In measuring empowerment, often times the product of our mental activity in relation to retrieving such a concept yields promoting a sense of self-actualization, or the attempt at enabling oneself; be it in increasing educational, gender, economic, or the spiritual strength within societal institutions. Yet, little do individuals come to realize that empowerment itself denotes a much more profound reality. Liberating oneself from the under-the-table oppression and injustices existing within modern day society is a separate and more advanced calibre of empowerment.

In discussing dimensions of empowerment, there is one that—more often than not—goes unnoticed: empowering oneself from within. We must ask ourselves this mildly arduous question: How do we empower ourselves in the context of the external world, when we—internally, are slaves and prisoners to our own negativity, the acknowledgment, admission, and approval of others? Struggle to empower and unbound those shackled chains that you so ardently protest against for others. “Don’t you dare shrink yourself for someone else’s comfort” Allow yourself to learn about who you are and learn through trial and error what you love to do. Do not give a single individual permission to delude you into thinking and believing that you are meant to do what they see you doing.

The ANNISAA (An-Nisaa meaning “The Women” in Arabic) Organization of Canada assists in the development of an internal sense of belonging. It supports Muslim and non-Muslim women personally and individually, by encouraging and implementing a myriad of interests, and services, and resolving delicate concerns. The ANNISAA Organization of Canada targets the stem of a woman’s internal struggle; it empowers and promotes all areas of a woman’s livelihood by supporting truth and acceptance in what you as an individual hold dear and true to your heart. Having a doctorate, masters, or undergraduate degree is not a prerequisite necessary for the empowerment of the self. Listen to what your mind and heart that tells you what you love; so long as it is within the boundaries Allah has preordained for us as Muslim women. Do not belittle your talents, because Allah has given flair to each and every single one of us in ways that are unique to each individual. Just as each of our fingerprints are dissimilar, so too are our skills and abilities that are necessary in the development of a society. Let us empower ourselves by embracing these given inimitable talents! Trying to empower your community? Start in your backyard: weed out and implant a new and positive outlook on your diversity, internalize your own creativity, and then put it to the test by joining organizations like ANNISAA that accentuate your hidden capabilities.