Empowering Yourself From The Outside In

Wonder Woman symbolizes female strength

Female empowerment – Be your own unique version of Wonder Woman! Photo via a4gpa, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

There’s a lot of talk about female empowerment these days. Listening to a lot of it, one would assume that it’s something that needs to be given or allowed by the patriarchal status quo. Yet more might suggest that it’s something that should be taken by force from a society that’s withholding it. For many of us, however, empowerment is neither something that can be given, nor taken but rather, it’s something that needs to be realized. Realization is a very personal journey and with this in mind, female empowerment becomes self empowerment on a gender-wide scale. There’s something satisfying about the image of women all over the world that the power was inside them all along. Of course, female empowerment is as much a sociological and economic issue as a personal one, with a gender pay gap that looks set to continue for centuries. Change, however great, is made up of the actions of individuals.

That said, empowerment is not a low-hanging fruit, nor is it something that all women can reach via the same path. If you’ve ever been mistreated by a parent, under appreciated by an employer, abused by a partner or taken for granted by a ‘friend’ who just keeps on taking, your journey towards self empowerment will be very different to those of your sisters.

Empowerment is a state of mind, and while there are some who may be able to will themselves into this state voluntarily, for others they may as well be asked to figure out cold fusion. The mind and body are inextricably related, however, and if you’re struggling to feel empowered from the inside out, you might consider ways in which you can empower yourself from the outside in.

Weights, the gym, and women

Strength training needs to be a part of the female’s workout routine. Pexels photo (CC0).

Strength without, strength within

For my money, I think every woman should incorporate strength training into their daily regimen. A lot of women see female bodybuilders and determine that that particular form of feminine beauty isn’t for them, but there’s more to strength training than developing big muscles. In fact, since women produce far less Human Growth Hormone than their male counterparts, you’re less likely to get a muscular figure no matter how hard you train. Female bodybuilders follow a very strict exercise, diet and supplement regime to get as big as they do.

Strength training is great for female empowerment as it shows women that they can be capable of physical feats that they probably never imagined possible if they apply themselves with dedication and commitment. When women become strong, they feel strong and the world around them becomes that much less threatening. Likewise training in martial arts is not only a great tool for self-actualization but a great way to build self-confidence and better handle anger and stress.

It pains me to see women slaving away on treadmills and cross trainers in the pursuit of aiming for a target weight. Strength training will give your metabolism a boost so that you will burn more calories when stationary or even asleep as well as being a lot more fun and therapeutic than slogging away on a treadmill.

Dressing to impress yourself

Clothes maketh the man, but do they maketh the woman? Well, of course not. And come to think of it, they don’t maketh the man either. Nonetheless, it would be unfair to deny the extent to which the clothes we wear do affect our psychology and our behavior. A lot of women, especially mothers, simply stop caring about the way they dress and dress only for comfort and utility. While there’s currency in not caring about how the world perceives you, how you perceive you is extremely important. If your current wardrobe inhibits your ability to feel formidable or classy or desirable or worthy, something needs to change. Whether you choose to armor yourself with a designer power suit or a tasteful dress from Anthony’s Ladies Apparel you deserve to dress to impress yourself. You may surprise yourself with how much more confident, alert and empowered you feel when you give your wardrobe a tweak.

Beauty is not a bad word

When it comes to beautifying yourself with makeup or cosmetics, the debate rages on as to whether this is or isn’t empowering for women. Neither side of the debate is wrong, but it’s a personal decision and those who feel that women shouldn’t need to wear makeup shouldn’t shame those who choose to. While beauty and empowerment needn’t necessarily go hand in hand, doing what you can to feel beautiful can be a great first step towards feeling empowered. So, if this sounds like your jam, don’t be afraid to go for it!

