What is disempowerment?
Without knowing what disempowerment is, we actually might be held back and stuck a lot more than we realize.
Believe it or not, we need to understand what disempowerment is in order to find greater empowerment in our lives and see what might be holding us back.
In this article, I’ll talk about what disempowerment is, what some common causes of disempowerment are, and how to know where you might be feeling disempowerment in your life, or be disempowered in your life.
We’ll also take a look at what to do to feel empowered based on understanding the disempowerment.
What Is Disempowerment?
Empowerment is a sense of power within us to be effective on our path forward. We feel empowered to do what it is we need to do to fulfill our destiny and to create a fulfilling life.
If we’re feeling disempowered, then ultimately we’re feeling ineffective, incapacitated, incapable of doing what it is we need to be effective and make things happen and move forward.
Ultimately, disempowerment is not having the power to do what it is we’re here to do in whatever domain that is.
We’re not talking about having power over people. A lot of women struggle to use the word power because power has been so abused in our patriarchal dominance culture. I love the word empowerment because empowerment implies power that comes from within.
We’re here to create, explore, experience and evolve.
If we are disempowered, we’re lacking in the capacity to do that.
Common Causes of Disempowerment
The causes of disempowerment vary from culture to culture, but across the board, if we’re talking about industrialized nations in the world and the cultural evolution of that, we have a lot of common causes of disempowerment.
One of the biggest causes of disempowerment is history.
We have historical experiences, situations, or circumstances that created disempowerment amongst many different groups, including women. Feeling disempowered is the historical tendency for women in particular.
We’ve had women being burned at the stake. We’ve had women being oppressed or sold off in various situations, or married off in arranged marriages. Women were thought of as property.
These historical elements create a certain disempowerment in women at large, and need to be overcome. These histories, traumas, and ancestral challenges live in our DNA. They’re real, and they can be an underlying theme of what might be causing disempowerment.
We also have cultural disempowerment.
Certain cultures have certain requirements of certain groups of people. This blog being primarily all about women’s empowerment, I’m talking about where cultures have oppressed women or created disempowerment, and where women couldn’t do what they wanted.
In the United States, the culture didn’t allow for women to have their own credit card or even play in athletics or vote until a certain period when things began to change with cultural shifts.
We also have situational disempowerment where in a certain situation, you ultimately feel you can’t do anything. That may be true. You may feel like there’s nothing you can do.
This is why I teach a lot about the fact that we need to learn to have acceptance for the things we cannot change.
Acceptance to allow for something doesn’t mean agreeing with it. It means in this moment this is what is, and we have to deal with it. Perhaps the truth of the matter is we can’t do anything about it. Maybe someone we love got in an accident and we can’t do anything about it. All we can do is accept what is and do our best to be there for the person, offer compassion, love, and support in whatever ways we can.
We also have relational disempowerment when we’re in a relationship, whether it’s a friend, a colleague, a boss, a partner, and we feel disempowered in certain ways. Sometimes it can be changed and sometimes it can’t.
We have to be able to discern relationships that can be a cause of disempowerment where we find ourselves in situations that don’t allow us to move forward or be ourselves. One of the ways it can change is to shift those relationships. We are not stuck or forced to be in any relationships.
Consider where you have the power to change things and where you can shift things. It might be very scary to do so, but you do have power in many situations.
Another thing that causes disempowerment is our inner beliefs. We often have inner beliefs that we don’t have power. We think we can’t leave a relationship. We think we can’t leave a job. However, that is our inner belief.
It’s hard to change our beliefs. This is why we have coaches, therapists and friends who can help us to see things from a new perspective. I highly encourage you to consider support if you find yourself feeling so stuck and disempowered that you can’t move forward.
I guarantee you, there are other ways of seeing things.
There are other possibilities you haven’t considered.
There are things you can learn to help you move in the direction you want to go.
Our sense of balance also causes disempowerment. We feel like we’re back and forth, and here and there. We don’t know what we’re doing and it throws us off all the time.
I encourage you to download my free Balance and Empowerment Cards. They help us find a balance point of empowerment that is largely about finding where we’re going to extremes, where we’re over exaggerating certain things and not having enough of certain things so we can find the point where we feel a sense of balance, of centeredness and groundedness, where we can be clear and feel empowered in our life.
Another thing that can cause disempowerment is our attitude.
This is very closely related to the idea of what our inner beliefs are. Often, we believe we’re worthy, but our attitude toward people or life acts like nobody else is worthy, or nothing else is worthwhile, or something’s never going to happen.
It’s not about what we believe within ourselves. It’s the attitude with which we approach life.
We project assumptions such as, we’re going to get disappointed, or everybody’s going to upset us, or nobody will get us, or nothing good ever happens. There can be some beliefs there, but sometimes we show up with an attitude that can put people off, and it can cause us to be very disempowered in a situation.
I always say, the right conversation in the wrong mood or at the wrong time is the wrong conversation.
Attitude goes with that. A conversation might be great, but if we go into it with the wrong attitude, then we may be very disempowered in that conversation. We may end up not being able to be effective and make change like empowerment is meant to do for us.
How To Know Where You’re Disempowered In Your Life
Where might you be disempowered in your life?
I highly encourage you to explore the many domains of your life: financial, relational, family, your career, and the spiritual side of things. Begin to look at where you feel effective and where you don’t.
You can ask yourself, “What situations and kinds of experiences do I feel ineffective in?” That’s when you’re going to know you’re feeling disempowered on some level, and there’s some work to do toward feeling more empowered. This is where you can consider areas of your life where you’re not getting the results you want.
You can read my article, How to Get The Results You Want In Your Life. It’s a great support to begin to move in the direction of empowerment.
You might be surprised at the different things that can bring you toward a greater sense of empowerment. Consider the stories that might be causing disempowerment. This goes with the idea of beliefs, but a lot of times we hear stories, they might be ancient stories like biblical stories or other sacred texts, or from the culture, from our families or from the rules and regulations of society, and they disempower us.
We have tons of stories we carry that we need to question.
What about those stories are disempowering? What if those stories might be interpreted in such a way that keeps you small, ineffective, and thinking you can’t move forward?
We need to examine our stories.
This something we go into a lot with my Solace program. Solace is a program that’s very holistic. It looks at everything. It looks at how we show up in life, and helps us to move toward a greater sense of Self, so check it out.
I hope by now you can see the awareness of what causes our disempowerment, where we might be feeling disempowered. The awareness of the disempowerment is what allows us to then bring healing to those areas so we can feel empowered.
Becoming more empowered takes time. It’s not just knowing about where we’re disempowered, and suddenly it’s going to make us empowered. We have to go to our depths. We have to understand what makes us struggle in our lives and what is disempowering to us. This takes time! Then we can shift into a place of feeling far more empowered for the future to move forward and to create the life that we long for.
For a video version of What Is Disempowerment, watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5OiucvZwok