Your thoughts have the power to either empower or disempower you.
Empowering thoughts help you to take charge of your life. They’re necessary for you to make empowered choices. Empowered choices are the result of empowering thoughts and draw to you what you really want in your life. True empowerment comes about when you effectively convert intention into action.
When life is peaceful, predictable, and going along nicely it seems like you’re in control and you’re reasonably happy. When life seems out of control you can quickly shift into feeling stressed and anxious and your happiness can jump right out the window. The pandemic is one of those things that has thrown many people off course in alarming ways.
Using Your Time to the Fullest
Time is your most precious resource, the most precious thing you have to work with. Without time you have nothing else. So why would you waste any of it stressing out about things that you have no control over?
Knowing that upsetting yourself over things outside of your control is unwise, is one thing. Being able to manage your thoughts so that you aren’t unduly upset is another and requires self, or personal empowerment
The idea that your stress levels and emotions are the direct result of our thoughts, is relatively new. It’s easy to blame situations and other people for your emotions. You may even think it’s justified. But by taking responsibility for your thoughts and the emotional results of those thoughts, you are empowering yourself to make better use of your time and therefore have so much more control over your life.
It’s OK to spend some time in sadness, worry, stress, fear, or anxiety. If you can accept that those feelings are the result of past and/or present thoughts, and just be with them in acceptance and compassion you will move on far more quickly. Buying into those emotions and creating new disempowering thoughts will keep you stuck in them for much longer.
Taking Responsibility for your Thoughts
Taking responsibility for your thoughts is the first step to increasing the control you have over yourself. The next step can be even more challenging because it requires consistent work. Work that ultimately only you can do.
Decide which thoughts serve you and will get you where you want to go. Hang onto those thoughts tightly. Put them up on post-it notes around your workspace or on your fridge. These thoughts are the foundation from which you can use to create more positive thoughts.
You may be surprised when you start observing your thoughts. They’re likely to be far more negative and critical than you expected. Sometimes you’ll want to give into them. But what will help you take charge of your life is to challenge them. Challenge them with thoughts that are believable. You probably won’t be able to believe that you’re amazing at something. There will always be people that are better than you. But you can believe that you’re good enough.
…but What if I’m not Good Enough?
This is the underlying thought that undoes so many people. Don’t let it undo you. It’s a thought that won’t serve you. Keep reminding yourself that you are good enough. Keep reading your post-it notes, ask other people who you respect for their opinions. If the thought persists, at some point, you’ll need to confront it if you want to use your thoughts to empower yourself.
Of course you’re good enough, everybody is. This thought is probably coming up for you in just one or two areas of your life. Take some time to evaluate the thought. Imagine an old-fashioned set of scales. Put this thought on one side and all the evidence you have to the contrary on the other side.
If your scales tilt towards the side of “I’m not good enough,” then re-evaluate what you’re trying to do. There’s no point pushing ahead with something that you have a strong underlying belief can’t work. But there are things you can do that may balance out your scales, or even better, tilt them in your favour.
- Skill development to increase your confidence
- Re-think your journey in a way that may work better for you
- Enlist more support
- Do our Needs Profile Questionnaire in the sidebar to make sure you are meeting your most important needs
Pushing Forward with your Best Thoughts
The scales are a great visual reminder of what’s true for you. Maybe with more information, it will no longer be true. That doesn’t matter. That’s something for the future.
Right now, if your scales tilt towards the positive evidence that you are good enough, then align your thoughts and get going. You can re-evaluate later and maybe change course if necessary. But right now, use your evidence to create more thoughts that put you in control of whatever you’re trying to do.
Create a Mindset that Serves you
You’ve probably heard the word mindset bandied around a lot lately. But what does it actually mean? There are lots of complex definitions, but mindset is simply the way you think about things. The set of beliefs you’ve developed according to your life experiences and influences. These beliefs create the material for your thoughts.
Some mindsets will serve you a lot better than others. If you believe that your success, or lack of it, is the result of innate traits and talents you’re limiting your potential. Believing that your success is based on the choices you make, learning, and determination, gives you have a much wider platform on which to succeed.
How does Mindset Affect Self Empowerment?
Mindset is now taught in schools. It’s recognised that children who believe they can succeed at most things if they put in enough effort, are more likely to be optimistic and resilient. They’re also more likely to maintain better mental health and achieve better outcomes.
A mindset that serves you, rather than holds you back will interpret challenges and failures as temporary setbacks, feedback, and even see opportunities in them. Having a mindset that doesn’t serve you is more likely to leave you stressed and anxious. You might blame yourself for setbacks, believing that they arise out of your inadequacies. You might believe that you’re just unlucky, or always taken advantage of. Any set of beliefs that doesn’t serve you will get in your way and disempower you.
How to Develop a Mindset that Empowers you
Seeing yourself as limited is not going to empower you. Seeing life as hard and cruel is not going to serve you. Everyone has certain limitations. Life can be harsh, cruel, and unjust at times. Focusing on what you’ve got, what you can do, and what’s right with the world, is going to be far more beneficial than focusing on what you can’t do, what you haven’t got and what’s wrong with the world.
Focus on what you can control and what does work for you. Do your best with that and let the rest go. Choose thoughts that are loving and appreciative of who you are rather than who you or anyone else thinks you should be. Choose thoughts that are loving and appreciative of other people in your life for who they are. Focus on their qualities rather than their shortcomings. Don’t try to change them or even wish they were different.
Appreciate your life as a journey of discovery. Lean into what shows up with curiosity, value your growth whether or not it’s giving you the specific outcomes you were hoping for. This is how you’ll cultivate a mindset that serves you and thoughts that will empower you. You’ll be far more likely to be happy, peaceful and productive.
If you’d like some help with any of this we have an online course called How to Deal Effectively with Stress and Anxiety. We’d love it (and we really do mean LOVE it), if you’d connect with us via the course. We answer all comments personally, or if you’d rather connect privately while you’re doing the course you can email deb at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check the course out below.