Is the sign of a healthy relationship, whether in the family, with friends, or in the work place.
We empower when we understand each and every relationship to be mutual (I-You): when each is able to bring and share their very best with the other.
An unhealthy relationship is one which depersonalises and disempowers, believing a relationship can be more about us and our needs and our priorities (I-It): in effect, “You have nothing I need.”
(In the work I do, I have literally lost count of the number of times people have shared with me how the most de-energising experiences they’ve had are when they and others are not recognised as people with ideas and skills.)
Mutuality can feel too vulnerable, though, too “soft” for the hard circumstances we find ourselves in.*
Yet, when we power up over others rather than empower them, when we make ourselves invulnerable to what they have to bring, we also may be saying something profound about ourselves, how we are not enough.
Brené Brown defines love – which is all about how we treat each other before it is how we feel about each other – in this way:**
‘Love is not something we give or get; it is something we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.’^
When we are happy with who we are and see the possibility of growing without shame within this, we are loving ourselves as we ought and are more able to turn this love towards others.
Of course, people are not either or but a mix of empowering and disempowering in different relationships and environments.
What do we get to do today, though, is to explore being more empowering in all the relationships we find ourselves in.^^
(*Also, indicative of a dualistic few of life.)
(**Actions which, above, all seek to avoid shaming and controlling the other.)
(^From Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly.)
(^^What this looks like depends on the relationship. An encounter with a sales assistant we don’t know will be different to some to whom we regularly report or who reports to us. In part, what we are considering is how to be more aware and mindful before, during, and after these moments of connecting.)