By Michael Eisen.
In a day and age where parents and kids text more than they talk, where a family that doesn’t feud is an anomaly, and where the one thing that most parents and kids have in common is the stress and anxiety they face—something’s gotta give!
If we are going to empower the next generation and generations to come to live up to their true potential and to live a life full of passion and optimism, it is incredibly important that we create a more supportive and understanding family unit.
Below are five principles and strategies that will help get you on the path to living a more empowered life.
1. Take Responsibility for Your Life
There is nothing more empowering than the realization that you have the ability to create the life you want to live. Many of us get caught up in blaming others when things don’t turn out the way we want them to, but what I have learned is that the true power lies in your own thoughts, words, actions, and choices.
We all have a choice when it comes to how we respond to a situation or experience. Start taking action and making decisions that are aligned with the life you want to live and the relationships you want to have.
2. Practice Self-Care
Contrary to popular belief, taking care of yourself is NOT selfish; it is self-FULL. While I was raised to put others first, I came to realize that the only way I could actually help others was to first help myself. While many parents think it’s too hard to make time for themselves or indulge in activities of self-care, the reality is the parents with the most energy and the most patience for their kids are those who are doing just that.
Giving yourself the gift of self-care (be it a night out with friends or an opportunity to explore an interest or passion or down time alone) will help diminish the resentment, exhaustion, and stress that often accompanies parenthood.
3. Make Friends with Fear
Have you ever stopped to think about the impact fear has on your life? Fear is one of the most debilitating emotions—it robs you of your power and often leaves you feeling helpless. While you can’t get rid of fear completely, what you can do is change the way you respond to it. I like to think of fear as: false evidence appearing real.
Fear is a story about the future you create, so the best way to overcome the paralysis it can cause is to change the story. Since none of us can accurately predict the future, I suggest replacing your fear thoughts with faith thoughts and learning to trust that, no matter how things unfold, you’ll be able to handle them.
4. Understand Your Way Isn’t THE Way
Every person sees the world from their own perspective. No two people see things the exact same way. Yet, many parents and children struggle because they are under the false assumption that the way they see a particular situation or scenario is how the other should see it as well. The only way you can gain perspective is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Perspective (realizing we all see and interpret things differently) unlocks our ability to be more compassionate, empathetic, and respectful. You don’t have to agree with someone necessarily, but you have to grant him the freedom to see life the way he chooses to see it. Understanding the power of perspective will not only lead to dissolving conflict within the family but also throughout the world.
5. Be the Authentic YOU
Everyone has an authentic self, but sometimes it’s buried deep within, under the expectations and beliefs that others have heaped upon you. Many of us adopt different personas or values in order to be liked or accepted by others. What lies beneath these is a place of authenticity and genuineness where the things you say and the behaviors you exhibit feel good and come naturally. There’s no better feeling than living from your place of authenticity.
On occasion, you may think you’re being authentic, only to find out that a particular characteristic or behavior isn’t actually yours and was likely handed down from a parent or elder and adopted unconsciously. To uncover your true self, you’ll need to spend some time getting to know yourself and ignite your curiosity.
The only way to uncover the authentic YOU is to start questioning everything—from your attitude to your actions to your belief systems. Ask yourself if this truly feels like you and see how your body responds. If you get tense, upset, tired, or strained in any way, it is most likely something you have been taught to follow but is no longer serving your highest good. Aim to feel more liberated, uplifted, and full of energy instead!
If you are interested in learning more strategies and tools to restore peace and repair connection in your family, and/or you have a passion for empowering children and our next generation to thrive and flourish, then I hope you consider checking out my new book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living, co-authored with my father, Jeffrey Eisen.
I feel one of the strongest messages delivered in this book is the importance of living the Empowered YOU in order to empower our kids and youth in our society. If my father hadn’t gone through a radical transformation at the age of fifty and ultimately turned his life around, I honestly don’t know where I would be today. It was his inspired action that led the way for not only myself but the majority of my family to change too. And if we can do it, then so can YOU!
Photo Credit: Steve Kay