1. Treat your body like you would a close friend. Would you tell your friend that they are ugly? Would you ignore their basic needs, saying: “Not now. I’ll deal with you later”? Would you feed a friend something you knew was slowly (or quickly) poisoning them? If you would, then disregard this tip and consider seeing a psychotherapist.
If you really think about it, has your body ever given up on you? If you’re here to read this, then the answer is no, and your heart, like everyone’s, is still beating as strongly as it will despite what you do, eat or think. The body sticks with us for life, always doing the best it can to be in good health.
If your body was an old, well-loved friend, you would give it things that bring it joy. You would tell your body that you love it and let it be free to move, eat, sleep and be as it is. Freeing my body from the chains of judgments, expectations and fears has been a huge leap to my own empowerment.
2. Stop trying to “be enlightened.” Instead, be grateful. This goes out to all the perfectionists out there: Stop trying to be something above yourself and be who you are. Total enlightenment, if it is possible, is not a destination, it’s a journey. Total peace exists only in the moment, and nowhere else will you find a deeper quality of perfection. I don’t mean to say forget about the future and your goals—quite the contrary. When you stop trying so hard to be enlightened, all the energy you spent stressing because you aren’t “there yet” suddenly becomes available to you. You can then use that energy in ways that bring you joy and, without trying, you’re on a path of enlightened thinking, doing and being. Be grateful for who you are, and I guarantee that you will feel empowered.
3. Do what makes you feel alive, especially when you’re scared or think you can’t. There’s something that you do in your life that makes you feel alive, passionate or even on fire. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you haven’t found it yet, and it’s time to start trying some new things. Maybe you have several passions and can’t decide to which one you should devote your time. I’m telling you now, it doesn’t really matter all that much as long as you’re doing it. Creativity is the root of empowerment. Expressing your creative power, exercising that creative muscle only makes you stronger. Maybe you have been told that you can’t do that thing you love by others or by your own judgment. You’re too old, too young, too fat, not smart enough. Forget it, and do it anyway! Maybe you’re scared that you will fall and make a fool of yourself. You probably will multiple times! Expressing creativity and feeling alive is worth the pain, pain that ultimately leads to growth, self-awareness and self-empowerment.
4. Allow yourself to feel. We all have emotions—some stronger or more frequently than others—but no one is devoid of emotion. Many times, we hide our emotions or just plain push them aside when we think they are “negative.” We assume that if we were to express negative emotions, the people around us would not approve. By disowning our emotions, we disown an integral and important part of ourselves. A life lived avoiding a part of yourself is not empowered; it is ultimately self-destructive. Letting the emotion be what it is, however, in the moment you feel it without judgment will set the emotion free. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, notice them, love them and notice how they dissipate.
5. Sit with yourself. Weekly, daily, hourly stop, look and listen. Give yourself a quiet moment to realize who you truly are. Who you are in this moment is something unique. It will never happen again in the same way. You are and always will be a constantly moving, changing thing. Stop to notice once in a while, and you will be amazed. You’ll start to become more aware of the many facets of you. A greater awareness of that being that is here now will evoke a sense of security that may surprise you.
6. Trust the process. “What do you mean, Katy?” I mean to say, know that there is a process. Know that growth is happening within you constantly and that you are evolving into someone with more understanding, experience and ability. Just as we can’t revisit the past, we can’t unlearn what we’ve learned. The process of our growth is ongoing and wonderful. Trust that everything is happening as a part of that process, even when the going gets tough and you feel like you’ve lost ground. Trust that everything in your life has appeared (or disappeared) to facilitate your growth. When I can feel this trust in the process and what is, I have an underlying sense of imperturbability in my daily life.