Empowerment is not Elusive, You're just not Motivated
I met with a friend again. I don’t regret it, but it did take a lot of energy from me. That is why I am writing this, hoping to remind myself what empowerment means, why empowerment is important and where to find the motivation to keep going.
I have set so many boundaries that I’ve forgotten what I used to do as a friend. That is, I would completely subjugate and abandon myself to help others. What an awful way I was living. Since meeting with the friend, I’ve had to work harder at grounding myself.
My peace has almost been breached.
I will say I am proud of myself that I don’t feel guilt. Before, I would have worked myself up over not helping them. I’d shame myself into thinking I was the worst person in the world. But the problems at the time could not have been supported by me. They could only be helped by the person.
I was really reminded that you can only help yourself.
Others just don’t listen.
I want to review empowerment and what it means. Defined by the dictionary, empowerment is ‘the state of being empowered to do something: the power, right, or authority to do something.’
There are so many complicated add ons to the concept of empowerment. Your social determinants of health, your past and present experience and your motivation. Just to name a few.
Empowerment is important because it puts the power and control of your life into your own hands. That is not to say that you won’t need help. But, you would be able to handle life better, without mental strain and chaos.
An important part of empowerment is self-reliance. Having the tools and capability to solve your own problems.
But neither empowerment nor self-reliance matters without motivation. And not motivation from social media, your friends or alcohol. The motivation that comes from within.
The best example I can give of this is a plant. The purpose of the plant is to grow. But say it develops a soil infection or is attacked by birds. What happens then? Well, the plant would still grow. It’s purpose fuels its motivation. Whether with human intervention or natures blessing, the plant will likely heal.
The plant is empowered by its surroundings, motivated by its purpose, reliant on a little assistance and itself to heal.
And if I apply these concepts to myself, my empowerment comes from the self-reliance that I have worked hard for. My motivation comes from my commitment to not go backwards.
The conversation that I had with my friend revealed that we are in two very different places. Even though the same amount of time has passed, I am no longer stuck. I felt sad and angry. Distressed and frustrated. I felt dignified that I had set and maintained boundaries.
I tried to explain to my friend what was happening to her. Because I had been her in those situations before. I tried to explain with my examples and offered advice to steps she should take.
Journaling, meditation, therapy. Repeat.
But I realised what the problem was when the conversation cycled back to negative self-talk. My friend doesn’t want to and isn’t ready to, do the work. I think my friend is actively choosing to not be ready too.
That I understand. It is so difficult to sit with yourself. To confront yourself and then to change is petrifying.
My friend wants someone to listen.
And I don’t want to listen.
I don’t have to.
Because the boundaries that were set were in direct response to my feelings being hurt. They were in response to the neglected friendship. We are the same people in name only.
I thought maybe I was selfish, what does it cost me to listen? It costs me a lot, actually. The day we met, I took time out of my workday and had to work later. Then, I worried about the conversation. I worried about my friend.
There has been hours and hours of worry since that meeting. I have had to battle myself to not revert to the friend who abandons themself to help others. What my friend needs from me at this time, is not something I can give.
Because, in doing so, she loses the chance to become self-reliant and thus empowered. And, if I help my friend the way that is being asked of me, where is her motivation?
For me, I risk my motivation and empowerment.
At the end of the day, we only go to bed by ourselves.
There is something important that I haven’t discussed yet. That is choice. It was my choice to go to meet my friend and take that time. Just as it is my choice to step back.
Because my friend has made choices too. And those choices aren’t about going forward. They are about staying in a cycle.
I can’t stand by and support it.
That is not to say that I won’t be there if absolutely necessary. I organised the meeting in response to a social media post. But to participate in a continuous circle is a waste of energy. And it is negligent to my friend.
The realisations my friend needs to come to, can’t be achieved with my listening or advice. My friend needs to come to those realisations alone.
So, I spent time in meditation, and I journaled. I talked to myself and pondered in different situations. The decision is to be a friend in a reduced capacity, as I have been.
That is my empowerment, motivated by my commitment to healing.
Tea of the day – T2 Tea Just Chamomile Herbal Tea
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With love and eternal optimism,