Photo by S Migaj

How To Practice Self-Empowerment In Two Simple Steps

Apr 18, 2024

It’s human nature to let forces outside of our control have “power” over us. 

Don’t blame yourself. Society taught all of us how we’re "supposed" to live. We were raised to live for work, have a family, buy a house in the suburbs, drive a nice car, and be happy. But a lot of us find ourselves living the life society told us was the right one to live, and still feel unfulfilled. 

That was me. I had a happy marriage, good job, two kids, lived in the suburbs — everything I thought was supposed to make me happy. 

I realized I wasn’t living for myself, but for the way I thought I was supposed to live. I gave power to society, culture — even family — programming me not to question my life, and to be happy for what I have. 

Until one day, I took my power back. 

I got a divorce. I quit my job, and started a company. I built a community of like-minded women and men on social media. I found love again. 

Taking the leap wasn’t easy by any means — but it was worth it. Once I stopped giving power to forces outside of my control, and started listening to my gut, my life changed for the better. 

Here’s how you can take your power back, too: 

Step #1: De-program. 

For most of us, society influences a majority of our decisions and behaviors. 

We’re trained to go to school, use the degree for a career, work for a company, have a family, build wealth, spend money, among other things. 

A lot of us follow that path, but end up in a job we don’t like, or in a toxic relationship. It doesn’t work out the way we thought it would, and we blame everyone else. But just because something isn’t working doesn’t mean it has to be that way. 

It wasn’t until my late 30s that I woke up and asked myself what I’m doing with my life. As defined by society, my life was perfect. But internally I was suffocating. 

I started to question my marriage, my choice to have kids, my job — every decision I had made up until that point. I felt like I had rushed through everything because I “had to” since that’s the path people expected me to be on. I gave power to forces outside of my control, and to my insecurities — and I was finally realizing it. 

It was a tough pill to swallow. 

I swayed back-and-forth, making myself feel guilty for taking my life for granted. I told myself I should feel lucky for what I have. I had frequent anxiety attacks.

But I still couldn’t shut that voice off. I knew I wasn’t existing for me. And it was affecting my health, and indirectly the health of those around me. I couldn’t fake being happy, and the constant turmoil prevented me from being the best mom, wife, and friend to others. 

The best decision I made was to deprogram. 

I got a divorce. I quit my job, and started a business. I moved. I cut off toxic family members.  Everyone thought I was losing my mind. They all said it was a phase. But I was finally trusting my intuition, and realized that the change I sought for so long was finally me coming into my own. 

Of course, the change was stressful — but I felt like I was re-gaining control. 

Think about your life right now, and which parts feel as if they’re a result of programming. Identify those areas, and write down what change you seek. 

Then go for it. 

Step #2 — Realize all of the choices you have to make, and be accountable. 

Life is full of choices. You make choices without even realizing it. But you, ultimately, are the result of your choices. 

A lot of times, we make choices because we feel pressured — and we don’t even realize it. Instead, we say we “have to” do something instead of stepping back and recognizing you don’t “have to” do anything. 

Nobody has more power than you. If you’re not happy with yourself, you need to choose how to make change. 

For some of us, it’s ending toxic relationships with friends, family, or partners. I’ve experienced all three. 

I used to think I didn’t have an option. I thought, “blood is thicker than water” and that I’d be stuck with family forever, even if certain family members brought me down. I thought similarly about friends. But I was giving power to those people. 

Notice the choices — the consequences of those choices — you have to make, and practice choosing things that best serve you. Hold yourself accountable for choices good and bad, and learn from both. 

Realizing I have the power to do what I want with my life, I rarely feel like I “have to” do something. You don’t have to do anything — you have the power to make the right choices. 

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