The Most Empowering Relationship

Posted by: Jonathan Delisle on July 5, 2024 10:47 am

We’ve all heard that life is tough.  People of every age and every creed can all agree on this one fact.  Life is fraught with challenges and let downs, sometimes taking the form of events, sometimes taking the form of people.  The good news is, they don’t determine what we will become or who we are.  This series of blog posts will focus on how to have truly empowering relationships through it all, rather than some whiny ode to why life sucks or why I’m not perfect.

The expression ‘No man is an island’ was coined by the English poet John Donne (1572-1631).  It is a belief he drew from his Christian faith, and one that is shared by Buddhism and other belief systems.  Its bare-boned meaning is that no one is self-sufficient, and so we need one another if we are to fully thrive to the fullness of our potential.  But what happens when there are those who should be part of that uplifting social network who get in the way of that fulfillment?  They single us out, isolate us, beat us down and suck the life-giving energy out of us.  What’s worse, sometimes we don’t recognize the unhealthy, disempowering dynamic until we start seeing the significant damage they leave in their wake.  Those relationships are what I call Goliaths.  To know more on that, you can check out my book “Facing Goliath: Breaking the Bullying Cycle”, available on Amazon Kindle.

The spectrum of empowering and disempowering relationships is wide.  Every relationship we have has its place somewhere on that spectrum, even the relationship we have with ourselves.  Ideally, we want to remain as close to empowering as we can.  The closer we get to the disempowering side, the more Goliaths we will meet.  Goliaths (in this case people) are individuals who try to empower themselves at our expense because they don’t know how to be truly empowered.  They seek to impose their ways and views for their selfish fulfillment.  Their tactics are based on fear and insecurity.  Though we should try to see the good in them and treat them according to their innate God-given dignity, we are under no obligation to keep them in our lives.  We do owe it to ourselves to establish and maintain boundaries that will keep them at a healthy distance physically, socially, and psychologically.

Our lives will flourish if we focus on building and maintaining empowering relationships in our lives.  Empowering relationships inspire you to greatness, lift you up when you’re down, catch you when you fall, tell you the truth in firm and gentle ways (even when it’s hard to hear).  Empowering relationships steer us away from the Dreaded Drama Triangle, towards what David Emerald calls The Empowerment Dynamic.  It is a dynamic in which every interaction seeks to empower us and others towards becoming the very best version of ourselves.

The most empowering relationship is the one that sees not only your strengths, but also the beauty in your scars.  It doesn’t judge you for that brokenness.  Rather, it sees those scars as a testimony to the resilience that carried you through the evils that inflicted them upon you.

The most empowering relationship sees your limits as an invitation to look after your well-being and, if in a position of authority, sees them as an opportunity to adapt their strategy to play to your strengths.  It may not be able to cater to every one of our needs, but it will present opportunities for us to heal and grow.

The most empowering relationship will always seek to inspire you to be the best version of yourself, helping you rise to greater heights, not in spite of past and present wounds, but because of them.

The following posts will look at different facets of empowering relationships in no specific order, like looking at the many facets of a diamond.  None can be without the others, and each brings unique beauty and integrity to the whole of the empowered person.  They will show not only what empowerment looks like, but also what it means for us as we strive to be empowered with ourselves and those who are part of our day-to-day life, whatever our vocation may be.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *