Self-Empowerment: Other People’s Shit is Not Your Shit

In class today we meditated for a little while on the concept of self-empowerment.

When I used to hear “self-empowerment”, my mind would jump to this notion of a big, heroic statement. A big event, action, or moment in time. But the more I’ve started to explore it in my own practice… the more I’ve started to realize that self-empowerment is actually quite simple.

It’s owning your voice with raw honesty.
Understanding — and standing in — your truth.
But always, always coming from a place of love.

So today, we sat in stillness and called to mind a time when we were able to speak from our hearts honestly, truthfully, and peacefully. We remembered how it felt to be expressive, how we (and others) received our words…and used that brief moment as a reminder that that honesty is ALWAYS within us. Always. Sometimes we just need to use a little bit of our own strength to extract it…alongside a healthy dose of understanding that non-owned reactions can’t (or shouldn’t) affect the independent values, beliefs, and opinions we hold true.

Need a tangible example?

I recently experienced a conflict with someone. This person took out their tangential frustrations on me in the form of an extremely angry conversation (read: I got yelled at out of nowhere for something that had very little to do with me).

I was more shaken than I’d been in a while. I had two options:

  1. Respectfully express my concern about the tone of our conversation, or
  2. Stay quiet. Let it fester. I’m a dweller — so, I’d dwell.

I went with the former, and I’ll be honest: I was hoping for a more empathetic, positive reaction from the person — hell, I was hoping for an apology. I didn’t get that…but I was able to calmly, clearly explain my point of view.

I worked hard to remind myself that this person has their own life stressors, their own communication style & values, and is flawed — just like the rest of us. Does it mean that I agree with their actions? Of course not — understanding is not synonymous with agreement, and that’s okay.

See, the thing is…self-empowerment doesn’t mean you’re always going to get what you want, just because you said how you feel. You will never, everbe able to control another person’s reactions — they have their own shit, their own external and internal variables, all vying for a seat at their brain table, just the way you do.

Give yourself an opportunity to see a situation from the other person’s eyes. You might still hold the same opinion as before (I sure did), but allowing yourself a momentary look into someone else’s actions creates space for gentle understanding. That softness allows any withheld bitterness to slowly melt away — so you’re left as you.


With your thoughts, your opinions, your truth, once again.

That’s self-empowerment.

TLDR: Be honest, be nice, stand up for yourself, and breathe. Other people’s shit is not your shit. Know it, understand it, move through it.