despite our differences, so we become more conscious of our responsibility to support the whole and not just the self. This allows compassion and wisdom to increasingly infiltrate our thoughts and deeds. Simply the connection with the whole gives a sense of place and meaning to life which, naturally, creates a deep feeling of happiness in itself. It is the use of free will to choose new, unexplored paths that broaden horizons instead of narrowing them. It is the creation of a vision of value for the self and the whole. In these moments we are empowered. We are then conscious of the power to change the course of our lives for the better, and how we can positively influence our environment. We can act, regardless of how hopeless a situation may seem to be at the time. The voice of hope becomes louder than the voice of circumstances. We cease to be the effect and instead become the cause. We see that problems are a springboard for gaining greater strength.

This is the greatest power there is to be experienced, because problems become our nourishment when they unavoidably arise!  When this all becomes the basis for our life, we will start to manifest amazing, ultimately desirable changes. Life becomes an adventure, something joyous, precious and full of meaning and patterns of causality. We become grateful for the wealth that life has offered us. Empowerment is the realization of happiness through unity and free-will. Once we become empowered we are in the position to make quantum leaps in personal development relative to the non-conscious state. We start taking full responsibility for our situation – we are the creators. 

Balancing respect for yourself and others

As a rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong if you follow the principle of respecting yourself equally to those around you. If you see yourself generally of less importance to others, you face the possibility of being exploited, manipulated or being looked down upon if the other person is inclined to arrogance. You may even be laughed at! Even if your contemporary is kind to you and don’t put themselves on a pedestal, it is up to you to decide to forge a sense of self esteem that puts you back on an equal footing in your relationships.   people who serve others unquestioningly and sacrifice their own inner wishes may come across as being very kind to some, but by definition they are not aware of their own self-worth and are actually doing others a disservice by not setting their own limits and thereby encouraging manipulative behaviour. This can be explained by a continual grasping for affirmation which can only be healed when it is fully recognized and the person just allows themselves to be as they are. All their apparent imperfections are just human and they can let go. It helps as an observer in this case,  to gently point out that we offered help is  not needed and to simultaneously show them a loving and accepting intention.

On the other hand, if you tend to feel superior to others, your arrogance is not going to make for a pleasant existence with your fellow humans. You may well cause numerous conflicts, suffer from anger, hatred and impatience. Such attitudes are indeed the seeds of war. It doesn’t take long before induced arrogance en masse in a population leads to massive human rights abuses in another country, for example.

Personality traits exhibiting both the inferiority and superiority complexes are also common. Domination of so-called subordinates in an officially defined hierarchy in one moment, and the bowing down to authority in another illustrate this. It is very ingrained in our culture to perceive enormous differences in value between people. This can be quite simply explained by an inability to see the potential in others when we can’t see potential in ourselves. When we seriously try to better ourselves in terms of nourishing wakefulness to our absolute happiness we start to gather the often surprising evidence that reveals character traits we may never have even seen in ourselves before. This contrast between before and after allows us to give others the benefit of doubt more, at least as far as accepting that they, too have a process of development to go through and maybe are not aware of it yet or need some time to overcome certain hurdles.

As always, how we treat ourselves and others can be seen as a mirror relationship so it doesn’t matter what symptoms arise, be it quiet resignation or aggressive dominance, it all boils down to a deep-seated lack of respect for yourself. Once you start to understand that the differences in value you perceive for yourself and others is something that you have created in your mind, you can start to free yourself from imbalances. You can alleviate neuroses, frustration, and much mental suffering that weighs you down.

You don’t have to accept someone else’s behaviour if it is immature, derogatory or weak in any way. It is important to speak out against abuse and stupidity for example, but the essence of the balancing act is to maintain a sense of respect for the higher potential of the individual (S) you are dealing with. That is in itself a very liberating and harmonising experience, not least because you cease to take things so personally.

 

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