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I don't know about you, but for most of my life I have given my power away to other people. What do I mean by that? Well, I wanted to please people and I needed or thought I needed their approval and because of this I sacrificed my own happiness and well-being. 
I learned that there is a huge difference between empowering and enabling and I was a huge enabler. I put my needs and desires on the back burner to help others meet their needs and desires instead. Sound familiar? 
It took a lot for me to find my voice and literally 50 years! When my 50th birthday was approaching eight years ago I realized I just wasn't happy. I realized that I spent my whole life doing what other people expected me to do even if it wasn't what I wanted to do, and it made me resentful and angry and very unhappy. So, I decided that after spending 50 years pleasing or trying to please other people that I wasn't going to do it anymore. I was not going to sacrifice my happiness for anyone else's. I deserved better. Now that doesn't mean I didn't help people out or do things my friends wanted to do, but I gave myself permission to not do it if I truly did not feel like it would be a healthy thing for me. 
I made some huge changes in my life. After 13 years of volunteering at a local animal rescue and being a church administrator, I stepped down because I wanted to commit my time to energy healing and opening my own practice. I started saying no to things that just did not excite me or feed my soul. I started giving myself permission to do what I wanted to do, even if that was nothing. I stopped sacrificing my own well-being for others such giving people money that I actually needed. 
I stopped allowing people to guilt me into things and empowering myself to respect my boundaries, after all if I wasn't respecting my boundaries why should anyone else? When people asked me for help, whether it was financial help or doing them a favor I would ask myself a simple question: “If I do this for them am I empowering them or enabling them?” If I felt like I would be enabling them, I would not help them but direct them to places that could help with whatever their situation was and empower them to take responsibility for their situation. 
By empowering myself to make me a priority, which I had never done before, I found my voice. I found my freedom to finally take care of me and my needs. I finally saw value in myself and my needs. By empowering myself I no longer had to live up to others' expectations of me and I could finally embrace the life I wanted for me.
When I first started saying no to people, they were a bit shocked and displeased. But I stuck to my boundaries and did what was best for me. Do you feel this is being selfish? I believe it is quite the opposite for if I neglect my needs then I am not going to be healthy enough to help anyone else. I will burnout, become resentful, angry, depressed, and suffer with anxiety attacks. That is how I lived most of my life and I just didn't want to do that anymore. 
I often think about what they teach you when you fly on a plane. They instruct you to take the oxygen mask and put it on you first then help others around you that need it. Why? because if you run out of oxygen how will be any good to anyone else including yourself. It's the same thing. If you give and give of yourself, but do not take for yourself you will run out of oxygen. 
Empowerment means accepting responsibility for your life and your choices. In an article in Psychology Today, Sebastian Salicru, Registered Psychologist said, “When we take responsibility, we take ownership of behavior and its consequences. We accept our choices and their outcomes – without blaming others or life’s circumstances. This makes us strong and resilient. The degree of freedom we experience in life is a direct proportion of the amount of responsibility we take.”
Also, according to Sebastian Salicru there are seven benefits of taking responsibility for your life. Those benefits are:
  1. Live more meaningful and purposeful lives.
  2. Experience personal (inner) power and authority.
  3. Create individuation.
  4. Attain differentiation.
  5. Embody our truth.
  6. Create freedom for ourselves.
  7. Feel empowered, capable, and proud of ourselves.
In what area of your life could you take only 10% more responsibility today? What would your life be like if you were going to do this today? How would it feel to say no to an activity or favor you just don't want to do? 
Self-care, self-empowerment is a selfless act. Read that again! Self-care, self-empowerment is a SELFLESS act. If I am rested and happy, I am going to be in a better place to help people out and I will enjoy doing it. So, I would like to empower all of you to embrace YOU and your wants and needs and desires without guilt or shame. 
I give you permission to say NO! I give you permission to rest and take a nap! I give you permission to take a “me” day and do what YOU want to do! I give you permission to be.
Pat Laurino
Intuitive Energy Healing and Psychic/Medium
North Country Spiritual Pathways and Wellness, LLC is now located at Cottage Park Professional Center at 
101 Cottage Street, Suite 7A, Littleton, New Hampshire
 (across the parking lot from Deep Earth Arts).

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