The following ‘dimensions of personal empowerment’ are based on the belief that the greater the range of coping responses an individual develops, the greater their chance of coping effectively with diverse life situations. These dimensions are:
Self-awareness involves understanding our individual character and how we are likely to respond to situations. This enables us to build on our positive qualities and be aware of any negative traits which may reduce our effectiveness. Self-aware people make conscious decisions to enhance their lives whenever possible, learning from past experiences.
Values are opinions or beliefs that are important to us but of which we are not always aware. They can be any kind of belief or perceived obligation, anything we prefer and for any reason. The reasons we may prefer one thing over another, or choose one course of action over another, may not always be obvious or known; there may be no apparent reason for our values. Nevertheless our values are important to us as individuals. In order to be self-aware it is necessary to be aware of our values, to critically examine them and to accept that our values may be different from those of others.
An individual’s skills are the main resource which enables them to achieve their desired goals. Skills can be gained through experience, practice, education and training. It is only by developing such skills that individual values can be translated into action.
Knowledge or information is necessary in the development of self-awareness and skills. It is an essential skill in itself to know where to find appropriate information. Without information, the choices open to people are limited, both in their personal and working lives. The internet has provided an easy way for everybody to access huge amounts of information very quickly and easily. The problem is then centered around the quality of the information found, and the skill set is concerned with finding accurate and reliable information.
Setting goals is a means by which an individual can take charge of his/her life. The process of setting a goal involves people thinking about their values and the direction that they would like their lives to follow. Choices are made through reflection followed by action. Goals should always be both specific and realistic. Setting personal goals gives us a sense of direction in life, this direction is essential to personal empowerment.