b3e7_self_rescuingI have a T-Shirt that reads “Self Rescuing Princess”. I get a lot of comments on it – I wore it to Neushwanstein, and the guide complemented me on it; I wore it to a local gun show and one of the attendees expressed dismay at the missed opportunity to rescue me.

I regard both those comments fondly. I have no need to be rescued. I am a big girl. And I understand clearly the good in tensions behind both the people with the different agenda.  The female guide in Neushwanstein, while speaking of past Monarchies in fairy-tale Castles understood the irony in me wearing my self rescuing princess t-shirt.  I was empowered.   The gentleman at the gun show complimented me as someone he deemed worthy of rescue.

But there is a distinction between rescuing someone and empowering them – isn’t there? The idea of a rescue assumes that the person is in diminished capacity, and allows the rescuer to act magnanimously. Empowering someone recognizes the diminished capacity, but gives them the victory – not you.

So what’s better?

Of course, it depends on the situation. Some people need to be rescued; but very often we rescue people that merely need empowerment.  And sometimes, it  is a good thing to allow people to rescue you.  Not for you, but for them.  Sometimes, being rescued is allowing another o be empowered.

As a mother, I fully understand the need to rescue people – I want to do it all the time. Holding people accountable is so much harder than just empathizing with them, and “fixing” their ailments. Understanding that accountability allows for both growth and empowerment helps letting them be – letting them grow – empower them.