The word “empowerment” is not a new word. In fact the word ‘empower’ dates back to the mid-17th century when it was used in a legal capacity meaning “to invest with authority, authorise.” But these days both words have become buzzwords to better ourselves or to become more assertive and proactive. I’ve started to compile a list of various ways you can focus your time and energy in order to look or feel better about your life. Feel free to add your comments at the end.
1) Change Your Surroundings
Sometimes we all need a change in our lives – which can be something as simple as moving your furniture around, swapping artwork on your wall about, or buying some cushions or curtains.
My favourite suggestion in this particular area is always to buy new bedding. Some people have been more extreme and bought whole new beds, but in my case buying new bedding seemed to work a treat. But “to each their own”.
Painting is another inexpensive way to make your surroundings different or more your own.
2) Take Up Something New
Over the years, I’ve been inspired by people taking up sports, hobbies, and even learning new languages. I’ve seen site members jump out of airplanes, start Akido, take up knitting, learn the guitar, or even motorcycle riding,….
It doesn’t matter what it is – just that it’s something new and exciting…Or maybe even something you used to enjoy but had stopped doing for whatever reason. One site member actually wanted to go Husky sledding her whole life and did just that. Twice now!
What are you interested in? There’s bound to be something.
3) Treat Yourself to Something Big (or Small)
It can be big or small depending on your desires and financial situation! Sometimes it feels good to pick up something small like a book or CD, but other days it’s a bigger purchase item like a new TV or Computer. There’s nothing like giving yourself a bit of boost in confidence by making your own decisions.
But if you don’t have the money – don’t get yourself into debt all for the sake of a bit of retail therapy.
4) Take a Trip
If you don’t have the desire or funding to head off on an “around the world” trip, then perhaps settle for something like a weekend break in your country or abroad.
In 2006 when I lost my job, I decided to fly to New York, rent a car and took five weeks to drive across America. It was one of the best experiences of my life. These days there are more and more solo holiday companies geared for the singles market…so even if you don’t have someone to travel with – there’s no need to put off that trip any more.
5) Get Some Part Time Work
If you don’t have a job already, getting some work can be an incredibly rewarding and empowering thing to do. If you do have a job already, but want extra cash or to meet some new people, then it’s also a win/win.
As someone who’s predominantly worked from home for a decade now – I know just how essential it is to make money, but more importantly, to connect with the outside world.
6) Take a Class
Any good with computers? No? Take a class. Fancy speaking a foreign language? What better way than in a class setting where you can meet new people and practice with live people? Perhaps you’re crafty and could take a scrap-booking class, or jewellery making. You may discover you’ve got hidden talents you never knew you had! Maybe you like art? You might consider taking a life drawing or painting class, or if you’d rather an art appreciation class. It’s down to you. But either way, it gets you meeting new, like-minded people and you might learn a thing or two. Again, win/win.
Sometimes we can all use a little perspective. When we are reeling from a break-up and feel like life is so horrible – all it takes is a moment to hear someone else’s problems to make us realise how fortunate we are. So why not volunteer at a local shelter, retirement home, to be a Big Brother or Big Sister, or in charity shop?
It’s often said that “there are always people out there who are worse off than you” and sometimes we need to see it to be reminded of it.
One member, IslandSky, has taken volunteering to the extreme. A year after his break-up he joined the US Peace Corps and moved halfway around the world from America to Africa. Turned out to be an amazing opportunity to see the world, learn new things and help others. Each time he’d check-in, he would describe what he was doing as – “incredible”.
Again find something that is a cause you can get behind – be it homelessness, cancer, the aged or children’s groups – and give them a phone. Genuinely helping other people is one of the best ways to help yourself.
8 ) Improve Yourself
This is a far-reaching suggestion, I know. To me, this can be setting goals for myself, getting fit and healthy or even having a make over.
We’ve all heard that “change your hair, change your man” – and sometimes a new do is all you need to look and feel great about yourself again (and to get your mojo back!)
Improving yourself can also entail taking seminars on standard subjects such as how to make money, invest in property, develop self-confidence or even to learn how to flirt!
What areas of your life lead room for improvement? Once you know that, you can find a way to change it.
“I got my bellybutton pierced. It was something my ex wouldn’t have approved of, but I’d always wanted to do. I’d lost a bunch of weight and had a gorgeous flat tummy, and felt so sexy, so I decided to go for it and I am so glad I did”. Says Mags.
9) Reconnect With Old Friends
We can all be a bit guilty of letting friendships slip at the best of times…so take a moment and think about people you’ve lost touch with for whatever reason. Maybe you had a fall out, maybe you just drifted apart, but there’s bound to be someone in your past that you miss and would like to spend time with again.
Have a think. I know I have a few girlfriends who I miss, in fact one of them more than all my exes combined. . .I should take my own advice on this one!
10) Write a Novel
Yes really! Every November, NaNoWriMo takes place. All you have to do is write 50,000 words – which I know sounds like a lot, but truly it’s not that hard. In fact, it’s less than two thousand words a day!
I’ve already done it three times and I’d do it again this year…It’s more constructive than wallowing in self-pity or blobbing in front of the tube on such a dark month! Give it a try in 2009 – nanowrimo.org
These are just ten the ways to empower yourself. There are literally thousands.
What things did you do to help empower yourself after a break up or when you just needed a change in direction?