Are you tired of feeling weak and vulnerable? Did something terrible happen in the past but you still feel like a victim? If you are ready to take a step in the direction of your healing journey, then you are in the right place! If you truly want to know how to feel empowered and find inner strength, keep on reading!
In school, I was bullied a lot and I had major anxiety issues. Being attacked verbally and physically made me feel weak on all levels. Growing up, you still meet along the way people who are manipulative or aggressive and spend their time trying to make everyone around them feel inferior. I have also struggled with an autoimmune disease that has not only made me feel weak physically, but also mentally because of the brain fog, chronic fatigue and the emotional rollercoaster ride of why can’t I feel as good as before?! Maybe you have even been attacked, even if it’s verbally, it can cause serious damage. Do any of these seem familiar to you?
So, let’s see the steps to how you can empower yourself!
Learn from your experiences
What I wish to share with you here is wisdom from a teacher in India, named Sadhguru.
I know that we all wish we could somehow forget the painful moments that made us feel weak and vulnerable at some point. But it’s actually so important that we do remember, because if we don’t, then we could end up falling in the same trap as the last time. For example, if someone manipulated you and took advantage of you, if you forget what happened, then you won’t see the signs if anyone else tries to do the same thing to you.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to go through horrible moments like those again, if I can prevent them. So what do we do about this?
First of all, we need to define the difference between a memory and the actual moment that you are living. Your memories serve you as wisdom to help you not go through those bad times again. Whatever you have went through before, no matter if it was 10 years ago or 10 seconds ago, in this exact moment, it doesn’t exist anymore. But somehow, we still suffer terribly, even though we aren’t living them right now.
Sadhguru explains, the pain that we are feeling comes from something that no longer exists. So, we can either choose to grow from our bad experiences and become wiser or decide to stay miserable. This may sound harsh and difficult to swallow, but I think that he’s right.
Even though, from my own experience, it’s not as simple as saying “ok, I am letting go of the past and I am glad that I learned from these valuable lessons!”. This process takes time, sometimes a lot of it. However, there is a choice to make that will put you on one of these paths. You can choose to continue to suffer and go into that dark place OR you can work on accepting your past to live fully in your present!
This is how I understood his wisdom, but if you want to experience it for yourself, here is his original talk.
If we aren’t who we were yesterday, even if we felt weak or someone overpowered us, it is no longer the case. They cannot take away what is within you now in this instant, show yourself that you are the only one to have the power to change your internal state, that is true strength.
Take back your power!
First of all, before we get into any exercises or tips, I think it’s really important to grasp that feeling strong is a state of mind and it’s also a decision to make. I am going to ask you a question and I want you to answer honestly: “Do you want to give your power away to someone who has hurt you and made you feel weak or do you want to take your power back?”.
You’re probably thinking, well of course I don’t want to give my power away, what kind of question is this?!
Don’t give your remote control away
Well, if you have read “How to find inner happiness (5 steps by a buddhist monk)“, you will realize that you give away your power all the time actually! Yup, I felt annoyed too by hearing this. If you haven’t read it yet, a buddhist monk that I spent time with, in Taiwan, explained several ways on how to be truly happy. For one of those ways, he gave us an example. If he insults you and says that you’re ugly, then you’re going to feel angry with him. That means that you are giving away the remote control of your life, of your emotions, of how you feel. He presses a button that will change your internal state. Yes, this means that you are giving away your power to another person.
How to take your power back?
As I mentioned just before and also the monk explained that taking back your power is a decision you make. You can either let people push your button anytime they want or you can learn and practice to listen to your emotions, to be more present and realize that those people who try to hurt you are not important enough to change how you feel inside.
For me, this takes time and I am still working on it. But I have realized that just knowing that people are influencing me the way they want to, has helped me to take more distance with their words. So, already being conscious of this, is going to help a lot. The first few times someone annoys you, you might be aware of what is happening only afterwards. But that’s ok because you have started to pay attention. Every time you notice it, you will be able to take more and more distance and be more in tune with yourself. You will be aware of what is happening sooner and sooner, until it won’t even phase you when it happens. This is definitely what I call feeling empowered!
Change your state of mind
If you think that you are physically and mentally weak, you are sending yourself the message that this is who you must be, consciously and unconsciously. So, naturally, you will put yourself up to prove that you are right.
Change your negative thinking
In addition to that, did you know that according to the National Science Foundation research in 2005, people have 80% of their thoughts that are negative throughout the day?
It is time to change your state of mind!
1st exercise: Pay attention to the negative thoughts
You are going to start paying attention to how you speak to yourself. Choose a day, to really focus on your internal dialogue. Everytime, you start putting yourself down or criticizing even someone beside you, make note of it and then focus on what you are doing right now, without any judgment. You can even counter your negative thinking with a positive comment. But then go back to being fully present to what you were doing.
2nd exercise: Turn your thoughts around
There is an exercise from Katie Byron that is amazing to work on your negative thoughts that make you feel weak and unworthy! She helps you to truly question yourself to help you empower your mind.
She shows you how to change your state of mind with four easy steps. You will first notice those thoughts, then write them down, question them and finally, turn them around. Go check out all the details on the full process of Katie Byron’s work here. Try it, you will feel so much stronger over time.
