• Dr. Patty Hlava

Nine Steps to Peace through Self-Empowerment

Say goodbye to self-doubt and overwhelm. Say hello to peace and clarity.

In the throes of quarantine and social distancing, there has been an opening for a bit of self-reflection. There is a little space to look back at what "normal" was a couple of months ago, and what form normal is beginning to take in this new space. 

In this liminal space where you stand, you may find yourself asking more reflective questions of what you want in your life moving forward. Do you want to return to your pre-pandemic life as it was? Maybe you have found some new rhythms in this time that you find ae serving you well. Perhaps you are noticing a desire for greater change in your life—in lifestyle, diet, career, social engagement, or even spirituality: a longing for more peace.

While many of us have been taught that peace and ease are a reward that comes after you've done a degree hard work and suffering, it is much more accessible than that. Peace doesn't come from the mind, or as a result of hard work and suffering. Peace is a natural byproduct of self-empowerment. 

Self-empowerment means that you take charge of your life; it's owning a level of responsibility for your experiences without shaming or blaming. Self-empowerment is a compassionate call to embrace all that is you: to recognize that within you is the ability to live in alignment with what is true for you

Another way to understand self-empowerment is this: when you are living from a position of self-empowerment, you are living from a place of trusting that you are the expert of your life. You practice self-reflection and begin sourcing answers to your questions with yourself first, and seek support—not solutions, from others. In short: when you are self-empowered, you trust you and don't give your power of choice away to others.  

Self-empowerment means that you are control of your life and that you embrace a growth mindset. A growth mindset allows you to view your challenges and failures as stepping stones along a greater path rather than indicators of your value. 

To be genuinely self-empowered means you have the ability inside yourself to know what is right for you. Your actions reflect the power of the strength you cultivate from making your own decisions. When you are empowered, you can hold a clear vision of where you want to go, how to get there, and what you need to implement to succeed. To be self-empowered implies that you embrace self-belief, self-trust, and self-leadership.

How Does Self Empowerment Feel?

While self-empowerment can look quite different on the outside, the internal experience of it has some distinct characteristics. When you are feeling self-empowered, you experience a sense of peace and ease. You trust that you not only can but will move through challenges and come out okay. 

When you are self-empowered, you are clear in your choices. Your process of making decisions may vary depending on the situations; however, when you come to your decision, you know that you and you alone made it. 

Self-empowerment feels like stepping into your strengths and being your very own super-hero. 

In short: feeling self-empowered feels a lot like deep trust in yourself. With that comes peace.

How Does Self Empowerment Affect Your Life? 

1) Self Empowerment nurtures your relationships

While the term starts with "self," self-empowerment is anything but selfish. Showing up in your relationships from a place of self-empowerment allows you to enter them fully. When you are clear about what matters to you, what and where your boundaries lie, you don't need to look to others for fulfillment. You don't' need to rely on others for validation because you trust your judgment and inherent value. 

You stop doubting your greatness and can embrace your gifts.

Self-empowerment, at its core, is about learning the strengths and weaknesses within yourself and celebrating them. When you are self-empowered in your relationships, you are better able to be a support and inspiration for others: friends, family members, colleagues, and partners alike. 

2) Self Empowerment supports your health and wellness 

When you are stuck in a place of self-doubt, questioning your value, and dismissing your gifts as "not good enough," you are engaging your sympathetic nervous system: the fight, flight, freeze, fawn response in your body designed to help you escape dangerous threats. 

Your body believes what your mind thinks, and when your mind is focused on what you lack, your body stops to feel safe in the world. This focus on lack can launch a cascade of emotions such as anxiety, depression, irritability, or straight-up fear. Holding these emotions for long periods of time, or frequently cycling through them weakens your immune response, leaves you more susceptible to colds and the flu, and contributes to a whole host of health challenges including hypertension, digestive disorders, and over time autoimmune diseases. Self-empowerment supports deep self-care.

When you don't understand who you and live out of alignment with your strengths, it's easy to feel insecure and worry what others think of you. However, as soon as you understand your true nature, what you like and dislike, and what you want in your life, those fears about what others think fade away. 

When you learn the habits that foster self-empowerment, you're no longer living to please others. You begin taking ownership of your life and the direction you are going. Your health naturally begins to improve as your physiology releases the tensions associated with self-doubt, anxiety, and the wasted energy of negatively comparing yourself to others.

3) Self Empowerment nurtures your professional development

When you are tuned in to your personal power, your professional life becomes a natural extension of you. Your work is a way in which you share your gifts and strengths and aligns with your greater values. 

When you tune into your empowered self, you become better at your job. Your new self-assurance allows you to make clear and concise decisions because you are tapped into what your true self desires. You exude calm confidence based on self-trust in your skills and capabilities. You can set boundaries, ask for what you need to complete your tasks, and move through your day with fewer distractions. 

How Can You Become More Self Empowered?

A self-empowered life is a life that is thriving. In our culture of social media and advertising, there are millions of messages coming at you telling you that:

  1. you don't have what you need,

  2. you can't be happy or thrive without a fancy new thing,

  3. you can't be healthy if you aren't doing or eating a specific something, and

  4. you probably should talk to someone to see what's right for you. 

This cultural messaging doesn't support empowered living. In fact, it does just the opposite. Few of us were taught how to cultivate self-empowerment. The result: you are left wrestling with self-doubt, anxiety, low motivation overwhelm, and living an unfulfilled life. A far cry from the peace that you desire—and deserve to experience! Fortunately, Self-empowerment is something that can be learned, practiced, and nurtured! 

