The Power Within


 by Leonie Eastment

One of the most positively empowering things a person can do is to embrace the words “I Matter!” at a deep level.

There are many issues which emerge and combine in pressing and life-threatening ways when employment becomes scarce. Having a safe home can be one such issue. Unfortunately, there is a direct and significant correlation between female unemployment and increased risk of intimate partner violence. 

Anderberg et al (2013) found that most men were not affected by unemployment in the same way as women. While unemployed women were more likely to experience–and stay–in an abusive relationship, unemployed men were more likely to suppress any personal tendencies to exhibit violent abusive behaviour.

Other negative pressures impacting on many unemployed women and men include reduced life satisfaction; reduced happiness; and increased suicidal ideation.  Not insignificant matters by any means. 

Kotsu et al (2011) found that enhanced emotional intelligence skills can help moderate the intense negative feelings experienced by many unemployed people. Increased social networking abilities can help restructure the day positively and lessen the effect of lower social & financial status. These strategies can also improve outcomes in terms of reducing suicidal completion. 

At no time do these studies suggest that the individual is responsible for the social and economic structural inequalities which create these life-limiting systemic problems.  If however, we want to empower people to overcome–or negotiate through–the systemic obstacles, it is clear that it is essential to involve and include them in the change-making.

They need to be armed with extra self-awareness skills and self-regulation skills for the extraordinary times ahead. Activating this ‘power within’ is not just a personal psychological journey recommended by Western science. It is a transforming journey that has been encouraged for thousands of years by most religions and also by Martial arts masters.

One of the most positively empowering things a person can do is to embrace the words “I Matter!” at a deep level. It is a philosophy to guide and to lean upon—a support to take into battle for fairness and safety.

I Matter Ltd is also the name of an Australian non-profit Foundation, currently operating in Melbourne and hoping to branch out to Western Australia in the near future. I Matter Ltd is dedicated to providing free personalised training to those recovering from domestic violence or coping with mental health distress.

You do matter to a great many people—some who don’t even know you–and by donations and grants from them, it is possible to see how to express that, to protect yourself and others, through a ten week course, designed with you, to increase your personal safety.

“Improvements in self-esteem (Fuller, 1988), a more positive response to physical challenge (Richard and Rehberg, 1986; Trulson, 1986), greater autonomy (Duthie, 1978), emotional stability and assertiveness (Konzak and Boudreau, 1984) and reductions in anxiety and depression (Cai, 2000) have all been associated with martial arts training.”

These benefits have also been seen in shorter trainings which focussed on self-protection techniques or personal safety education.   

“Additionally, self-defense has been empirically proven to decrease a number of psychological attributes that are associated with victimization (Brecklin, 2008; Ozer & Bandura 1990; Sochting, Fairbrother & Koch, 2004; Ullman, 2007).”

“Various federal U.S. institutes, grant-makers and departments recommend that people at high risk for violence practice PSE (personal safety education). In a recent report commissioned by the National Institute of Justice, researchers examined various types of assault against women. They found that certain actions reduce the risk of rape more than 80 percent compared to non-resistance and did not significantly increase the risk of serious injury to the defender (Kleck & Tark, 2005).” Check out I Matter Ltd and keep tabs on the programmes evolving there and how you can help and benefit.



 1 Anderberg D, Rainer H, Wadsworth J, Wilson T “Unemployment & domestic violence: Theory & evidence” Center for Economic Performance Discussion Paper No: 1230 July 2013 London School of Economics & Political Science.
2 Extramera, Natalio & Rey, Lourdes “Attenuating the negative impact of unemployment: The interactive effect of perceived emotional intelligence and well-being on suicide risk.” Sept 29, 2016 PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0163656.
3 Kotsou I, Gregoire J, Nelis D, Mikolajczak M. Emotional plasticity: conditions and effects of improving emotional competence in adulthood. Journal of Applied Psychology 2011; 96: 827–839. doi: 10.1037/ a0023047 PMID: 21443316.
4 Franzway S, Zufferey C & Chung D “Domestic violence and women’s employment” South Australian Office for Women.
5 Macarie I-C, Roberts R “Mental health and martial arts” Contemporary Psychotherapy Journal ,
6 Brecklin, L.R. (2008). Evaluation outcomes of self-defense training for women: A review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 13, 60-76.
7 Hollander, J.A. (2004). ‘I can take care of myself’: The impact of self-defense training on women’s lives. Violence Against Women, 10(3), 205-235.
8 Mattingly K “ Self defense efficacy research—A Bibliography” University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 2013.

Subscribe to Conscious Living to help you thrive in body mind and soul!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.