-authority or power given to someone to do something.
-the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.
Oh, empowerment. What a wonderful, powerful concept- a concept that is often overlooked or misunderstood.
It’s common for people to look for outside validation to feel empowered, but it can all be quite fleeting. That praise or confidence another has for you may feel good in the moment, and it may even boost your self esteem in the long-term, but is it really empowering you?
I’ve had the opportunity to learn what empowerment truly means over this past year. Through a combination of self-discovery, reflection, and a bit of isolation, I realized nothing on the outside would fulfill me on the inside. Nothing.
I had a law firm job downtown Boston. I lived alone in a studio along the Mystic River. I dated a fellow at Harvard. Arianna Huffington’s website published dozens of my pieces. I weighed 104 pounds and fit into a size 00.
Things appeared okay, right?
They were far from it. I was miserable, depressed, and I started heavily drinking again. I stopped reaching out to people. I could barely eat, and I quit that soulless and stressful job after feeling unappreciated.
I was completely unbalanced, and I had stopped appreciating the gifts I had on the inside.
I was so wrapped up in “outside circumstances” that I stopped being authentic. I started looking at outside validation instead of looking at my true, creative self. I thought more about what others wanted for me, NOT what I wanted for myself.
Over this past year, I learned one of the most important lessons of all: that I must first look inward to be able to appreciate anything outward.
Today I am here to be an advocate for loving yourself first.
Not only does loving yourself relate to being fulfilled without a partner, it also pertains to setting healthy boundaries and advocating for your own needs.
Today I’m sober, teaching again, writing daily, and connecting with people who have always seen the light in me, even when I couldn’t see it for myself. We all need people to remind us who we are and who we could come- but most importantly, you must eventually recognize it for yourself.