Living empowered begins with one simple statement.
I love my life. I am empowered to grow it, ready to face it, happy to live it…good and bad. The whole dance.
As I thought through this article in my bright and sunny office, I’m reminded that what makes a life good is having value for the moments that aren’t so great. It was music that brought me to this reverie: music from my Oklahoma roots, music and the official mail that I received today. Good news. Awesome news.
It sits on my desk like part of the holy grail of education: my acceptance letter and start date for the graduate program in Counseling Psychology at Ball State. August 22. I enroll tomorrow, and beat the pavement for the best of the graduate assistantship positions available.
I wasn’t always sure this day would come. My life has been so messed up in the past year, so steeped in the absolute hell of grief, that part of me had begun to wonder if I had let my chance slip by….if I would ever resurface. I did. Hell doesn’t last forever…at least not in this life.
Much like the wonderful song about life by Garth Brooks called “The Dance” there were moments that I was so engulfed by life that I was no longer empowered to live it; I almost missed this. Still I am glad that I didn’t know. I am glad that I am here, today, in this space…poised on the brink of a new life, a new adventure. I hope you find yourself filled with that excitement, too.
Key One: Let go of the past. I don’t care if you take on a ten session therapy commitment, journal, cry or just simply decide, it’s time to pack it up and pack it out. The past is just that…history. The future needs your whole attention. There is no time like today to take the formidable concentration that you have dwelling on what used to be and point it toward the positive possibilities of what could be.
The journey of a lifetime begins with that single step. Begin with your present life, perceptions, understandings, and strengths. Have a mission statement and move forward, methodically one step at a time. In this world of objectives, goals and big plans, we often focus too much on the future; fix your sights on the smaller goals with in the goal to remain in the present. This is where you can make changes, not today or tomorrow.
Key Two: Empower yourself. The choices of life are yours. Stop giving them away. Think before you say “yes,” or continue to take life as a dress rehearsal. Are you in the game? Are you making points on the board? Don’t just give your free will up to commonality. Dream big, shoot for the moon, get authentically engaged with who you are.
Know thyself – examine those resistance points–the things that irritate you, limit you, or cause you to over/under react. You often resist what you most need to learn. The next time you find yourself resisting new information, a particular situation, or something someone else is saying, ask yourself: Why am I feeling this way? What is really bothering me about this knowledge? Is there something that I need to learn? Am I sabotaging myself?
Key Three: Keep what grows you, and what you grow. If you’re letting your life slip you by, try the most grueling exercise I have ever done. Write you own obituary, something that tells about your life. What is contributing to your development as a human being? What are you contributing to? My obit used to read “parent, loving wife.” That is great…but that isn’t who I am. My kids will grow up and leave; my husband is a separate person. WHO ARE YOU? Obit who you are without all the window dressing of your family. Empower yourself to make the changes of what you’d like to read in that article. But, what about him, Peter asked Jesus. What about him?
If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this. Stop worrying about whether others are getting what you feel they deserve. It’s easy to become preoccupied about the ex love who is fine without you, the former job that is making new sales goals, the spouse that you really wanted to miss you. Total waste of time. Total waste of focus. Take your power back. Realize that it doesn’t matter what happened to you or who did it to you; the only thing that matters is what you do with your life.
Most of us have “unfinished business” such as problems with our family of origin, a person form of failure, a relationship that ended in pain, or someone that you hurt. Fully resolving something from the past is not always easy. Use this oversimplified but true 3 step process. It can do wonders for your psyche and self esteem.
- Acknowledge the wrong, mistake, screw-up, etc. to yourself,
- Admit it to one other person, preferably the person you’ve wronged and, in the latter case, apologize and ask simply: “What can I do to make this right?”
- Move ON. You’ve admitted your mistake, taken whatever corrective action possible. Now round up those wagons and head for your dreams. The only thing stopping you….is you.