Do you often feel like you’ve given yourself away? Do you nurture others to the point that you neglect your own needs at times? Or perhaps you listen and accept how others describe you? This can lead to negative, and even false, self-talk, but there’s power in defining your own self, and there’s a balance that can be maintained between nurturing others’ emotional well-being and nurturing your own. However, it takes focus, practice and time to train your mind to allow yourself the guilt-free permission to stop the rest of the world, if even just for a moment, and take back your power.

We can often feel our personal energy tank being drained—from everyday tasks to taking care of our family to fulfilling others’ needs—and we may feel guilty or even selfish for taking care of ourselves first. That guilt is an emotion we can perpetuate in our mind, in our own self-talk, and it often speaks untruths to us. Here’s a truth worth telling yourself: you can take back your personal power. One of the best ways to do this is through strengthening your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the term used to describe a set of competencies, including personal power, which frame our ability to be aware of our emotions and use them as information to make better choices about our thoughts and behaviors. It’s a fancy term for managing your “self” in the most effective way, given the direct situation. It’s a genuine way of empowering yourself as a woman, and it can stay with you for a lifetime.

Personal power contains self-confidence and the inner strength of knowing you can handle any situation or challenge. It gives you the courage to live the life you choose and to speak your truth. Here are some ways you can strengthen this competency.

Create a success log.Make and keep a list of your successes and what emotions you had in the moment of each success. The point is to recognize how powerful you really are and acknowledge the moments in which you shine.

Acknowledge that when you say “yes” to someone or something out of obligation, you are saying “no” to someone or something else.What is your true priority? If you say “yes” to someone else, are you saying “no” to yourself? If so, stop and realize that you are more important than anyone in your life (except perhaps your children, and only in certain moments). Define your needs and what’s important to you first; what do you value? Then you can move toward where your true priorities lie.

Set boundaries around what is acceptable to you. You can teach others how to treat you. Sometimes they may not want to change, but you can.

Practice self-compassion.Take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Close your eyes and quiet your mind. When you picture yourself at your most relaxed, what do you picture? Do that. If you can’t do it because of a limited budget, take a warm bath and think only positive thoughts, or write yourself a “love” letter including what you’re most grateful for about yourself. Remember, you’re still learning how to care for yourself, so be patient with yourself. Don’t fret over the past; it’s gone. You have the choice to define your life and mindset for your future.

Positive Affirmation.Pick three of your most positive attributes—the ones that make you smile when you think of them, e.g. smart, kind, great dancer, influential teacher. Write these on a sticky note and add the words “capable” and “important”. Put this sticky note on your bathroom mirror, so you see it a few times a day. Read it, speak it (out loud or in a whisper) and picture it in your mind when you are outside of this room.

Always remember: you are on this Earth for a reason, to serve a purpose. You deserve the power with which you were born, you have the capability to release it and you have the permission to choose it. Speak kindly to yourself and say “yes” to your power.

Paige Dest is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach and Core Values Index Practitioner and the owner of BYODestiny—through which she provides emotional intelligence coaching to individuals and presents retreats, workshops and national webinars on emotional intelligence and happiness topics. She is also the founder of The Flutter Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit that supports programs which give our youth better emotional control. Dest will be hosting an Emotional Empowerment Retreat on July 6, on Enders Island in Mystic. Connect at, or purchase tickets at