Asking what it means to be disempowered is so important because there are so many people in the world unaware that they are disempowered.
Fortunately, diving into the signs and the symptoms of disempowerment provides a roadmap into empowerment - or into being powerful.
To be disempowered means to believe that we have no control over the outcomes in our lives and that change must come externally, not from within. We become disempowered by giving up our autonomy to be, and express, our natural and authentic selves. This moves us out of our personal power and into a place of disempowerment.
However, even if you believe you have no control over the outcomes in your life, it is not the truth. There is always something that we have control over in our personal lives.
The external world will always act as a distraction for those who are not focused on themselves. And when you allow yourself to become distracted you lose sight of what your power actually is, what your secret weapon actually is, and what your edge actually is.
As part of our Soul Focused philosophy we teach three principles that every leader must agree to, in order to fully move out of disempowerment. When we fall short on following these principles, we see ourselves fall further into disempowerment.
First Agreement: You are responsible for knowing how to drive yourself
You must agree that you are with yourself 24 hours a day for a reason. And that reason is that you are responsible for knowing how to drive you. You should know more about you than you know about anybody else.
When I was in High School, our teacher gave us an assignment to write a paper about who we were. Most of the students really struggled, including myself. I wrote very little, maybe a paragraph. It was so difficult because we didn't know much about ourselves at that time.
But if they had asked me to write about somebody else, some star or somebody in history, I could've wrote pages and pages and pages.
There's something fundamentally wrong with that.
Because if you are with yourself 24 hours a day, and you can fill up pages and pages about somebody else, but you can barely write a paragraph about yourself, that means you've been distracted.
When we don't know who we are, what we are doing is telling ourselves that our focus has not been in developing our own potential. It has been about comparing, pleasing, impressing, and competing with other people. And that is problematic.
So that is the first agreement. We have to have agree that we are with ourselves 24 hours a day because we have to be great at driving ourselves.
Why don't We get what we want?
We are with ourselves 24 hours a day. Even when we're around others, we are first and foremost with ourselves. Yet, most of us are not conscious of this.
Every action we take, we are recording ourselves and building a relationship with ourselves. For example, if you get up at night to go cheat on your diet, you see that about yourself and it impacts your relationship with yourself.
Over time you're either gonna learn to trust yourself, or be suspicious of yourself. And right now, most of us really are suspicious of ourselves.
What does mean? We don't fully trust ourselves to get what we want. So we make excuses.
We are with ourselves 24 hours a day because the universe wants us to drive ourselves to the destination our souls desire.
When we are unable to do that it means we don't know enough about ourselves to achieve that goal.
Why don't We know ourselves?
I work with people on a daily basis in my coaching practice and they tell me, "after all these years, I don't know who I am, I've lost myself".
It's nothing to be ashamed of if you've lost yourself and you don't know who you are. But it's important for you to admit if you've lost yourself.
If you don't know who you are it's because you've been focused on other people, instead of being focused on yourself.
In fact, we've been taught by religion that its not good for us to have knowledge of ourselves and it's not good for us to be focused on ourselves because that's being selfish.
But the reality is, there's no other human being that you're are completely responsible for driving to where they want to go, other than yourself. You have to take full and complete control over your own mind, and teach your mind to drive you in the direction that you desire to go.
But you can't do that unless you acknowledge the fact that being with yourself 24 hours a day is a responsibility that you have to yourself.
How Do we become Distracted From Ourselves?
What it means to be disempowered is for us to act against ourselves. But this is not a natural way of being.
We are born completely in harmony with our full potential. In other words, as children we feel our potential and we have no conflict with it.
As children, we seek to do things that others would think are impossible. But as children we don't see it as impossible because we are one with our potential.
Becoming an adult should be about us discovering how to drive ourselves equal to that potential.
But because we become so distracted and because we are socialized to be distracted, we are taught that we should be bit more like somebody else, instead of simply equal to ourselves.