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27 thoughts on “Empowering Yourself From The Outside In

  1. Pingback: Empowering Yourself From The Outside In – The Militant Negro™

  2. 🎵🎵 I am so beautiful 🎵 to me 🎵 can’t you see?
    Wonderful post, Christy! You’ve touched on a lot female issues, beginning with empowerment.
    I hate treadmills. Where are you going?
    Go for a decent walk or jog. Why a treadmill, a hamster wheel?
    Application of clothes or cosmetics for beauty’s sake, as put to us by past ideals, is not that inner/outer – outer/inner beauty this article indicates. However, it is desirable.
    Wanting beauty is a positive thing.
    I make Art Gowns. I think they are beautiful, and if you do, too, then you understand I have taken great care and much time to express that beauty. Power to the Designer!!
    🎵🎵 I am so beautiful 🎵 to me 🎵 can’t you see?
    Thank you, Christy!

  3. Hi Christy. It’s beyond true that there is far too much emphasis on beauty and youth everywhere we turn. Beauty really is only skin deep.
    Even so, yes, the outside can shape the spirit — If done mindfully, it can happen in a positive way. (Rather than disdain for our appearance from others and from ourselves.)
    I thought of this TED talk the moment I sat the “Wonder Woman” image. Maybe you’ve seen it. It’s fabulous and so true.

    Hugs!

    • OK now I’ll be carving out time this weekend to watch the TED talk, Resa – thanks!! I just listened to a few minutes and it was interesting how she called out to the audience to pay attention to how they were sitting in their seats (body posture, etc.). Hugs!

  4. I absolutely love working out. Since starting to walk/workout every day, I just feel so energetic and toned. 🙂 And I’m all into the feminine – but we need a balance. I guess the pagans that used to live in what is today’s Europe, their societies often honored the feminine above the masculine. But I think the balance may have been far in the other direction, haha. I hope that one day we can form a balanced society that honors all genders, people, and their ways of life.
    Hope you’re well, sweet friend! Happy Friday! xo

  5. Wonderful post, Christy. You make a good point… Getting our negative self-talk to switch tracks can often be jump-started by doing things outwardly that make us feel empowered. You rock, girlfriend! ❤

  6. Fantastic post Christy!!! Empowering from the outside in can be a big boost. So true, clothes don’t maketh anyone but they maketh us feel better when we can put on something to boost our self-esteem. Brava my friend. 🙂 ❤

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I will leave you this evening with some words for both women and men. Christy Birmingham reflects on the term empowerment and the much addressed Female Empowerment. Christy offers some wise words on the subject and she is right when she says that it is not just being given empowerment it is about finding our own and using it. Having been in two very male dominated industries it took me a while to realise that my strengths added to my male counterparts made a powerful combination. Christy also shares a couple of important strategies to bring empowerment from the outside in.. strength training and dressing the part. The media illustrate female empowerment in a very negative way with their images of scantily dressed young women who feel the need to undress to be empowered. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am sure that Christy would be delighted to receive your feedback.

  8. Brilliant post Christy. My favourite quotes are
    It’s something that needs to be realized & Empowerment is a state of mind. I honestly believe this can be applied to a lot of blokes as well as women. It is not right but of the male bravado is because inside he is scared and struggling

  9. I love this Christy. It’s very true, one woman’s image of idealized beauty will not be the same as the next, so we each need to do what makes us feel beautiful, confident, sexy, empowered in our own right.

  10. The connection between mind and body can’t be denied. Both need to be taken care of. As I’ve gone through cancer treatment and also therapy for my epic divorce, when I get upset my therapist’s voice always comes into my head, “Just breathe.” And I do, and things get better. Little by little, I become more empowered every day via the actions I decide to take.

  11. I have noticed since I started writing and blogging I feel so much more confident and happy. I particularly was interested to read about strength training I had never really thought about it too much before. Well done Christy great article.

  12. Pingback: The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing

  13. Pingback: The Weekly Headlines-Posted on November 25, 2017 by lafayetteangel – Br Andrew's Muses

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