As we wrestle with life’s challenges, gain new awareness, and learn more about ourselves, words can take on new, deeper meanings. Words like forgiveness, love, boundaries, and joy, become attached to personal experiences that make them rich and meaningful.
Mary Cox Garner, author of The Hidden Souls of Words: Keys to Transformation Through the Power of Words, says words can stimulate us to make powerful transformations in our lives if we let them. These five words have empowered and transformed mine. My hope is that they will inspire you to identify the five words that have empowered and transformed you.
Empowerment Word #1: No. Of all the words in the English language, you might be surprised that the first, most empowering word for me as a woman is two simple letters. Learning to say no was a huge step in overcoming my internal good girl and claiming my boundaries as an adult woman.
Empowerment Word #2: Yes. When your No really means No, then your Yes can really mean Yes. That’s when yes has power. The idea of yes comes in many forms. All right, Okay, Sure, Why not?, No problem, Of course, Agreed, and Fair enough all communicate the essence of yes. Yes is life-affirming. Yes is people-affirming. Oh yes!
Empowerment Word #3: Choice. Another common word, but one we often skim right over and take for granted. Choice means you have the freedom to decide what’s best for you among options. On a national level, it’s nothing less than miraculous to live in the United States where the freedom of choice is a birthright. On a personal level, it’s incredibly empowering to recognize and act on the notion that indeed, no matter what, you DO have a choice! No matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, each and every one of us can respond yes, no, or anywhere in between.
Empowerment Word #4: Woman. If you are a female over the age of 18, I know this news is going to blow you away: You are no longer a girl. You are an adult woman! You might be a scared woman, a worried woman, or an insecure woman at times, but you’re still a woman. You might also be a confident woman, an authentic woman, a loving woman, and a Bodacious Woman. Thinking of yourself as a girl only diminishes your personal power.
Empowerment Word #5: Bodacious. I never expected the word bodacious would become the word that represents my personal tipping point in my journey of being an empowered woman. In the midst of constant pressure to perform, dealing with a difficult marriage, and hitting the glass ceiling, being bodacious became a personal rallying cry during my ten years at America Online. Today, bodacious still gives me courage to make choices, small and large, that are good for me. Being bodacious gives me the courage to take risks. And on hard days, being bodacious gives me the courage to put one foot in front of the other.