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wundayatta's avatar

What empowers you? Is it different from what empowers others?

Asked by wundayatta (58586points) February 9th, 2010

In my life, finding places where everyone was equal and no one judged was empowering. I could speak when it was my turn to speak, and not be afraid people would stomp on me. This was true musically and in workshops, conversations, dances and more. It became a principle of my life.

I’m not sure how I am different from others, but I do sense that they have something inside that empowers them. Something I don’t have. Of course, they may also have certain advantages—money, heritage, whatever—that help them to feel entitled to power.

What empowers you? How does that fit with the way you think others are empowered—similar? Different? Where does empowerment come from, if you had to generalize? Is it good? Can there be too much of it? Is it important to empower others, or is that their job? Should you block people who want to empower themselves? Do they take from you if they are empowered?

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19 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Knowing my mind and why I think the way I do is very empowering.That pretty much covers everything.

phoebusg's avatar

Helping other people is my biggest motivation for anything that I do. On the other hand, things I hate doing are things for “my own benefit”, because I like the benefit that comes back as a boomerang from helping others better.

I hope more and more will join the collective, for the good of the collective. No, there’s never enough of that I don’t think. Nobody should be ever blocked, only respectfully confronted if one must. If you are self-empowered, nobody can take that away from you – if that’s what you mean.
Great question, thank you :)

CMaz's avatar

As interests might be common. My empowerment comes from within. It being as unique as we are individual.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Knowing there are others that understand me with all my identities empowers me – having others respect me and support me empowers me. Knowing there are others that also give a shit about helping those discriminated against for being an ‘other’ empowers me. I like to surround myself by people like that.

gailcalled's avatar

Self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-appreciation.

Cruiser's avatar

Knowledge empowers me and is also my Achilles heel. I need to know “everything” about everything and am pretty good at figuring things out, but I get tripped up at times when I am too stubborn to admit I am clueless on a matter. I also love to learn from others smarter than me and there is a lot of them out there.

janbb's avatar

What has empowered me the most was standing up to some of the people in my past who were abusive and telling them of the damage they did, and setting boundaries with them afterwards.That has helped me build a core of belief in my own strength although it is still vulnerable. In addition to that, the appreciation and affirmation that I have gotten from my sons as they have grown and from friends, co-workers and students has reinforced my sense of self (which is what I take “empowerment” to mean.) Speaking “truth to power” when I can do it – at times even here on Fluther – also strengthens me.

Information_Overload's avatar

This is probably going to sound bad, but here goes.

I’ve found that gun ownership is pretty empowering. I keep it locked away when I’m not taking it to and from the range, but I know that it’s there, that I can use it if I have to. For instance, I’ll have an equalizing force for the time that my ill-tempered neighbor follows through on his threats to my son for nicking the paint on his precious motorcycle.

But just owning a gun, even if it’s miles away, has its effects. Guns don’t frighten me anymore, which gives me that much more control over myself and my life.

ModernEpicurian's avatar

I’m very much similar to @Cruiser in that knowledge is both empowering and liberating. However I find that this can lead to me becoming somewhat neurotic in my need to ‘know’.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

My lady used to be my source of empowerment. Seeing her happy was my greatest joy. Now Paxil, Valium, nicotine and scotch whiskey drag me through the day.

Berserker's avatar

Sad but true, if I make myself out to appear inferior to people around me, it’s much easier to manipulate and use them for my own benefits, since they underestimate me and think they can use me.

Not saying it’s a good thing, but it certainly works.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Symbeline Not so! You are extremely intelligent and creative, with a delightful sense of humor, maybe you just manipulated me though ;)

Berserker's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Well I don’t hurt people this way, but that’s probbaly because they don’t know I’m doing it. It could be worse. But you gotta survive somehow. :/

evandad's avatar

With me, it’s eating the brains of the living.

YARNLADY's avatar

Like @gailcalled I consider myself to be self-empowered. It takes nothing from anyone, yet allows me to give of myself without any loss of self. It’s sort of like lurve, there’s an endless supply for everyone.

Holden_Caulfield's avatar

It is all about believing in you and loving you for who you are… Self Confidence over low self esteem. Not to say you have low self esteem… but rather a lack of confidence in yourself. Believing in yourself gives empowerment to yourself!!

CaptainHarley's avatar

Multiple things empower me: knowing that my wife loves me; knowing that my children and grandchildren love me; knowing that God loves me; having a fair amount of knowledge about a wide variety of things; having proven myself in combat; etc.

mattbrowne's avatar

Creativity and critical thinking.

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