INSIDE OUT, UPSIDE DOWN & SIDE BY SIDE
By Carmen Greger
In the world today, there’s an ever-evolving conversation around the ideas of ‘power’ and ’empowerment.’ These two terms, often used interchangeably, in reality, draw their energies from distinctly different realms. While ‘power’ emerges as an external force often associated with strength, domination and control, ’empowerment’ is more of an internal surge, a comprehensive, proactive, productive, and purpose-driven way of being.
The journey between the two is where the magic of human potential lies.
The Externality of Power
To understand the concept of power, take a moment to think of it as a roaring river with a formidable current. Power, often rooted in ego and dominance, is superficially attractive, often drawing individuals towards its allure. Research indicates that power is transient, external, and sometimes even fickle. It is an energy dependent on outward circumstances and structures – currency, money, connections, networks, energy, and even food.
These are the gears that power the machine of society, and they are undoubtedly vital. Yet, this focus on the external methods of achievement through power has a ceiling. If you sail only on the waters of this river, you might never explore the vast oceans beyond.
Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” It’s pertinent to note that while Newton spoke of the ‘power’ of knowledge he gained from past scholars, the true potential was in the mission, dedication and ’empowerment’ he felt in his work, leading to revolutionary discoveries.
The Elevation of Empowerment
Empowerment, on the other hand, is akin to the sun’s radiant energy, pervasive, warming, and nurturing. It’s a cultivated sense of self, a proactive approach that integrates wholeness and the actualization of human potential. True empowerment is rooted in good intention and energy in its purest forms. This is a soul’s journey of evolving, learning, and reaching a higher potential, which organically generates a positively vibrant ripple effect.
To exemplify empowerment’s tangible impact, consider the story of Malala Yousafzai. A young Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ education, she rose from that harrowing experience, not just for herself but for millions of girls worldwide.
The Malala Fund she co-founded aims to empower young girls with 12 years of free education. In the process, she gave these girls the power to drive change, to dream and create a future on their terms. The currency of the Malala Fund becomes a tool, a ‘power’ utilized by an empowered being. This cycle of positive evolution shows how empowerment can create ripples of change when combined with the right resources.
Bridging Power & Empowerment
There’s no denying the importance of power in certain contexts. But the future belongs to those who recognize the importance of intertwining it with empowerment. The recent trend illustrates that the truly empowered individuals are the ones reshaping the narrative, intentionally and mindfully taking back control of their lives, and making a profound difference in the world.
The enlightened among us have come to realize that power isn’t inherently bad. However, what matters most is the spirit driving its use. As Rumi beautifully expressed, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” When we operate from a place of true empowerment, fueled by purpose and dedicated to the collective good, the possibilities are boundless.
Leading the Charge
In the dawn of this empowerment era, several pioneers are charting a brilliant path forward, from Elon Musk and his eco-tech ventures around green energy and a sustainable future, to Bill & Melinda Gates and their foundation focused on global health, development and education, to Marianne Williamson, 2024 presidential candidate, humanitarian, speaker and author of many inspirational books, to Taylor Swift whose raw talent, strong work ethic, relatable, moving and unifying lyrics, coupled with her dedication to standing up for artists rights and women’s empowerment… and countless more.
Mission-based, ‘on-purpose’ living, combined with the commitment to proactively and wholeheartedly embrace both the being and becoming of ‘the change we wish to see in the world’, is a trend that promises to stick around and be the glue for a new way of life. This lends a much broader, deeper definition of success, for one and for all.
“Empowered individuals have a natural inclination to lift others up, not ever to knock them down.” -Anonymous
Those genuinely good souls who have manifested elevated platforms are fully aware that their voice can and should be utilized to inspire impactful change, and they are feeling magnetically drawn to do so, as they clearly recognize that ‘with ability comes responsibility’ to do their part and make their message meaningful, moving and magnified, thus inspiring a kinder, more prosperous, more unified world.
We all have a unique voice that can be used wisely, courageously, vulnerably and compassionately to perpetuate the positive, crowd out the negative, and truly heal this planet and its people, as we are each one drop of water in an interconnected sea. We all have an important contribution that we are meant to make, and as we continue to encourage one another rather than discourage, celebrate rather than deflate, and uplift rather than overpower each other, we will truly begin to thrive.
As empowered, loving-kind human beings, we do our best to be, live and spread the light. The time is now.
The Collective Vision
In essence, the journey of the future isn’t about eschewing power but redefining it. It’s about amplifying empowerment and using it as our guiding light. As the saying goes, there is no ‘I’ in team. Through communal efforts, resource-sharing, and mutual support, we can create a world of infinite potential. Everyone has a role, and everyone stands to gain.
“Using your fire to ignite someone else’s will not dim your light… it will illuminate the room and you will shine together.” -B.K. Sweeting
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller
We must remind ourselves to come together as human beings in all life aspects, sharing opportunities, information, and inspiration, always leading with love and logic. For in this combined force of ‘power’ and ’empowerment,’ we unearth the quintessence of human potential, and therein, everybody wins.