Hold space for yourself
Hold space for the younger version of you who suffered. You can make a ritual and visualize being with that younger version of yourself. I would suggest by starting with a short moment to relax your body and mind.
Once that is done, start to visualize your “past-self” and yourself in the present around a campfire. If someone else hurt you, then bring that person too. Explain calmly to the other person everything that hurt you. Think a little moment about how that person must have been suffering a lot to be hurting other people around them. This helps to get on the path of compassion. When you are done, let that person go. You can also imagine that you are cutting a thread that connected the two of you.
Then, give all of your attention to “mini you”. Accept that at that time, you used all the tools that you had in your life. Don’t judge yourself with how you reacted at the time. You did the best you could. Show yourself compassion and if you need too, say sorry to your past-self. Give yourself all the love and hugs that you deserve to heal. Tell yourself everything that you wished others had told you. You already know that you are strong, smart and empowered, remind yourself of that.
Yes, I believe those things because or not you wouldn’t be trying to work on yourself. If you are trying to get better than you are not weak, because you are taking action! This means you are already strong!
Focus on healing your body and mind
Naturally, if you eat really unhealhty food everyday or lay around and not move your body, you won’t have any energy, you will feel lethargic and weak. You need to focus your energy on making yourself feel better, by healing your body and mind.
Personally, when my body feels weak, I feel more negative and like I can’t accomplish much. It takes its toll on my mind. And vice-versa, if I am being super negative about myself, it makes me feel physically weaker.
Here are a few tips to help:
- Pay attention to eating the 9 cups of vegetables from the Wahls Protocol and lower your sugar intake, they have a huge impact on your energy and your mental abilities.
- Eat a breakfast that will give you energy that lasts.
- Journal how you felt throughout the day.
- Share with people who are close to you and who are kind: when I shared, people said that they thought I was really strong and even if I didn’t feel it yet, it helped me on my way.
- Take distance from toxic people.
- Choose an exercise that isn’t to lose the most weight or looks fancy, choose one that makes you happy! If not, at least go for a walk a few times a week, preferably in nature. Exercise will reflect on your state of mind by making you feel stronger, happier and more confident!
- I like finding an exercise that works on my internal energy as well. Because, when I work on my qi, it helps me have more energy in general and have less brain fog. So exercises like qi gong, tai chi, yoga or other internal martial arts are amazing to give you that boost!
Meditation to find your inner power
For this meditation to find your inner power, you will need a place where you won’t be disturbed, a place that is quiet and where you feel good. If you have a meditation pillow, that’s perfect or not you can simply find a chair. You can place your hands on your thighs, with your palms facing up.
At first, you simply want to focus on breathing in through the nose slowly and feel your stomach fill up with air. Take a minute, to just focus on your breath coming in and out. Feel your whole body relaxing. You can even focus on each body part and with every breath you relax that part.
Visualize your inner light
Now you’re going to visualize a little ball of light in the middle of your head, between your eyes.
See that light expanding little by little, with every breath. At first, it’s just the size of a marble. Then, it’s the size of a tennis ball, then a beach ball. Let it expand outside of yourself. It becomes this huge sphere and you see your light shining all around you.
The next step is to go inside of yourself. So now, slowly, see yourself inside of your body. If you see darkness around you, it’s ok, you are safe. If you keep running away from the shadow, then it will stay. So, you are going to face it, look at the darkness around you. Visualize light growing inside of the small version of you that is in the body. Let that light expand slowly once again, all around you. See yourself pushing the darkness away gently with your powerful light. Then, you are going to say out loud:
- I see you.
- I accept you.
- My light is strong.
- My power is strong.
- I am love.
- I embrace all of you.
How to forgive
One way that was really important on my journey to taking back my power was learning to forgive, check out my full video on how to forgive here. The reason why it was so difficult for me to forgive for so many years was because I didn’t truly understand forgiveness.
I wanted to forgive, but part of me kept thinking that if I did that, then I would be excusing their actions, I would be saying it’s ok. But I learned that it’s not that, it’s not even about them. It’s about freeing yourself and taking back your power. I realized that the anger inside of me felt like it was burning me all the time. I wasn’t punishing the other person, that person couldn’t care less, I was only punishing myself.
Exercise on how to forgive
You say OUT LOUD, “I forgive…(name of the person) for…(their action)”. Do this as long as there is still something bothering you. Say every detail that still hurts you now. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to scream, go ahead (maybe in a pillow if you’re living in a building with thin walls)!
Repeat this exercise daily. You will notice that you will feel lighter and stronger every time you do it.
Embrace feeling empowered and find your inner strength!
I know that if you’re just starting out these types of practices, they can seem cheesy, I was sceptical too before, but they’re actually really powerful!
But these exercises won’t work, if you don’t really want to change. You need to want to take that step, because nobody can take it for you. This takes accepting who you are right now and deciding you want your power back! Holding on to the past won’t help you find happiness and feel strong in the present, it just punishes you.
So, accept that this instant is the only one that is real. Once you let go of who you thought you were to embrace the real you that is strong and badass, you will feel unstoppable!
Do you have any exercises that make you feel strong and empowered? Please share them in the comments!