Being empowered is a state of being in control. In control of oneself and in control of one's life. What empowers someone is what gives them strength and courage. For me, it is love. Love is what has started me on my journey to a better me.
I did not always love myself. I didn't even always know what love was. Growing up, I was made to feel abandoned at times by people I loved and should have been loved by -- my father and my siblings. I was never sure of what I could have ever done, but that was the treatment I received. I looked for love in every nook and cranny which turned out to be all the wrong places. You see, when you are made to go without a thing, that thing becomes your fixation. You've got to have it. Have to experience it... I had to be loved. I went from one dysfunctional relationship to another, both romantic and platonic. I had been lied to, cheated on, demeaned, manipulated and controlled. I confused these things for passion and for things that love might be. I allowed myself to be continually mistreated because often my own self-esteem was dependent on these other people. A change came after the longest relationship I had ever been in ended. After months of debating and listing pros and cons, I had had the last straw and found my strength to love myself enough to leave. This was when I started my journey doing yoga.
For me, yoga and meditation has been nothing but sheer strength. It has forced me to spend time with just myself and my Higher Power.
I began to learn about myself, all my ups and downs. I began to love myself first. Real love is what keeps me on my journey. It is something I do for me. Knowing what real love is, I am in control of the love I give and the love I receive. I'm empowered. I love sharing my yoga journey. I post pictures of my practice (all in black and white, to focus solely on yoga) along with tips and mantras that have all helped me. I am self-taught, but I would like to someday become a yoga teacher and spread the love and peace that I've found in my own practice.
I greatly appreciate the EMPOWER campaign and its efforts to bring issues of mental health to the forefront. I fell in love with psychology in college, it is what I earned my degree in. We tend to think of health in terms of physical well being, but it is so much more than that. Mental and emotional health can mean the difference in a persons quality of life.