NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Empowering Yourself When You Feel Disempowered

Life presents many challenges that can lead to your feeling discouraged and disempowered.  Often, the key to feeling empowered is to take action, even if it's a small step, because, as the saying goes, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step" (see my article: What's Holding You Back From Achieving Your Goals?).

Empowering Yourself When You Feel Disempowered

When you feel disempowered, you might feel that whatever step you take will be inconsequential compared to the larger goal.  It's easy to talk yourself out of taking action if you try to imagine what your steps should be from beginning to end.

This can leave you feeling discouraged and stuck.  But it's important to remember that, along the way, life will present opportunities that you can't know about right now.

That's why it's so important to maintain a sense of hope, which will help you to get from one step to another and help you to feel empowered enough to maintain your course.

Helpful Tips:
  • Take Action: The action doesn't have to be big.  You can start by writing down your goal and then defining what steps you need to take to get there.  Then, break down those steps into smaller, more manageable steps and take some step every week to get closer to your goal.  You can also start by talking to someone who has already accomplished what you want to do.  Ask questions about what worked and what didn't work.  Talk to supportive friends and family members who will encourage you.
  • Appreciate the Journey:  Often, people who have worked on long term goals, have remarked that the journey to accomplishing their goals turned out to be more valuable than the end goal.  Along the way, they met interesting people and learned new things.  The journey itself helped to them to broaden and grow (see my article: Being Open to New Experiences).
  • Keep Things in Perspective: Although things might seem bleak at the moment, change your focus to the long view.  Rather than telling yourself all the reasons why you can't accomplish what you want, imagine yourself in a few years time and what it would feel like once you have accomplished your goals (see my article: Experiencing Happiness as Part of Your Future Self).  Hold onto that good feeling and sense of accomplishment to get you through.  Most things that are worth accomplishing take a while to accomplish.  Also, remember other times when you have felt discouraged and things worked out for you (see my article: Staying Positive and Focused on Your Goals). 
  • Spend Time With Others Who Are Positive and Working Towards Their Goals:  Naysayers can give you many reasons why you can't accomplish what you want.  They will reinforce your own self doubts.  But people who are persevering in their goals, even when there are challenges, are inspiring to be around and can help to motivate you to work on your goals even during challenging times (see my article: Finding Inspiration and Motivation to Accomplish Your Goals).
  • Cultivate a Mentor in Your Life:  Having the support of a mentor can make all the difference in terms of your accomplishing your goals, especially when you feel discouraged.  A mentor can see qualities in you that you might not see or appreciate.  
  • Stop Comparing Yourself Unfavorably to Other People:  Being around positive people, who are persevering in their goals, despite obstacles, is inspiring.  But some people, who don't feel good about themselves, compare themselves unfavorably to these people.  Remember:  It's not a competition.  When you find yourself comparing yourself unfavorable to others, notice it, recognize it as self defeating and switch your attention back to yourself (see my article: How to Stop Comparing Yourself Unfavorably to Others).
  • Don't Get Discouraged If You Stumble:  Thomas Edison had to work out almost 3,000 theories about electric light and only two of his experiments worked.  He said, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up" (see my articles: When Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and Overcoming Your Fear of Making Mistakes).
  • Acknowledge Yourself For Each Step Towards Your Goal:  Some people don't feel that they deserve any recognition as they take steps towards their goal.  But this can be discouraging, especially if it's a goal that will take years.  So, it's important to give yourself credit for each step that brings you closer to your goal.  Celebrate each milestone (see my article: Achieving Your Goals: Learn to Celebrate Small Successes Along the Way to Your Final Goal).

Getting Help in Therapy:
People who have experienced emotional trauma, especially early childhood trauma, or who suffer from depression or anxiety can find it too overwhelming to empower themselves, so the tips outlined above might not be helpful.

Empowering Yourself: Getting Help in Therapy

These tips might even have the effect of making them feel ashamed that they can't use these tips to overcome their obstacles.

If you're struggling and feeling disempowered and stuck, you could benefit from seeking help from a licensed psychotherapist who can help you to develop the capacity to overcome your history and to take positive steps for the future (see my article: Therapists Who Empower Clients in Therapy).

Everyone needs help at some point in his or her life.  Sometimes, you need a specialist who has skills that your friends and family don't have to help you overcome your problems (see my article: Learning to Feel Hopeful in Therapy: Developing a Stronger Sense of Self).

Rather than struggling on your own, get help to overcome your personal history so you can accomplish your goals and lead a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.