When we’re just starting to make positive strides and changes in our lives, it’s easy to revert back to our old ways, our old habits.
For instance, if you’ve been letting others walk all over you for years, it’ll take some practice for you to set firm boundaries. And to keep setting them.
It’ll be more automatic, way easier, to say yes to something you don’t want to do, to let someone borrow something you don’t want them to borrow, or to let someone make remarks about your weight, because you’ve rarely stood up for yourself.
It’ll be easier to step on the scale or bash yourself for making mistakes. It’ll be easier to let others treat you like crap.
So we need reminders. We need reminders that help us move forward, that prompt us to shift our course and take new steps. Things that activate us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
This is where empowerment comes in. It helps when you have a reminder that empowers you. Something that helps you feel strong, centered, motivated, ready to take compassionate care of yourself.
For me, a big empowering reminder is working out — especially when I’m lifting heavy dumbbells or doing a particularly challenging workout.
When I’m exercising, I feel invincible. I feel energized. I feel strong. I feel capable of taking on challenges, of taking on things that typically make me feel shaky and small.
Another reminder is reading articles. These can be articles on anything from setting personal boundaries to dreaming big dreams. They remind me that I deserve respect. That I deserve to be a priority in my own life. That it’s the only way I can be of service to others.
They remind me that I need to teach people how to treat me, that doing so isn’t rude or mean.
It’s self-care. It’s the basis for all of my relationships.
They remind me that I’m capable of doing these things. That these things are skills, and I can learn them.
I bookmark these kinds of articles in my “reminders” folder. Because the more I read about taking care of myself, the more I am empowered to do it.
So what helps you feel empowered? What reminds you to take good care of yourself? What spurs you to action?
While you’re figuring that out, here are some ideas, which also might help:
- Listen to music that amps you up. These songs might have empowering lyrics (with words that remind you to be yourself or to dream big) or a beat that gets you up and moving. You might even create a playlist with empowering songs. Play it regularly. Play it before you’re going to face a difficult or challenging situation (anything from giving a presentation to setting a boundary with your parents).
- Run, bike, hike or engage in any other exercise that triggers an endorphin rush. What exercise empowers you? What movement helps you feel strong and ready to confront challenges?
- Record a pep talk. Today, most cell phones come with voice recorders. Create a recording of your own words of encouragement and empowerment. Or ask your partner, best friend, relative or anyone else who’s supportive to create a recording for you.
- Keep a file of inspiring articles. Consider what changes you’d like to make in your life. Would you like to get better at setting firm boundaries? Would you like to improve your body image? Feel better about yourself as a whole? Become more self-compassionate? Find the writing that will help you get there. Then save it to your computer, or print out the pieces. Or both.
- Keep a file of your own accomplishments, times you’ve been resilient and moments you’ve stood up for yourself. Big or small, write everything down. Read this list every day.
- Keep an inspiring book by your bedside or in your bag. For instance, this might be the Bible or Torah or a book of prayers, poetry or meditations.
- Wear an inspiring reminder. For instance, this might be a bracelet that’s engraved with a quote or message. I wear my dad’s chain and his bracelet. I never take them off. They remind me to be brave and take chances (a reminder I need. all. the. time.). They remind me of the brevity of life.
- Keep a list of inspiring quotes. Here’s a good one from Anaïs Nin, which I mentioned in another post: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” This post and this one also list inspiring quotes.
In the comments, I’d love to hear what activities empower you.