And as we are being indoctrinated with the idea of being more like someone else, we end up taking our eyes off of the one thing in life that we have control over. And that is ourselves.
Why Don't We go the extra mile for ourselves?
The one thing in life that we should have dominion over, the one thing in life that we should be in charge over, is our own mind. But we don't learn how to do it.
So in many ways we go to sleep saying we want to go left, but every morning we wake up and we go right.
Then we recommit ourselves to going left - and left may be losing weight, left may be becoming a successful business person, etc. - but we end up going right.
Notice how you've seen yourself go the extra mile for other people, but you haven't been able to go the extra mile for yourself. This is because we have been willing to do things for other people that we aren't willing to do for ourselves.
Notice how you will see people who are very neat and organized at work, but their home is a mess. This is because those people are more concerned with pleasing others than taking care of themselves.
When we see these signs in ourselves or others it proves that we have not entered into the agreement that we are with ourselves 24 hours a day because we are responsible for being able to drive ourselves to the destination that we desire.
Who is accountable for our disempowerment?
No one else is going to be held accountable for this but you.
We can blame other people in a state of disempowerment. We can blame other people for ourselves not being able to drive ourselves to where we want to go.
A lot of people talk about the ideas of external barriers like racism, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia etc, etc.
All those things are real. There are external barriers that are presenting obstacles. However, you should not be working with those obstacles, you should be 100% on your own side so those obstacles don't work against you.
The obstacles that the systems have setup depend on you seeing yourself as not being good enough.
They only work with you operating from a disempowered state of mind. As soon as you get into an empowered state of mind, those barriers do not trigger and you sabotage yourself.
This begins with you agreeing that you are responsible for you, because you're with yourself 24 hours a day.
You're responsible for knowing you better than you know anyone else.
Why do we blame other people?
Most of us are unconsciously waiting or looking for someone in authority to give us permission to go after what we desire.
This is because we've spent most of our lives comparing ourselves to other people, pleasing other people, attempting to please other people, impressing other people, proving stuff to other people, and competing with other people.
And because those habits have been so prominent in our lives we actually sit around and wait for life to make decisions for us.
For example, imagine a person be in a relationship. They know the relationship is over. Things aren't working at all. But they stay in the relationship because they don't want to be the one that makes a decision. What they really want is to be in a happy relationship but they don't want to take responsibility for the outcome.
You can take that example, and you apply it to anything in life. We are constantly waiting for life to decide for us, because we won't give ourselves permission to act in authority on our own behalf.
God put you in charge of your own life for a reason. That means the decisions have to come from you. Being empowered or being disempowered is about whether you feel that you have the authority to make decisions.
The reality is no one else has the authority to make the decision for you to be you, and for you to go after what you want.
How all the different isms confuse us
Racism, sexism, classism, patriarchy, ableism, and all of the different isms serve to confuse us about what we really want.
If we look at patriarchy, a great number of women around the world are just beginning to discover who they are in the face of other people describing and defining it for them. And so many people are in an uproar saying that these women are doing something wrong.
No, they are moving from their state of disempowerment. When we start trying to live up to someone else's definition of who we are, then we become disempowered because it moves us away from our natural expression.
If we look at racism, people of color have been trying to live up to the white dominant culture. We have marked our natural desires into the design that the dominant culture wants us to have.
In doing so, we have become more and more disempowered because one of the things that we have power over is to give ourselves what we truly want.
The primary thing that we all want, more than anything else, is to be our natural self. Because the minute we stop being our natural self, we start being unhappy. No matter what we achieve in life, we we won't feel any satisfaction or fulfillment, if we have achieved it while not being our natural self.
In fact, we will have side effects of depression, sadness, frustration, and disappointment because we got "it" but we had to leave a part of ourselves behind to get "it".
It is so important that we understand these things because when we don't understand we lose ourselves. Determining what you want is so important because it is such an expression of power.
You want what you want. And you cannot settle because there's nothing close to what you want, there is only what you want.
