Practical Self-Empowerment Plan: 21 Steps to Take Back Your Power
Giving people the power to control the way you think feel and behave can hinder your mental strength.
And while no one wants to give others such power, many people are guilty of it.
There are many signs suggesting that you’re giving away your power such as:
- You feel deeply offended by any negative feedback or criticism regardless of the source or whether or not the feedback is accurate.
- You choose and change your goals based on what other people think you should do.
- How good day is going to be, depends on how other people behave.
- You work hard to please other people because you feel like your self-worth depends on how good they think you are.
- You often complain about people and circumstances you don’t like.
- You’re having a hard time setting boundaries and you often end up feeling resentful toward those who are taking up from your time and energy.
- You hold grudges when someone hurts you.
In this article, you’re going to learn how to reclaim your life and start loving it.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
The Problem With Giving Away Your Power
Giving away your power presents many problems such as:
#1. Having to depend on others to feel good about yourself and your life.
When you give away your power, you become completely dependent on others and circumstances to feel good.
If things are going well, you feel good. If not, you don’t feel good.
#2. Letting others define your self-worth.
When you give away your power to others, you’ll feel as worthy as someone else’s opinion of you.
However, no amount of praise or positive feedback can satisfy will be enough, and you’ll always depend on others to feel good about yourself even for a short while.
#3. It prevents you from dealing with the real problem.
Giving away your power makes you feel helpless.
Instead of looking for solutions for your situation, you’ll too busy giving excuses and blaming others.
#4. You become a victim of your circumstances.
Instead of actively setting goals for yourself and working on them, you’re letting other people and circumstances decide what goals to dream and achieve.
You’ll blame others and circumstances for where you are in life and how you feel about yourself.
#5. You ruin your relationships.
You can’t seem to be able to speak up for yourself when someone interferes in your life.
However, you’re still are going to grow resentful toward that person.
Practical Self-Empowerment Plan
Before You Start: Identify Who And What Is Taking Your Power
It’s hard to recognize that you have the power to choose your own path in life when you’ve been feeling like a victim for a long time.
The first step, to take over your power, is to develop self-awareness by identifying when you’re blaming other people and external circumstances for the way you think, feel, and behave.
Take a closer look at the things and people that are taking most of your time and energy.
Are they the people and things you want to receive it? If not, then you may be giving them power over your life.
When you spend a fair amount of time complaining about your boss, you’re giving him more power than he already has.
Resolve to stop giving people and things, you don’t want to give power, any more time and energy.
1. Define Your Values and Live By Them
Living a life that’s out of line with your values can be disempowering and unfulfilling.
Your values are the things that are most important to you in life, it could be being a good parent, being authentic, or perhaps you value good physical health.
If, for example, being a good parent is important to you, but you find yourself spending little time with your kids, you can think of changes that will allow you to live more aligned with your values, like delegating tasks and managing your time more effectively.
2. Create a Five-Year Vision
Create a vision of how you want your life to look like five years from now.
Write down the most important categories for you (career, friendship, health, etc.) and for each category, brainstorm goals and ways you can achieve them.
3. Focus On The Why
It’s easier to stay on track when you’re focused on your “why.”
Notice how insecurity and self-doubt is holding you back and think how empowerment can positively impact your life and the lives of those around you.
4. Do More of What You’re Not Great At
Nothing builds confidence like learning a new skill or working on improving a skill you weren’t great at.
Choose a skill you’re going to need and make a plan to start working on it.
Allow yourself to make mistakes and be less-than-perfect at it.
5. Challenge Yourself
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new is a great way to build confidence and show yourself all that you’re capable of.
Make a list of things you want to do that will be challenging, like learning a new language, running a marathon, quitting a bad habit, etc.
6. Design Your Empowering Environment
Make sure your space is inspiring but also functional.
Frame inspirational quotes to keep you motivated and find things that remind you of happy times.
7. Try Daily Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are a great way to boost your confidence and feel empowered.
When you repeatedly tell yourself something, eventually, you will start believing it.
Every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and repeat one positive affirmation. Try saying it as if you mean it. Feel compassion toward yourself.
You can also write affirmations on sticky notes and put them where you can see them regularly.
8. Practice Saying No
Take control of your time and how you want to spend it.
When you’re not interested in an invitation or you already are maxed out for time, say no graciously.
Thank them for the invitation, but tell them you have other plans.
It might feel uncomfortable at first. You may worry they’re going to feel rejected, but a healthy relationship requires respecting each person’s needs and emotional boundaries.
Here are some ways to graciously say no:
- I appreciate you thinking of me, but it’s not my thing.
- Thanks so much, but I’m completely maxed out for time.
- Thanks for the invite, but I have other things I need to take care of first.
Volunteering helps you take a break from worrying and redirect your attention to something or someone else.
It also affirms that can make a difference in lives other than your own, which can be very empowering.
