Empowered is something I always wanted to be. It meant I would be successful, a leader, confident, unstoppable. Then the voice in my head and the voices around me would set me back in my place and life would continue to happen all around me. I didn’t know how to be what I wanted to be. I had no idea how to live empowered.

This is not a sob story, a woe is me pity party that lays out all the ways I have failed or been failed by others. But a story of redemption, of learning, and most importantly, a story of how who we are not only effects ourselves, but effects the lives of others.

Just like you, I have failed a lot. I have messed up. I have said the wrong thing. I have hurt people, gossiped, put others down. I have been the toxic person in too many relationships.

On the flip side, I have been failed. I have had others say terrible things to me and about me, I have been hurt, gossiped about, and put down. I have been in relationship with too many toxic people.

This is a cycle I lived in for too long! Then one day, this desire to be something else went from being a dream to opportunity. At that point, it only took one person, one statement, one moment to move me in a direction of empowerment.

Empowerment was no longer linked to success or leadership. It wasn’t even about confidence. It became about motivation. I didn’t want to live in the unhealthy relationships I had carried with me all my life. I wanted to spend the rest of what time I have in this life, truly living. I wanted to create relationships and a life that I can be proud of, that will bring me joy even when it’s hard.

This motivation came in a moment. I imagine most people have had a moment, or will have a moment like this at some point in their lives. When you just know you can’t keep going the way you are headed. Pain, addiction, abuse, exhaustion, sadness, busyness, anything that makes us feel like we just can’t do it anymore. Then we wake up and realize we don’t have to. This is the moment we turn from one life and look for someone or some place to help us change direction.

Don’t get me wrong, the moment doesn’t make it all better. It doesn’t make the past go away or the addiction disappear. It just takes ahold of your shoulders and begins to turn you in a new direction.

This moment in my life was the beginning of empowerment. I knew I could change. What I found, though, was people closest to me didn’t like it. The negativity, the toxicity, wasn’t ready to let me go. The healthier I learned to become, the more I felt like I was losing. Then it all seemed to be gone. But I was getting better. It didn’t make sense.

Prayer has been a big part of this journey for me and I have used it a lot to seek guidance and find hope each time my journey seemed empty or dark. I was learning to be empowered by it. I have also been reading and seeking Godly counsel to talk me through the hard days. I highly recommend the book Boundaries.

What I found is a joy in new relationships. I found that what I think life should look like is not what it should be. I have carried the toxicity with me, it is in my understanding of life and relationships.

Every time I recognize this and can allow a new healthy way of living to take over, I am empowered.

Every time I allow a piece of my past to heal, I am empowered.

Every time I take responsibility for what is mine and let go of what isn’t, I am empowered.

Every time I learn to build a boundary to keep toxicity out and allow healthy relationships in, I am empowered.

And every time I share this with someone, I become more empowered and allow someone else to look for their moment to begin their journey of empowerment.

Empowered isn’t something I will ever just be, it is moment by moment, as I continue to grow, as I continue to learn. Everyday I choose if that day will bring empowerment or not.