Any place you point the finger OUTWARDS to explain a situation, you are being disempowered.
For a long time, the conversation around empowerment and human rights continued on an external stage: more rights, more laws, more protests, more loudness.
And for a while, a few centuries maybe, that was powerful.
Today though, I see the potency for change coming from a different place — your inner world.
In the Arab world, just like other places in the world where a “conservative” culture dominates, most women have adopted a worldview that strips them of autonomy, independence, and freedom.
But notice my choice of words: “WORLDVIEW.” It is our worldview, and not “the world” that has stripped us of these basic soul rights.
As an Arab woman, something deep in my soul and DNA calls for liberation. The “you’re already free” response no longer resonates, for as long as all my sisters are not free, and as long as I am not TOTALLY free, then freedom remains just a dream.
That’s why I’ve gathered some of the main blocks I’ve observed through life and coaching, standing in the way between us and our empowerment — and they’re probably not what you expect.
And instead of just pointing to the poisoned well, what I’d like to do is guide you 4 steps upwards towards a greater sense of empowerment.
However, taking these steps will also mean taking FULL RESPONSIBILITY for your empowerment, and recognizing that anywhere you are pointing the finger outwards, you are playing victim in a story where you are meant to be the HEROINE.
- Your Relationship to Yourself.
The first thing to unpack here is how you relate to your inner knowing and intuition. In order to be empowered, you need to be a leader in your own life. To trust your choices.
Being used to the employee/employer, parents/child, government/citizens, and other models that make you dependent on external authority means you’ve been trained for anything BUT self-authority.
Literally, you’ve been trained to doubt every bit of your inner knowing and always seek outside for answers, direction, instructions, and a life structure in general.
When you start to tune in to your inner world, you’ll realize all that you’re looking for is already there.
If you don’t believe me, test this. Start journaling tonight, but not like you usually do. Ask yourself BIG questions, and see what kind of answers come through you. Get out of your way. Receive the knowing.
2. Your Relationship to Your Father.
This one is BIG, and it’s bigger than it sounds. Your relationship to your father, is not a relationship “between YOU and YOUR FATHER.” It is a relationship built over two thousand years. It is the relationship you have, as a woman, to the patriarchy.
Patriarchy literally means “the rule of the father” and it comes from the greek word patriarkhēs, which means “father of a race.” And literally, when patriarchy was born, it birthed a new human race that was kept alive through this ideology of rule by the father.
At the expense of who? The mothers. The daughters. The sisters. And all their inner knowing and power.
I am not saying men are bad and women are victims in this. No. I am lucky enough to have an extremely empowering and conscious man as a partner who has showed and proven to me that THERE IS ANOTHER WAY.
I am pointing to the patriarchy so that we may be more self-aware of the social contract’s we’ve unconsciously signed up for.
What I am saying is to QUESTION the power dynamics within that first relationship you had to the first masculine figure in your life. Even if there was sweetness and loving, odds are, if you’re a woman: there was control. Emotional. Idealogical. Geographical. And more.
Domination of the dads is not the god-sent bible for your existence. It is a system women accepted, and still accept.
Thousands of years ago, matriarchies ruled the Earth (if this interests you, read Elizabeth Gould’s book The First Sex — a must read for all women). All this to say, it has not always been so. And will not always stand the same.
Question your own relationship to your father. To the patriarchy.
Discover where exactly in your life this relationship disempowers you, strips you of your voice, or power. Limits your choices. Dictates your being in the world, whether by force or emotional harassment.
Begin to notice the fear you hold deep in your gut of disobeying, angering, or provoking your father’s ego. This fear is lodged deep in your DNA. Remember, thousands of years.
Notice the fear you hold of being and expressing your deepest truths. Your sexual desires, although these are god-sent. Your longings and knowings. And notice where he reacts, and where these reactions come not from him, but from this deep-seated and misguided lineage.
I don’t hold much fear in my field, but I’ve noticed that if there’s ONE place I still don’t feel completely empowered, it’s right here.
Had that not been true, I would be renting my own place and living alone. I wouldn’t question my desire to truly express, privately and publicly how deeply I stand for freedom on all levels. I wouldn’t be hiding. I would know that no matter what is triggered, I am safe.
And yet, in my cells I carry that imprint still; that to provoke the patriarch threatens a deep part in me. It is to look danger in the eyes. And here, I am still building the courage to do that.
Sometimes, it’s there. Something explodes, and I can stand for my truth. Others, I just retreat.
My hope is that some day, soon, I will be able to do that unapologetically — and also, with love. Begin by placing BOUNDARIES, and then … FORGIVE the patriarchy, and continue building towards a more empowered relationship between feminine and masculine in our world.
Take a deep breathe, this is deep work we are doing.
