The first key to personal empowerment is awareness. If you aren’t aware that something needs to change, how can you change it?
If you are unaware that you have a problem or turn a blind eye to poor behaviors, you will never be enabled to move forward in life, creating the kind of life you really want and deserve.
Awareness is 50% of solving a problem! Once you know what it is that is keeping you stuck or on the wrong life path, then you become empowered to find solutions to change what is not working in your life.
The “Own It” List
Here is an exercise I call the “Own It List.” Grab your journal or a piece of paper. After you read through this entire exercise, I’m going to ask you to stop and begin your list. I want you to be really honest with yourself. The first step in solving your problems and taking your power back is to own all the things you do, think, or say that are keeping you stuck and miserable.
We usually know what our strengths and weaknesses are. But, for some, it may be too hard to readily admit them or you just may be truly unaware. That’s one of the problems we are trying to solve. Just know that there are often clues reflected by the people and circumstances around you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I do that keeps me stuck?
- What am I afraid of?
- What are the negative recurring thoughts in my head?
- What’s happening in my life that’s bothering me?
- What am I suppressing?
- What am I complaining about?
- What are my relationships like?
- What is my employment situation like?
- What is the atmosphere in my home like?
- Am I feeling happy and satisfied or is something always lacking?
- Do I experience the same issues everywhere I go? (Notice who’s the constant.)
- What is holding me back, keeping me from progressing?
- What are the things I allow other people to say or do to push my buttons?
- What are the things I say or do that pushes other people’s buttons?
- What are my weaknesses, my stumbling blocks, my false and limiting beliefs about myself?
- What core beliefs do I have that cause me to question or doubt myself or others?
- Tune in to your thoughts, your spirit, your innate wisdom.
- Tune in to your relationships.
- Tune into what’s happening around you, and your awareness will increase.
Remember, also, you can ask God to reveal your weaknesses to you so that you might turn them into strengths. He stands by, ready to help, but until we ask, we may be missing out on some divine guidance.
Before you get started, read this:
There’s one more thing that’s extremely important to recognize and understand. This is an exercise in noticing, acknowledging, and recognizing. It is NOT criticism or judgment. It is not a put-down. You are not to exercise any judgment of yourself. The world has enough critics!
All you are to do is start noticing the things you are doing that are not working for you. Notice the things you are not doing that would be helpful for you to start doing. If you really want to be honest with yourself, try to recall complaints you have heard often from others. (Note: Not all complaints are valid. After all, what other people say and do is “their stuff.” However, if you find you’ve heard similar complaints often or from different sources, consider those to be clues.)
This exercise is meant to empower you, to bring you to an awareness of the things that you are doing that don’t serve you. These are the things that have power over you. And you can’t take your power back until you have made a complete disclosure to yourself. That’s what I call “owning it.” Does that make sense?
One side benefit to having an “Own It List” is that no one can tell you anything that you don’t already know! No one can push your buttons or make you feel bad because you already own it. And you’re doing it lovingly. You want to improve each day, so you are noticing what needs to be improved. For example, when someone mentions that you’re often late, you don’t have to get mad or defensive, you simply say to them, “Oh, I know. That’s #17 on my list. I’m working on it.” . . . You get the point.
When you are awakened, you will begin to notice the patterns, behaviors, thoughts, and actions that have become a part of your life that don’t serve you. Once you own your self-defeating behaviors, then you can get to work to releasing, changing, or improving them. But, you’ve got to OWN IT first.
Stop now and write out your Own It List. Please do not skip this step!
Here are some examples of things that could be on your list:
- I am easily offended.
- I leave my dirty clothes on the floor.
- I stay up too late, then I’m tired in the morning.
- I lack discipline.
- I spend money I don’t have.
- I am easily distracted.
- I spend too much time on Facebook.
- I am addicted to video games.
- I eat junk food.
- I am rude to other drivers.
- I drive too aggressively.
- I wait until the last minute to do something.
- I put myself down a lot.
- I yell at my children.
- I resent my spouse for . . .
- I need too much (attention, reassurance, affection).
- I talk on the phone too much.
- I ignore my (husband, children, coworkers).
- I expect too much of others.
- I look for validation from other people.
- I don’t exercise and I have too many excuses.
- I am always trying to please people.
- I have gained (too much weight, 20 pounds).
- I watch too much TV.
- I cheat on my taxes.
- I hate my job.
- I get overwhelmed really easily.
- I can’t stop (eating so much, smoking, drinking, etc.).
- I can’t stand up to my (mother, spouse, boss, friend).
- My house is a mess.
- I am tired all the time.
- I worry too much.
- I always assume too much.
- I think I’m ugly (too fat, too skinny).
- I feel I’m not good enough (smart enough, worthy enough).
- I blame others for my problems.
- I find myself thinking a lot of negative thoughts. (Be sure to write out all those thoughts, too! We’ll cover those later!)
When you have your list complete, recognize that no matter how many things are on that list, you are still loved deeply by God. There is nothing you are doing that will cause Him to love you any less and there is nothing you can do to earn more of His love. You didn’t come here to earn your worth. You brought it with you.
You are also not in competition with anyone else. Life is not a race to be won, it’s a journey to be treasured. Your journey is uniquely yours to walk. You decide the direction and the pace. Just make sure you know where you want to go. With this exercise, you are simply becoming aware of the ways that you might begin to improve the quality of your life, little by little, day by day.
You may want to look over your list and determine which one or two things you will begin to work on. Create a plan. Be open to new possibilities, new ways of doing things, role models to pattern after. Is there a class or course you can take? Do you simply need to eliminate something from your life? Perhaps you just need a plan, a set of goals, or a vision or dream board. Keep this list in a notebook or journal so that you can review it and add to it as something new comes to mind. You’ll use this throughout your healing journey.
You are taking charge of your life! Doesn’t that feel good? Be determined that you are going to improve each day. Take baby steps, if you must, but do something to improve.
We will be referring to this list later when we learn to create Positive Power Statements (which will be posted soon). What’s important is that you now have something to work with. You are no longer wondering why things may not be working so well for you. You are becoming more awake and aware in your own life. Now that you know what you need to work on, you can begin change it.