One of the most popular quotes that you’ll hear is “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We’re not going to discuss the origin of the quote (which is debated, although typically given to Albert Einstein) or the exact formation of the words in the quote (which are slightly different depending on who says it or where it may be written), but we are going to discuss the meaning and how it relates to empowering yourself. There are things that we do in our lives over and over because they feel comfortable, they feel safe and they keep us from having to go outside of our comfort zones. Some of these things also result in keeping ourselves from making progress in this world and stripping us of our own personal power. For me, that is where the definition of insanity lies. Insanity is when you’d rather continue putting yourself in the same situation over and over again even when it is not helping you or anyone else.
We see examples of this all over, so let’s start with dating. Let’s say that you are looking for a super stable guy with a good job, a good means of transportation, a great sense of humor, loves books and has a fantastic connection with his family. Every weekend you get dressed up after hanging out with the girls and go the club at 1AM, but you’re still not meeting that guy. Please understand that I’m not saying that you can’t meet Mr. Right at the club at 1AM, but if it’s not working for you, try something else! Think about where this guy might hang out or what he might do. If you want a guy who loves books, join a book club for singles. If you are looking for someone who loves to dance, go to open dance classes where no one brings a partner. This will absolutely take you out of your comfort zone, but you might just find what you’re looking for – even if it’s just some additional confidence. Confidence is attractive!
Sometimes changing things up is really a matter of trying to change your own behavior. For example, one of the things that I hear a lot from people as their children reach their teenage years and adulthood is that they have trouble connecting. Some of that is hormonal, but some of it is that they are truly becoming/have become different people. Maybe they don’t want advice, they just want you to listen. Maybe they want some space, but for you to remind them that you’re always there. Maybe they want you to offer to spend the day with them and not talk about anything that has been an issue. Think hard about the relationships that you have and try to pick out what YOU are doing to contribute to the insanity. What is it that you are doing over and over that keeps the two of you from finding a way to each other? I’m not saying that the other person is perfect by any means, but sometimes it’s about taking some baby steps in a different direction in order to stop feeling that you are banging your head against a wall. If your head or the wall aren’t in the same places that they were, it might not hurt quite as much.
As far as I’m concerned, the definition of insanity is near the opposite of that of empowerment. Empowerment is about doing things that truly benefit you – and hopefully those closest to you – in the long term. Empowerment is about recognizing what may be physically or psychologically unhealthy and making those small steps to change yourself and your world for the better. What are you going to do this week to empower yourself? I’d love to know!