Empowerment is a word that can mean many things to many people. It’s not a one-size-fits-all concept; it’s a deeply personal journey. Each of us experiences empowerment in our own way, at different phases of life or through the various roles we play. For me, empowerment is all about feeling in tune with my true self.
As a parent for over a decade, I’ve been on quite a rollercoaster ride. There were moments when I felt anything but empowered, like that time my daughter had to be rushed to the hospital because of breathing issues. In a new country, with limited support, I was lost in a sea of uncertainty. It seemed like there was no room for empowerment when fatigue and stress took over.
I had to make some tough career choices to care for my daughter. It was the right decision, but not an easy one. I had to give up my job, something I loved, and adapt to a new pace of life. Being there for my daughter was paramount; she needed me almost every day for seven long years. But in the midst of all the challenges, a different kind of empowerment began to emerge.
It didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process of getting to know my daughter’s illness, learning the ropes at the hospital, and understanding her signs and symptoms. I built a support network, found a safe space to share my worries, and embraced the journey. I realized that, as a parent, I already had the intuitive knowledge to support my child. With the help of other parents and my husband, we navigated the tough times together.
Journaling: A Path to Empowerment
In the midst of these trials, I discovered the incredible power of journaling. Inspired by Julia Cameron’s “morning pages,” I began to regularly engage in free writing. My journal became a confidant, a place where I could release my healthy and unhealthy emotions. It served as a tracker of my personal growth and development over the years. Looking back at those pages, I felt a sense of pride in myself and ownership of my journey.
As parents, we often overlook the importance of taking a moment for ourselves. Journaling can be a lifeline in the storm of responsibilities. It allows you to express your feelings, work through challenges, set goals, and celebrate your achievements. It’s a tool that can help you find clarity and gain perspective in the chaos of family life and work demands.
Empowerment is Personal
Finding a workplace that understood and accommodated my needs was crucial. I had to learn how to communicate my daughter’s needs effectively during interviews. It wasn’t always easy, but when I finally landed in a supportive work environment, I began to regain my sense of empowerment.
As my child settled into school and I returned to work part-time, I started to regain my confidence. Today, I’ve chosen to work for myself, giving me the flexibility to be there for my family and clients without the stress. This decision is empowering because it aligns with what feels right for me.
Empowerment isn’t about conforming to societal norms. It’s about knowing your true self, and having the freedom to breathe in your own space. It’s about recognizing your resources and being unafraid to seek help when needed. It’s finding your grounding, anchoring yourself, and staying true to who you are.
To all the parents out there, I encourage you to reflect on what empowerment means to you. We all experience different facets of empowerment throughout our journey, and it’s deeply personal, influenced by our individual circumstances and the roles we play as caregivers. Remember, your path to empowerment is a unique and beautiful journey that evolves with time and experience. And don’t forget to pick up that journal—it may just be the key to understanding and celebrating your own growth and empowerment.
November 1, 2023