Exclusive Alicia Keys Blog: What It Means to Be Empowered

The iVillage Guest Editor writes exclusively about how the women in her life -- including her mom, best friend Erika Rose and Michelle Obama -- make a difference in her world

As a woman, mother, and artist, I am blessed to have many incredible women around me that empower me every day of my life. As I look back and reflect on the ways we are all supportive of each other, I realize how fortunate I am to have a place to go when I need wisdom and encouragement.

When my son Egypt was born, I felt such incredible joy and happiness -- I was over the moon with a new kind of love I'd never known. I'm honored to have him in my life. But suddenly, I missed my beautiful Nana (who died in 2009) more than ever! She was my pillar of strength when my soul needed advice. I had all these new questions that I knew she would have the perfect answers for, but I had to now listen to her voice in my heart. I found a certain constant in these moments: change is ever-present, and the power of relationships is irreplaceable.

For me, my best friend and sister, Erika Rose, has reminded me what it means to "be there." She's been beyond a trusted friend and advisor my whole life, and when I don't know the answer, she does. She helps me measure life and choices with the right amount of intelligence and heart and through all the highs and lows, she's helped me to grow from every experience and encouraged me to become a woman in charge of my life. People like this don't come around every day!!

My mother has also been a woman of such strength in my life and so much of what she's taught me, I carry with me everywhere I go. As a young child, she reminded me to believe in myself and the power of my dreams. She showed me so much just by the way she lives her life in such bold colors! I can't thank her enough for igniting me at such a young age and being a part of my journey every step of the way. Even when she's not with me, her words always are, her actions are, her strength is. I wouldn't be anywhere near the woman I am without her example and her fortitude.

I find it so fortifying to identify the people in our lives that we call on to help us find ourselves -- the ones who bring perspective to this crazy, upside-down world.

We're lucky to live in a time where we can find inspiration in women that have made a difference in the world. I have found empowerment in women like Michelle Obama (pictured), Oprah, and Maya Angelou -- just reading a simple quote by them can be enough to give me the wings to fly through the day. The most interesting thing about life is that we all have an opportunity to start over. I have learned that "tomorrow" is more than just another day -- it's a fresh start, a chance to do things better than we did the day before. These brilliant women in my life have empowered me to trust myself, believe in my judgment, find inspiration, listen to my heart and make each day count. And they have made all the difference in my life.

To be empowered to me means finding our own way every day-- learning more about ourselves so we can be honest and bold in our choices and actions, and not let anyone deafen the voice that whispers within us to help us find our direction. Trust yourself! No one knows you better than you and it's truly a beautiful thing!

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