Empowering attitudes are ways of looking at life and the world that are both freeing and confidence-building. What and how we think really matters. That’s because our attitudes predispose our behavior. Accordingly, when we’re stuck in a behavioral rut, it’s usually because we’re thinking in the same old dysfunctional ways.
Some empowering attitudes can carry us through a crisis. Others are necessary to keep us on track. In any case, without adopting the right attitudes, we’re much more likely to make bad choices.
Our Perceptions Can Become Our Reality
How we come to see things and think about things can become our reality. This often happens insidiously. Consider the child who hears only that they are bad, inept, or defective. Soon, they begin to see themselves as flawed. Moreover, already feeling inept, whenever they make a mistake – especially if they get condemned for it – it only confirms for them the “reality” of being inept.
The Road to Empowerment
I wrote In Sheep’s Clothing to help empower victims of covert-aggressors. These disturbed characters are among the most proficient manipulators. (These days, some writers call them covert narcissists.) And in the book, I outlined how to recognize and properly respond to the common tactics they employ for power and control. Seeing what some folks are really like and how they operate has been an eye-opener for many. And learning how to best deal with manipulators’ tactics is inherently empowering. However, there are general rules for empowering oneself that supercede the particular tools the book describes. At heart, all empowerment is really about attitude. And there are some general rules anyone can heed to help cultivate attitudes that can empower for a lifetime.
Some General Rules
Here are some general rules for developing empowering attitudes:
- Trust your gut. Now, there are indeed times when our intuition fails us. But most of the time, our gut is the best barometer. These days, you can’t trust words. Nor can you trust promises. And some characters have the skill and/or charm to appear right even when they’re dead wrong. Your instincts are less likely to betray you. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. (See also: Manipulation and the Gaslighting Effect.)
- Don’t be swayed. Let your values and principles guide your actions. Disturbed characters of all persuasions can be convincing. They love to sow doubt. That way, you’ll see things their way. You don’t have to be rude. Nor do you have to counter their arguments. Expect them to throw tactics at you. But stand on principle.
- Remember, it’s about the love. You can’t love within a relationship unless you know how to love yourself, first. Now, I’m not talking about unhealthy, narcissistic self-adoration. I’m talking about real love, which is sincerely wanting nothing but good, whether for yourself or another. Wishing well for yourself is where it has to start, however. And that requires you to be honest with yourself about your desires and intentions. (I have some weightier things to say about this in Character Disturbance and The Judas Syndrome.)
Reinforcing Empowering Attitudes
Our attitudes predispose our behavior, that’s for sure. But continually acting lovingly also helps reinforce empowering attitudes. So, how do you know if your attitude is right? You know when you feel energized, confident, grateful, creative… full of joy! And how do you know when you’re in need of attitude correction? When you find your energy drained because of fighting the same old losing battles. Then it’s time to reclaim core values and change your way of thinking!