NO ONE knows your body as well as you do.
Dictionary.com defines “empower” as; 1. give (someone) the authority or power to do something, and 2. make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. So, when discussing your health and creating change, what could be more important than being empowered? Being an empowered consumer is the most important factor to maintaining true quality of life.
Let’s address the first part of the definition. “To give someone the authority or power to do something” regarding your health and wellness is to put A LOT of trust and faith in someone. As a health practitioner, I truly appreciate the amount of faith and trust my patients put in me and my team. I believe that I should earn that trust by not only providing individual, quality care but most importantly including each patient in planning their own treatment and setting their goals, encouraging open communication every step of the way. It’s your life and health, not mine, your goals, and your definition of what “quality of life” means, not mine. I believe this is a standard to which we should hold everyone we interact with. We should be able to create our own “team.” Regardless of whether this is your health team, recovery team or friendship team, boundaries and standards need to be set by YOU. You get to choose whether to stay in negative situations or relationships, eat foods that make you feel good, and move in ways that allow you to function optimally. And you make those decisions based on making consistent, healthy choices through awareness by being in the now allowing yourself to grow and CHANGE. That experience has introduced you to your body; how it feels, thinks and functions. Making decisions based on that education; THAT is being empowered.
Secondly let’s address “making (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.” Now that you feel good about yourself, empowered in your decisions, and are present in the moment, you can appreciate what it’s like to go through that journey. This, I believe, is at that heart of charity, of doing for others, helping them grow, empowering them. Mother Theresa said, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that strength lies.” I like to believe that by “small things” she meant everything from one person at a time to all the positive attributes of life; health, happiness, trust, change, or even the power of a smile. Sharing the wealth of knowledge that you have gained on your health and wellness journey is how you can Empower one person at time. And never forget to give yourself a pat on the back, every day, for being you. Nobody can do that better than you! Now go CHANGE, one moment at a time.
By Denise Nichols, OTR/L, PRPC, BCB-PMD