We think that we know what empowerment is. We certainly know how it feels. And we’re pretty sure we know what it looks like.

I started to write a blog to describe and define empowerment but I found it very difficult to do in a way that would make sense to you.

You see, I’m one of those women who knows it when I feel it.

But I think I can reveal my thoughts about it through examples.

From time to time, I’m going to provide a blog with a story about empowerment.

Today is one of those times.

I had a conversation with my chiropractor yesterday about Obamacare and personal responsibility for your own well-being.

It all began while I was just sitting there on that funky chair/bed thing he has in his office after the treatment. He was giving me kudos for coming back to see him even though my recent eruption of sciatica had all but disappeared. I was silently congratulating myself about the compliment he gave me.

He said, “I wish more people were like you.” (Big inside smile and positive self-talk, “Yay! I feel like I got an “A!”) “I wish more people would come in for maintenance and periodic adjustments so that they don’t get to the point where they need to come to see me.”

At that point, we were sympatico. I continued my inside smile which was maybe showing up on the outside too.

Then he hit me with the bomb: “That’s the problem with Obamacare.” (What?!?! Aren’t you supposed to stay away from politics with your patients and clients, especially those that you barely know?…Really, Noooooo! Don’t do it! Don’t go there!)

I awoke from my A-student daze and gazed up at him. Apparently he confused my inside terror with a welcoming, tell-me-more vibe, because he told me more.

I have to admit; I was a little anxious at this point. (Please don’t go there. I like you. You just complimented me. Don’t say it! I don’t want to have to find a new chiropractor!)

He started with, “Now with Obamacare that covers everything…” (noticing my anxiety increasing) Then he fixed it: “People wait until they are in pain and then go to their regular doctors for meds, tests and ultimately, surgery. If they would come to their chiropractors on a maintenance schedule, they probably wouldn’t get to the point where they even need the meds, tests, and surgery.” (OK: now we’re on to something. I deftly pivoted away from the politics.)

I said, “Well, it’s all about personal responsibility, isn’t it. I deal with a very similar situation as a parenting time mediator (and also as a breakup/divorce coach). Too many people would rather wait until the problem is too big and out of their hands, spending exorbitant amounts of money and time, and leaving their fate to a judge. When I remind them that if they choose to effectively communicate with their “ex,” facilitated by a mediator and/or coach, and work to directly negotiate their desired outcome for themselves, they avoid spending their lives, their energy, their money, their health, and their well-being tied up with someone that they are trying to remove from their lives, which is exactly what happens when people wait until they are in pain.

So even though my chiropractor teetered on the edge of political correctness, we were really on the same page. (Sigh of relief!)

When dealing with a brewing problem, something that’s a bit of a pain, you have a choice: you can intervene at that point and manage it with the least amount of resources (like a couple of chiropractic manipulations, biweekly healing massage, and a few minutes of daily yoga stretches)(or) (like schedule couples’ counselling, engage a personal success coach for yourself, hire a mediator early on for a few hundred bucks to help both of you facilitate a desirable and relatively amicable ending, which means less cost and quicker results overall) or you can do nothing, tell yourself you don’t have time to deal with it right now, blame anything and everyone but yourself, try to ignore it, continue to be pissed at your ex, and end up resenting your them for whatever they did to you, and maybe even lying on a gurney awaiting an emergency discectomy.

Taking personal responsibility and addressing the issue head on is easier, quicker and significantly less expensive than waiting until it’s full blown, really painful and requires surgical excision with a long post-op recovery period.

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