Are you an enabler or are you an empower-er?
Empowering teaches someone how to do something.
Enabling does it for them.
Each generation tries to make life just a little bit easier on their children. Our grandparents tried to make our parent’s lives better than what our grandparents had; our parents tried to give us more than what they had; and we often want to make our children’s lives easier than ours was. It all begins with a well-intentioned desire to help. Unfortunately, this help has come in the form of enabling and we have arrived at a generation of entitlement. When someone does something to hurt our children, the parents run to their defense and rather than allowing them to learn lessons from the experience, they are taught that they are a victim of life and other people’s actions, which shows them that they do not have to be accountable for their behavior because what happens TO them is always someone else’s fault.
Empowering teaches that there are consequences to actions and choices.
Enabling often eliminates the consequences of one’s behavior.
Remember that if anyone does not take advantage of the opportunities to learn lessons as they come, they will get another chance. And another, and another, and another. If they continue to ignore those experiences, the later opportunities are often much more severe. It is often less traumatic for a child to learn a lesson at age 10 than at age 20, or at 18 than at 30.
Enabling occurs with more than just children. We can enable employees, bosses, friends, siblings, spouses, and even parents.
Empowering creates independence.
Enabling creates dependence.
Any situation in which you have the choice to empower or enable is an opportunity to learn lessons and to Heal. If you are fixing the problem for the person, you are denying them the opportunity to learn the lessons they were meant to learn from the situation, which means that they WILL get another chance.
Empowering is helping someone through the experience
while allowing them to take responsibility for his or her situation.
Enabling attempts to ease the circumstances for them
and you often end up taking the responsibility on yourself.
Because you are the one accepting responsibility for taking care of them, enabling often creates resentment, regret, frustration, etc. because they now expect you to bail them out, solve their problems, or do it for them. Enabling means you have not given them the opportunity to do it themselves.
Empowering allows others to be accountable for their life.
Enabling puts the accountability for their life on you.
Enabling: when helping isn’t necessarily what's best.
When you have a choice to help someone, decide if you are going to empower or enable. Ask yourself,
“Is what I’m doing keeping the person stuck in the negativity of life or is it helping him/her make his/her life better?”