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Empowerment and Personal Responsibility

It’s a sad fact that we are conditioned as a culture (by and large; I’m taking some broad generalizations here) to not want to take a lot of responsibilitites for ourselves, our choices and particularly our mistakes. Few of us like to draw attention to ourselves, especially if we fear punitive reactions or responses as a consequence of standing up and saying, “This is me” or “I did this”. Given the rising number of clients coming into counselling seeking help for self-esteem and disempowerment issues, however, I’m a firm believer that it’s long past time we challenge the cultural scripts on appropriate responsibilities and self-empowerment through mindfulness.

Easy words to say, obviously; damned hard concepts to live with any kind of consistency in the face of governments and social networks that want to reduce us to conveniences, algorithms, and consumer data.

So how do we start challenging those scripts? As with everything, it starts by looking at ourselves as individuals; as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Even if your parents weren’t the best models for empowerment and responsibility, that’s no excuse to be stuck in their system any longer than you need to be. This article provides some excellent questions to start the process of self-reflection without allowing that process to devolve into self-blame and self-loathing for the things we have done, conscously or not. I’ve printed them out and keep them stuck to the wall in my counselling office where I can see them for myself every day… not just for my clients’ benefits, but for my own daily challenges as well.

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