• Clare

The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself (It’s Not A Gin And Tonic).

Updated: May 13, 2020

Photo: Hudson Hintze

Straight up: I’m going deep on this one. I’m stepping up to the podium, dusting off the ancient text, and raising my index finger like a wizened old sooth-sayer who’s about to… say his sooth. That is to say, I care about this topic a lot.

Ready? Cool. Whisk up your matcha, settle down on your zafu, and let's go.

Let's start by defining a concept. That concept is empowerment.

Have you ever given this word more than a moment’s thought? What does it mean to be empowered?

To me, being empowered means having the knowledge, experience, opportunities, skills, and self-belief to freely choose how to live.

An empowered person is self-sufficient yet knows when and how to ask for help because they understand the interconnectedness of society and community. They’re confident but because they see everyone as equals, they don’t feel the desire to assert themselves over others.

Sounds like something you’d love to embody, right? Where do you start then?

Grab your favourite pen and a piece of paper.

1. Write down what being empowered means to you. Bear in mind that empowerment takes many forms. It can take a physical form, in becoming flexible and strong in your body. It can take a financial form, in having enough savings and income to travel, donate to charity, and live in a nice apartment. It can take the form of experience, in being adaptable to different environments and trying new things. It can take the form of education in learning how to fix a leak, do your taxes or grow your own vegetables.

2. Choose one thing as it relates to your own sense of empowerment and start working on it today. If you wrote “learning to drive,” then study the road code for 30 minutes today. If you wrote “Speak the language of my ancestors,” then pick seven words to learn today in your family’s native Gaelic, Navajo, or Māori, for example.

3. Commit to practising what makes you feel powerful as often as possible, preferably every day. Empowerment is a practice, not an end goal. You can develop it over time, acquire it momentarily, lose it gradually or surrender it in a flash. It’s up to you to keep it alive within yourself.

Remember to start small, especially if you don’t have access to resources that others do. Tragically, inequality still abounds with so many people being under-served and so many others reaping the benefits of privilege. Take power from what you can, be it a library, talking to someone in your community, or researching something online. There are always small things you can do daily to build up your sense of empowerment.

Being self-empowered nourishes you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, but it goes beyond you: it affords you the opportunity to empower others. This is why it's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

When you have opportunities, resources, and you know your worth, you can lift others up by being a source of inspiration. You can show them not only how it’s done, but that it can be done.

What’s one thing you can do today that will flex your empowerment muscles?

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