Empowerment means that you can be yourself and develop your own potentials. Empowerment is a development which comes from within, recognizing your whole being.

We are used to look mainly at the ‘outside’ of a person; at his behaviors, his competences, his appearance, etc.  When we see something which is not according to our expectations, we try to fix it. By doing this, we ignore the fact that personal growth and development doesn’t come by fixing or changing the ‘outside’, but that we have to help the person grow from inside out; develop his inner qualities and potentials.


Every human being has in his center personal qualities, potentials and dreams. If he is able to develop these in a balanced way, he will become a strong personality who stands firm in life. There will be a good cohesion between his personal potentials and dreams, his social emotional strength, his intellectual strength and his competences and actions. Al these aspects will be connected with each other and the person will experience inner cohesion.


The seed wants to become a plant

A seed has the intention to become a plant. It needs good soil, and water, sunlight and fertilizer. Also the talents and potentials of an individual have the intention to develop, and they to need good soil. The soils for human development is feeling safe, loved and connected with others and feeling included in a safe and caring community. And then, instead of water, sunlight and fertilizer, we can use our insights and skills to help the person develop his own talents and potentials.  



There may however also be vulnerabilities which obstruct a balanced development and which obstruct a good cohesion between the different aspects.  These vulnerabilities can be congenital, like an intellectual disability or autism, they can be develop later in life, like a brain injury, a mental illness or Alzheimer, or caused by traumatic life experiences.


When the vulnerability is congenital, the unbalanced growth may start from birth and there is no good cohesion from the beginning.  When they are developed later in life, you often see a decreased of intellectual and/or emotional strength and the original cohesion may get lost.


‘A chain is as strong as its weakest link’. This old saying is also true for individuals. The weakest aspect of a person, determines his actual strength.  And often his emotional strength or his personal vulnerabilities are the weakest aspects.


When we only look at the outside, we can see many skills and competences, which can be developed by training programs and at school. But when is emotional strength is fragile, he can only perform well when he feels good. When he feels emotionally stressed, his performances will most likely decrease.


If we are not aware of the fragile emotional strength of the person, we can easily overestimate him. We expect more than he actually can, and we cause stress and frustration. That’s why it’s important not only to look at the outside, the performances of a person, but to look at all the aspects within the person; his intellectual strength, his emotional strength and above all his vulnerabilities, which often are the weakest link of the chain.


This way of looking at people has two effects.

First, by looking deeper into the person, we can see what the weakest link is and what the real problem underneath the behavior is. This will motivate us to help the person dealing with his problems, instead of trying to change the behavior.


Second  we see that we can never really help the person develop his own talents and potentials, when we are only working on the outside.  As long as, in his heart, he still is weak and as long as he doesn’t allow us to help him on that level, it would be like blowing up a balloon; when we blow it up to much, it will shatter.


So we have to reach him at his heart. Only then he can become strong by himself and he can develop his talents and potentials and he will be a person with inner cohesion.

This doesn’t mean that developing skills and competences isn’t useful. Of course it’s good when a person can cope with daily life. But this development should always go hand in hand with a string focus on teaching the person the feeling of companionship.

(see also the page on competence development)