Choose a cause and give some of your time, energy, and money to it.
Find opportunities to volunteer near you through VolunteerMatch.
10. Be Your Own Best Friend
The person you spend the most time with is you. So why not be your own best friend?
11. Create a Customized Self-Care Routine
Self-care is about nurturing yourself—body, mind, and spirit—through deliberate acts of care.
Make the time to slow down and recharge your batteries.
Schedule self-care time as much as needed and make a list of activities you enjoy.
12. Honor All of Your Emotions
Allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgment – without “should,” or, “shouldn’t.”
Giving yourself permission to feel your emotions can be empowering.
13. Start Saying “Thank You” Instead of “I’m Sorry”
If you’re late for meeting a friend, find a way to turn I’m sorry into thank you.
Tell them, “Thank you for waiting for me,” or, “Thank you for your patience.”
14. Accept Compliments Without a Disclaimer
When someone compliments you, accept their kind words by offering a simple thanks and leaving it at that.
Refrain from saying “but” or any other statement to discount your accomplishments.
15. Use Social Media Mindfully
Mindfully choose what you post as well as what content you consume.
Only fill your feeds with accounts that inspire you and be careful of the comparison trap.
16. Challenge The Negative Voice Inside of You
When you’re having a negative thought about yourself, instead of fusing with it and believing it, try to create a space between you and the thought and examine its validity.
You can detach yourself from your thoughts by saying, “I have a thought that I’m a looser.” And try to challenge it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have experiences that would contradict my thoughts in any way?
- What evidence do I have that what I believe is actually true?
- Am I falling into a thinking trap (e.g., catastrophizing or all-or-nothing treatment)?
- What would I tell a friend if he/she had the same thought?
- Am I confusing a thought with a fact?
- Am I basing my conclusion mostly on my feelings or on the true evidence?
17. Practice Empowering Self-Talk
Whatever you repeat to yourself, you’re going to believe eventually.
Make a deliberate effort to replace your negative self-talk with empowering one.
Instead of saying hurtful things like “I always screw things up,” start saying, “I can learn from this.”
18. Work Your Body
Empowerment isn’t just a mindset. Using your body you can boost your feelings of confidence.
Exercise and practicing a powerful posture are proven to boost your mood and confidence.
The following are some power poses you can try:
The Wonder Woman: Place your hands on your hips and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
The CEO: When sitting, rest one arm on the back of your chair and reclines lightly, keeping your knees apart.
The Loomer: When standing at a table, plant your hands on the table surface and lean forward.
19. Act As If You’re Already Who You Want to Be
Think about the future self you want to grow into.
Imagine the habits, daily routine, the people surrounding you, and mindsets and implement those behaviors.
Act as though you’re already the person you want to be!
20. Surround Yourself With Positive People
You are who you surround yourself with.
The people you spend most of your time with, not only impact your mood, but also the person you are, and your achievements in life.
When examining your relationships, make sure the following factors exist:
- They respect your emotional boundaries
- You enjoy your time together
- They support your growth
- You can express yourself openly with them
- You can spend time apart without feeling insecure or guilty
21. Set Healthy Emotional Boundaries
Healthy emotional boundaries are absolutely crucial to your well-being. They define what you’re willing to tolerate and what you are not willing to tolerate.
They serve to protect you from emotional and physical burnout, but are also the very foundation of self-respect.
These boundaries may include:
- Saying no to invitations when you want to say no
- Not tolerating others going through your personal property
- Not answering emails and phone calls late at night or on weekends.
To know when to set a boundary, notice when something bothers you about someone’s behavior.
Breathing Exercise: Breathe In Empowerment; Breathe Out Doubt
Take a deep calming breath through your nose. As you do so, think about every achievement you made, every strength you have, and all the upcoming opportunities.
Now breathe out through your mouth and as you do so, imagine yourself expelling all the self-doubt, self-criticism, and everything that’s keeping you from reaching your goals.
Repeat as much as needed.
Taking Back Your Power Will Make You Stronger
Taking back control over how you think, feel, and behave can be empowering.
In fact, taking back your power helps you become mentally stronger including:
- Developing a better sense of who you are through making choices based on what you truly want and not what others want you to do.
- Becoming accountable for your progress toward your goals, as you’re starting to take responsibility for your own choices.
- Feeling less pressure to do things based on guilt trips or what you think others would want you to do. And being able to devote your time and energy to things you choose to do. Thus, no more blaming others for wasting your time and energy.
- Reducing risks of depression and anxiety. In fact, giving away your power leads to feeling helpless, something that can cause mental health problems.
Like everything associates with change, taking your power back is going to take practice.
Be aware of the ways in which you are voluntarily giving away your power, and work on changing it.
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- Portions of this article were adapted from the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, © 2013 by Amy Morin. All rights reserved.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book Say Yes to Yourself, © 2020 by Molly Burford. All rights reserved.