Life sometimes feels like it beats us up. Maybe we struggle with stress, depression or people who have hurt us. Maybe we carry unresolved grief, resentment and disappointments. We may not have fulfilled dreams that we had, advanced in careers like we planned or we may feel unappreciated in our relationships. That can change if you choose to change it. It could be that that your thinking has become stuck on focusing on all the negatives in your life; it could be that your self-esteem has taken such a hit that you no longer have faith in your own capabilities.
Counseling can help steer you in the right direction, but it will not fix the situation unless you are willing to fight for yourself. Counseling is not a passive magic pill that is popped once a week and then not looked at again until it is time for the next session. Personal empowerment takes a lot of active work on a daily basis.
Your thoughts lead to your feelings, which in turn, lead to actions. Start your personal empowerment journey by writing the messages that you “hear” in your mind about yourself. Do you affirm yourself or do you have a tendency to keep your focus on what you did not do right? If you find that your focus is primarily on negativity towards yourself, make an effort to change your thinking towards the things that you are doing right. Once you decide to give up on the self-defeating negativity, decide to focus on what you are doing right and keeping yourself accountable for the “stinking thinking” and negative thoughts that come to your mind. You can learn to retrain your brain to challenge the self-destructive thinking.
You could use a rubber band that you wear on your wrist. Anytime you catch yourself dwelling on negativity towards yourself, snap the rubber band and remind yourself to focus on something positive, say a prayer or recite a poem to distract your brain from dwelling on negativity, self-comparison or perfectionistic tendencies.
Another aspect that has worked for many is to write down affirmations. Keep a journal of things that you are proud of, how you handled a difficult situation, how you helped your neighbor, and things that you like about yourself. Then end the day by writing a gratitude list. Use your gratitude journal to write down things that you are grateful for. Maybe it was the kind smile from a stranger at the grocery store, maybe it is that you are grateful to be healthy or that the sun was shining all day. Add to your list daily.
As your focus changes to what positive qualities you have, your self-esteem improves. Over time, you feed into your self-esteem and learn to trust yourself to make good decisions. Personal empowerment helps in tackling the things that you may want to change in your life- whether that is to seek a promotion, set boundaries or ending a bad relationship.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. Ingela Edwards Counseling serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist