10 Words That Will Empower You

The great orators of history have no doubt shown us that the right words can inspire people and rally them to action. (Or empty out a movie theater with a simple “Fire”!) But what about rallying … yourself?

Maybe you give pep talks in the mirror in the morning. Or maybe you have an inspirational word or two tattooed on your arm. Either way, you know the words we use can impact us, and scientists have found this to be true. Optimism can be learned, and words can push you to embrace a more meaningful lifestyle.

So here we’ve got a list of 10 exemplary words to motivate you. Pick a word and let it revitalize you! There’s no telling what you’ll be able to accomplish.


First, think of a friend who puts in extra hours at their favorite charity. Maybe they work long, hard hours at a nonprofit job that doesn’t pay as much as it should.

That person is likely benevolent, and you can’t help but admire their selfless kindness. Dating back to the 1400s, this word is from the Latin benevolentia, which means “good feeling, good will, kindness.” If you dwell on this word, you’ll be inspired to do compassionate and philanthropic deeds.


The word empathy is derived from the Ancient Greek word empátheia, meaning “physical affection or passion.” An empathetic person is someone who can not only sympathize with you, but can deeply feel and understand what you’re going through. If one of your friends is empathetic, they’re definitely the one you call when you’re having a tough day because you know they’ll always say, “IFY.”

In fact, the term empath is used in science fiction to describe a person with a paranormal ability to comprehend others’ emotions, or even someone with psychic abilities. That’s pretty damn impressive, no? Respect.

Want to know the difference between empathy and sympathy? Here you go!


Do you tend to idolize those who are deeply passionate about what they do? That magnetic quality is known as ardor.

The word comes from the Latin ardere, meaning “to burn.” So, the next time you hear someone speak with particular enthusiasm, compliment them on their ardor. You’ll command the respect too due to your big vocabulary.

To find out more about why fans are so obsessive and whether or not they deserve the title of ardor … check out this article, “Real Fans Only.”


Have you ever met someone who refuses to back down when an obstacle presents itself? They’re probably tenacious, and if you’re on their good side, they’re probably one of your most loyal friends. This is definitely a quality to cultivate in your own life!

The word stems from the Latin ten?x, meaning “holding fast.”


Do you know anyone who can skydive, bungee jump, or speak in front of a massive crowd with ease? You’d probably describe them as being audacious. The word is ultimately derived from the Latin word aud?x, which means “daring.”


There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing someone create a goal and execute it with grace. The perfect word to describe this is efficacy. The term comes from the Latin effic?cia, meaning “efficacy or efficiency,” which stems from efficere, meaning “work out, accomplish.” The word effect shares this root word.

Psychologist Albert Bandura defined self-efficacy as a person’s belief in being able to accomplish a specific task, which can contribute to a person’s overall confidence.


Sure, you may be envious of (or annoyed at?) those who lead a seemingly easy life. How about the rags-to-riches stories, though? When someone is able to recover from setbacks, they’re resilient. The word comes from the Latin verb resil?re, meaning “to spring back.”

This term is also used in psychology to refer to those who recover from major traumas. However, you can use this word conversationally too to describe the obstacles you overcome, both large and small.


Do you have a friend who refuses to cheat at a game, even if they could get away with it and not get caught? They likely have more than their fair share of integrity, also known as “an adherence to moral and ethical principles,” and they keep it 100 for sure.

The word comes from the French intégrité or the Latin integritatem, meaning “soundness, wholeness, completeness.”


Have you ever met someone who always seems to put others’ needs before their own? There’s nothing like a person with a spirt of generosity. The term originates from the Latin gener?sus (“of noble birth”). The next time you give of your time or share what you have, appreciate your own generous spirit.


For our final word of self-improvement, we’ve chosen civility. Sometimes, there’s nothing that earns more respect than a person who can handle a matter cordially, no matter how tense the situation may be.

Think of a politician who can rise above the most contentious debate and still remain courteous to their opponent. Or even better, think of those angelic souls who can keep their cool debating family on social media (#goals). That, my friends, is civility.

Another step in embracing a new you is articulating those advanced emotions. Luckily, we have the guide to moving beyond “sad,” “glad,” and “mad.”

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