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August 7, 2017

Why Empowerment Is the Key To Happiness

According to Michael Ceo, licensed marriage and family therapist and life coach, the key to a happy life is empowerment.

He states, “A feeling of being in control of our lives is crucial to our well-being.” *

When we are empowered, we avoid the life-crippling problems of mismanaged anger and depression.

He promotes four basic tools for increasing our sense of personal power:

  • assertiveness
  • communication skills
  • financial management
  • continuing your education

Personal empowerment is a strong foundation for success and satisfaction in life.

Here are my thoughts about why these four tools are so important.

1. A lack of assertiveness allows others to violate our personal boundaries, creates resentment, and ultimately leads to low self esteem and depression.

The best antidote to resentment is assertiveness.  The best protection against unhealthy relationships, at home and at work, is assertiveness.

Key:  Increase your assertiveness skills and you will automatically feel better about yourself and others.  It will train others how you want to be treated and weed unhealthy, disrespectful people out of your life.

Suggestions: Read about assertiveness.  Write down assertive phrases such as, “That won’t work for me”, “I prefer…” and “No thank you.”

Practice assertiveness in your relationships and you will build emotional and mental muscles that will work better for you than the mood-lowering ‘solutions” of alcohol and defensive behaviors.

Remember, the road to assertiveness takes practice.  Sometimes we swing from passiveness to aggressiveness on our way to learning how to be assertive.  Don’t give up.  Practice makes perfect.

Book Ideas:  Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships (9th Edition) by Robert E. Alberti and Michael L. Emmons;  The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Lerner; The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships, by Randy J. Paterson Ph.D.;  Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Lifeby Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

2. Poor communication skills cause us to sabotage our connectedness to others, which is essential for emotional health.

We end up misunderstood, not getting our needs met, alienating those we love, and frustrated with ourselves and others.

Key:  Learn all you can about good communication skills and you will enhance the connection you have with others, which will in turn lift your sense of esteem.

Suggestions: Read books on communication skills and making “I” statements, go to counseling, hire a life-coach, join Toastmasters, and/or participate in small group activities.

Book Ideas:  Don’t Be So Defensive : Taking the War Out of Our Words With Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, by Sharon Ellison, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans.

3. Not managing our finances well puts us in a disadvantaged position in life, unable to meet our family’s basic needs as well as our own.

Getting into debt steals our personal power and makes us vulnerable to the whims of life, the market, and others.

Living without adequate resources leaves us unprotected, needy, and depressed.

On the one hand, material goods will not fill your emotional voids, on the other hand, a lack of adequate financial resources will create emotional distress that will suck you dry.

If you fail to respect sound financial principles, you will be distracted by your financial woes and fail to thrive in the other areas of your life.

Remember, no one else owes you a living.

Doing your best to effectively earn a living will help you feel more adequate as a human being.

However, don’t mistake accumulation of material goods for true success.

Greed and hoarding can never substitute for meaningful relationships and a purpose beyond yourself.  Money is a means, not an end in itself.

Key:  Raise yourself above two forces – the drive for material goods beyond your means and the magical view that others will take care of your material needs.

The goal of wise financial management is FREEDOM from being driven by money – either from excessive need or desire.

By learning to manage your money and resources wisely (verses letting them manage you), you will keep yourself from becoming a slave to other forces and free you to attend to other, more satisfying aspects of life.

Suggestions: Search for financial management resources online, read books on the topic, attend workshops, purchase financial management software, seek a respected financial consultant who has no ulterior motives besides helping you get a handle on your finances.

BOOK IDEAS: The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, by Suze Orman; The Total Money Makeover, by Dave RamseyRich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money–That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

4. There are two categories of continuing our education that we need in order to lead successful lives:  personal and vocational.

Personal Education.  When we increase our personal education, we gain wisdom, relationship skills, self-awareness, and the street-smarts to recognize safety and danger in relationships.

Without personal wisdom/education, we keep repeating mistakes in our personal relationships, which make us feel defeated and unloved.

Our social and spiritual connections and support are critical to our sense of well-being.

Vocational/Professional Education.  When we increase our work-related knowledge and skills, we gain self-confidence, increase our employment options, enhance our earning potential, and enable ourselves to rise above our former station in life.

The best goal is a balance between a career that is an energizing, good-fit for you and one that can sustain a reasonable lifestyle for you and your loved ones.

Key:  Pursue both personal wisdom and vocational/professional education, and you will maximize your effectiveness in both personal and vocational pursuits.

When you improve your skills, you will gain more confidence in yourself.

Self-confidence, both personal and vocational, is infectious and will increase others’ confidence in you.

Suggestions to increase Personal Education: read one chapter of the book of Proverbs each corresponding day of the month, write in a journal to gain self-awareness and learn from your mistakes, get involved with positive people.

Suggestions to increase Vocational/Professional Education: apply for a more challenging position at work, consider leaving a burn-out or dead-end job, hang around self-motivated people, join a local entrepreneurial group, seek vocational counseling, take classes to increase your skills and knowledge in a line of work or service you desire.

BOOK IDEAS for personal and/or vocational education:  The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren;  Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Coleman; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey; The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, by Jack Canfield; Forty-Eight Days to the Work You Love, by Dan Miller and Dave Ramsey; Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters: 400 Unconventional Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Landing Your Dream Job by Jay Conrad Levinson and David Perry.

*Michael’s website: www.michaelceo.com

Suggested Reading:

Assertiveness

Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships (9th Edition) by Robert E. Alberti and Michael L. Emmons;  The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Lerner; The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships, by Randy J. Paterson Ph.D.;  Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Lifeby Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend;

Communication Skills

Don’t Be So Defensive : Taking the War Out of Our Words With Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, by Sharon EllisonThe Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans.

Personal Financial Management

The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, by Suze Orman; The Total Money Makeover, by Dave RamseyRich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money–That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. KiyosakiRich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

Personal Education/Growth

The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren; Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Coleman; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

Vocational/Professional Education

The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, by Jack Canfield; Forty-Eight Days to the Work You Love, by Dan Miller and Dave Ramsey; Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters: 400 Unconventional Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Landing Your Dream Job by Jay Conrad Levinson and David Perry.

Inspiring Movies

Purpose:  Pay it Forward,

Persistence:  Akeela and the Bee, Chariots of Fire

Empowerment:  Double Jeopardy, Brave Heart

Integrity: Wall Street

Relationships:  Any movie by Tyler Perry, The Story of Us

Vocational/Personal Growth:  The Pursuit of Happyness, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Raising Helen

About the author

Linda-Macdonald

Linda Macdonald is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the Pacific Northwest with 25 years’ experience helping individuals and couples repair the hurts between them and find empowerment in their lives.

She is also the author of How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair.

Her website is: www.lindajmacdonald.com.




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