Here are nine strategies for increasing peace in your life through self-empowerment. 

1. Invest time in cultivating self-awareness 

Awareness is your superpower, and self-awareness is the key to self-empowerment. You must know who you are outside of your professional and interpersonal roles. You're more than someone's child, parent, or job. You are not your job title or your hobby. Knowing yourself requires developing a practice of self-awareness: a knowing of your inner states. 

When you are self-aware, you are conscious of your thoughts, emotions, actions, reactions, and core beliefs. You know what drives you, and you know what scares you. You pay attention to how foods and activities influence your moods and behaviors. 

Awareness involves recognizing your environment, yourself, and your power. When you are aware, you realize that you can disengage from stressful things—that you have choices. Awareness helps you understand where—and how you disempower yourself in your life and invites you to see alternative options. 

Be aware of the power within you to take back your life. Meditation is one great way to begin to cultivate self-awareness. Sit down in silence and watch your thoughts move through your mind. Watch and notice the tones, recurring statements, and words that float through your mind. Observe the patterns and practice redirecting your attention to the physical sensations of your breath moving through your body. 

When you're done, write your observations in a journal. 

2. What do you want (what you want)

I've had countless clients over the years come to realize that they have been chasing after goals that were never their own. This is so common. You take the job that was a "good choice," or it was something that your parents had envisioned for you. You take care of your partner or kids and sacrifice your desires as you embrace a role that is only one part of your, while others parts of you are neglected. You're left feeling unfulfilled, restless, resentful, or numb. 

When you start to get clear on what you want, not necessarily in terms of "stuff," but in terms of experience, you start stepping into your empowered self.

Start by asking yourself:

a) What do I want in my life?

b) How do I want to feel?

c) What kind of person do I want to be?

d) How would I love to use my time?

e) I’m happiest when I’m doing...

Brainstorm and see what appears. The answers might surprise you!

3. Invest in your growth

Self-empowerment is a skill. Just like any skill, the best way to develop it is through consistent engagement with it. Investing in yourself by taking a course, or hiring a coach, or working with a therapist will offer you the structure that you need to foster that deeper connection with yourself, your values, and your dreams. 

Although I'm not a fan of the phrase "skin in the game," it applies here. When you invest—when you put your money and your time at stake, your engagement and attention naturally increase. The more you put forth your energy and attention, the more growth and change you will experience. 

Investing in a program or coach offers you not only the structure and resources, you also receive the support and accountability that helps bring a skill into the realm of mastery. 

4. Move your Body

Soften the body to soften the mind. Moving your body not only tones your muscles and strengthens your heart, but it also calms and soothes your mind.

Mental clarity is essential for self-empowerment. Move your body for 20 minutes every morning to start your day with clarity and vision. This clarity helps keep you aligned with what matters most to you and gives you the added benefit of giving you a boost of energy to carry with you into your day. 

Watch out for excuses. Your mind might tell you that you don't have time. Remember: you don't need a gym membership. All you need to do is move your body for 20 minutes in the morning. Making this a priority sets you on the fast track for self-empowerment. 

5. Embrace a Growth Mindset: 

When you have the willingness to expand and grow, you cultivate a new mindset. Pause for a moment and reflect on your current dominant thoughts, habits, and beliefs. Are they positively serving you, or are they keeping you stuck? Nurture a new mindset and recognize that you have control of your mind, not the other way around! 

6. Practice Gratitude

To see who you are, you must see what you have. Gratitude is about recognizing the gifts that are available to you each moment and receiving them with grace. When you practice gratitude, you open your heart—and your perspective. You begin to see the world through the lens of abundance and opportunity rather than scarcity and limitation. From this vantage point, it's easier to identify where you have a choice, which is at the root of self-empowerment. 

7. Share Your Greatness

Identify and embrace the gifts and talents you possess. Owning your greatness is not arrogance—it's honesty. Don't wait for someone else to acknowledge these qualities. They may not be able to spot them until you share them. Share what you know with others. Allow people to see you: all of you. 

8. Practice Honesty

Be honest: with yourself and with others. Recognize when you need to pause and recharge. Set a boundary when something doesn't feel right, and say "yes" when something does. When get in the habit of being dishonest with yourself, you create space for resentment, which closes the door on self-empowerment. When you are dishonest with others, you open the door for guilt, shame, and regret. These emotion states are solid blocks to the experience of self-empowerment. When in doubt, pause and ask yourself, "what is true for me right now?" Check in with your body, then your mind. Speak your truth, and you're well on your way to self-empowered living.  

9. Take Responsibility 

Responsibility is at the heart of self-empowerment. To be self-empowered, you must know that you are responsible for your life. You are responsible for your choices, your responses, and your actions. While external factors can serve as challenges along your path, they cannot determine how you respond to them. Embracing your responsibility allows you to take control of your life and release blame on external circumstances. With this comes peace.

With practice, support, and encouragement, embracing self-empowerment can change your life, inviting more confidence, clarity, and peace. Remember that self-empowerment isn't about being selfish. Instead, it's about honoring who you are and the kind of person you want to become, and then making choices that respect that person.

Why should you bother?

Because you matter: You matter a lot. 

Are you ready to take the next step in your journey toward self-empowerment? The Awaken Program is a program designed to help you find clarity in your purpose, and the skills to create the structures that will allow you to live an empowered life.

If you're ready to develop more support and skills using the gifts of Ayurveda in your life, schedule a conversation.

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