And when you get what you want, you know that you are driving yourself, and you're following the mandate of your life that the universe has put on you.
Second Agreement: You Are The Common Denominator In Your Life
You must agree that you are the common denominator in your life. Look at all the different relationships with people that you've shared. You will notice that you are the only person that showed up in every one of those relationships.
So whatever consistent outcomes are being produced, positive or negative, you are the creator of those outcomes. This means that there's something that you are bringing to the table that's repeatedly recreating those outcomes.
It is your responsibility to take a good look at that and own it. We've been waiting for our oppressors to come and own it for us, but it is not their responsibility.
And listen, we are not at fault for racism, just like women are not at fault for patriarchy. However, our future is our responsibility, which requires us to take ownership of what we are bringing to the table as a result of all of our suffering.
It is our responsibility to heal from all the trauma that we've suffered from. Because if we keep bringing the side effects of that trauma into our relationships, we will keep reproducing the unwanted results that we see happening over and over and over again.
The difference between intentions and outcomes
Anyone that does not accept responsibility for being the common denominator will continue to bring their disempowerment into relationships and produce the results they don't want over and over again.
The first sign of coming into our power is owning what we are contributing.
A common example we see all the time is white people asking questions like: "Why are they so sensitive? Why can't I make this joke anymore? Why am I hurting people when I don't want to hurt people?"
The reason people ask these questions is because they aren't looking at what they're bringing to the table, just what others are bringing.
Relationships act as mirrors - reflecting back to us the state of our consciousness at the level we operate at most consistently. Good intentions do not always create the right outcome because intentions and outcomes are often misaligned.
Taking responsibility for being the common denominator is so critical in transforming and moving from being disempowered into a state of empowerment. It comes with accepting responsibility, because the only reason why power exists is to help us take care of our responsibilities.
There would be no reason for power if there was no responsibility. Every time you deny responsibility you are unconsciously denying the resurgence of your power.
And that's what keeps us from being aligned. Our intent and our impact cannot align if we're not aligned with ourselves.
Third Agreement: You Are Only Equal To Yourself
You must agree that you are only equal to yourself.
Even though we're with ourselves 24 hours a day, and even though we are the common denominator, we still end up thinking that we are not responsible for the conditions in our relationships.
This is because we've been trying to be equal to, less than, or greater than other people.
We should instead solely be focused on being equal to our own full potential. It is our responsibility to equal up to our full potential. The universe is not gonna hold anyone accountable to how close we come to our full potential, but us.
It's a very charged concept to say that people have to take responsibility for themselves when all of this external disempowerment is happening all the time.
How do we accept responsibility without blaming ourselves for our trauma?
If I've been traumatized and I'm sitting around waiting for the person who traumatized me to heal, before I heal, then I'm in trouble. My life looks very bleak.
My responsibility is to heal myself and to restore myself back to a state of natural expression. Then I can be healthy and happy in my life. I can't wait for my oppressor to acknowledge me and say they're sorry before I accept responsibility for the fact that my life is still in my hands.
And by taking responsibility for my life, I am empowering myself.
Another way of saying this is to say that I need my oppressor to validate me, in order for me to feel empowered. I need my oppressor to say they're sorry.
It's like waiting for Jeffrey Dahmer to come in and heal the people's lives that he's destroyed. It doesn't make any sense at all, right?
There's a difference between blame and responsibility, and we know that the victim is not to blame for the victimization. But we are responsible for the transformation of our lives. And if we don't take responsibility for that it will not happen.
Being an ally is not enough
If is the responsibility of white people not to heal people of color but to heal themselves. It is so arrogant to believe that you could be in a position of the oppressor and not think that you have some healing to do.
People of color are in danger around white people who haven't been putting themselves through a process of healing. And being an ally is not enough. That's bullshit, to be honest with you. Because as an ally you could quit whenever you want and go home.
But if you commit yourself to healing your very mind and returning your mind to a place of being one with your soul, then you can stand with other human beings in solidarity, where we are all with our power.