3. Your Relationship to the Unknown.
As we branch towards a new world of empowerment and creativity, we are branching towards the unknown.
Who knows what will come out of this. Who knows where these truths will lead. But looking towards history (I studied International History at Columbia University and the LSE), I remember Marguerite Mead’s infamous quote:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Change comes right out of the unknown. And beauty comes right of there too. And cultural and social upgrades come out of there too.
But instead, your attachment to comfort kills that possibility. You do not risk the unknown. You cannot risk uncertainty.
Because you believe it is scary. It is dangerous.
But what if what is waiting for you there is more beautiful than anything you could have ever imagined?
What if the unknown was the gateway to your utopia?
4. Your Relationship to Money
Most in the Arab world have grown up to believe that IF you’re lucky, you do all the right things, and everything goes according to plan, you will
1) get into the right universities, and
2) land a good/great job.
For the majority of people I’ve met, that’s “dreaming big.”
From there, you will work five days a week, eight hours a day, earning a consistent paycheck that barely covers your living costs. In Jordan specifically, even if you had the most incredible job, maybe making $1,500 a month, what you’ll be able to pay for at the end of the month is this: rent, food, and MAYBE, fuel for your car. Barely. And again, this is the highest salary range you can expect in your twenties.
Because of that, if you stick to that system you’ll probably be dependent on your parents forever.
They’ll pay for your car, your wedding, your new house. And if you don’t have a wealthy family, well…good luck.
By paying, they also get to tell you how to live your life — isn’t that their right?
So…is this a good queue for financial empowerment?
I went from having a consisting day job, to working in an eco-conscious kindergarten, to tutoring, to running workshops, and now running many programs, online and offline. Throughout that journey, I realized that everything I previously believed and had learned about money was WRONG.
I made more money working in a KINDERGARTEN than I did working for the job I’d worked my butt off studying for 3 Masters degrees to get in government.
I made more tutoring 8 hours a week than I did working 40 hour-weeks.
Everything I thought was “fact” was, in fact, fiction.
And with this entrepreneurial journey I took towards financial liberation (still on my way) came A LOT of learning…and a deep feeling of freedom I never had when I had a job.
I realized you cannot truly be free if you’re a financial slave to someone else.
When I started doing clearing and healing money beliefs, I discovered the highest VALUE I held for money was: FREEDOM. At the core, that’s what money meant to me, and that’s what I was denying myself.
Finding out what money means for you is the first step in this financial empowerment process. Not what it means to your parents, or your grand-parents, or your boss, but to you.
Maybe for you, money is ENJOYMENT. Or EVOLUTION. Or GENEROSITY.
Find your own relationship to her.
(Yes, I said “her.” If you want to learn more about that read the book “Love Money, Money Loves You.” Me and Ehab really enjoyed it)
Before the conscious healing through this block, to me, money was evil, corrupt, unnecessary, disgusting. It ruined families, it was inconsistent, made people depressed, and one million other discouraging things. And those beliefs reflected themselves in the not so charming $1,000 income I received at the end of every month.
From that place, I remained needy, dependent on my parents to help with tickets as I traveled for courses and trainings. I was contained, rarely considering what I truly wanted to do, and usually looking towards what I could afford. I was always trying to save money. And behind all those choices, I just couldn’t really feel I was independent.
I felt not ready to make a bold move.
My car was my parent’s. My room was my parent’s. My clothes were paid for by my parent’s. My education, my parents. My laptop, my parents. Everything was theirs.
Independence starts with building new worldviews and trusting your inner voice. But the TRUE liberation, where manifesting your independence becomes more than just an idea, is in your FINANCIAL independence.
In having that ground being solid enough that no matter what choices you make, you are FREE to make them.
If freedom is a priority for you, then entrepreneurship is THE MOST IMPORTANT skill you can learn.
Let them take the car. The room. The clothes. The laptop. Let them take everything they ever gave you. And you will still have yourself.
That is the ground we must build.
I never thought I would enjoy learning the Business (in college, I avoided the “requirement” to take math and economics courses and instead took an epic course on Dinosaurs), but these days I am noticing a deep passion in learning Business and expanding my soul empire.
Because that’s what it will take to be a truly empowered woman. To have your own soul empire.
And from that ground, you will learn to love your family and supporters more authentically, as their support will come through generosity, not neediness, or slavery. It will bring you joy and appreciation, and not dependence.
So learn to depend on yourself, your inner voice. Your own inner ruler. And let go, dive into the unknown for a little while. Build your soul empire from there.
As my inspiring friend Safia always says, “it’s now the time.”
If you enjoyed this article, leave your comments as we’d love to hear from you and please share the article with any women who might enjoy also it. And if you’re interested to go deeper, you have a few more days to apply for my new program “AWAKENED WOMAN.”