Many people ask me what it means to know your power and what does it mean to become empowered. Becoming self-empowered means you come face to face with who you really are and what you really want. When this happens, your true identity reveals itself. This may sound daunting, but it really is not. The process should begin with listening to and paying attention to the voice of your soul and the voice of your body, always keeping in mind that the body does not lie. As Elizabeth Lesser says in her brilliant book, Broken Open(link is external), “If we don’t listen to the voice of the soul, it sings a stranger tune. If we don’t go looking for what lies beneath the surface of our lives, the soul comes looking for us.”
When you are empowered you are living soul-rich experiences that can bring you joy in a way that your desires and dreams are manifested. The problem is that not everyone knows what they want, and/or have no idea how to find out what that is. Until then, happiness lingers beneath the surface.
One of the many reasons I advocate the practice of journaling is because it can be a powerful tool to help you understand who you are and what you really want. Journaling enables you to tap into your subconscious mind where many of your desires lay dormant. Stream-of-consciousness or free writing — sometimes called inner monologue — in particular has the ability to put words to the feelings you experience in your body. If you stop to listen to your body you will notice that it is poetic. It can offer you sensations and images which will direct you to the truth.
You may ask why is it important to be in touch your true self. The reason is that it is a way to understand and follow the path to your true heart’s desire — your calling, your daimon or the reason you are here. I believe that everyone has a purpose. For those who haven’t found it, it is not a matter of dreaming up or manufacturing some sort of mission in life. Rather, it is a matter of discovering your innate meaning.
The transcendent feeling of knowing why you are here can be awe-inspiring and life changing. Knowing your purpose can also elicit important transformation both internally and externally. Chances are you will feel incomplete until you discover your true calling.
Often the desire to figure out your true calling may have been triggered by trauma or a life-changing event. Using myself as an example, my first bout with cancer lead me to reassess my life and my reason for being. On the one hand, cancer encouraged me to accentuate the positive and look into my past for what brought me joy and to revisit those times. I was also inspired to minimize the toxicity in my life, including everything from chemicals to toxic people. Thus, having cancer, not only became a turning point in my life, but it became a catalyst for change.
In his book Transformation in the Writing(link is external), Kurt Wolff talks about the surrender-and-catch method as identifying the truth of a situation by surrendering to it. When we surrender to the truth we become alert to what is essentially human. This concept refers to the idea of discovering what we already know and have always known and returning to it. This is the voice of soul.
Anyone who has been through difficult times has been blessed with the opportunity to become empowered by the experience.
Here are some journaling prompts to guide you on your journey to yourself:
- Make a list of your values and priorities. Pick a few to write about.
- Write about a time when you felt the most joy, almost to the point of elation
- Write about a person or person who makes you feel good about yourself and why do you think that is?
- Write about a major obstacle or blockage in your life
Review what you wrote and see if you were able to identify a pattern or overarching concern.
To read more of my articles, please visit The Empowerment Diary on Psychology Today.