I think it goes two ways. While taking responsible for our own choices and directing our own life - in other words being in control of our own life - we also take responsibility to act in an empowering way towards others, that is not to control them.
I would say working in a self empowered way changes our state of consciousness so in that way they are related.
I think with outside forces it is both things within ourselves and other people. We can question ourselves to find out if we have done anything to create the situation and gain knowledge and change. But it is necessary to protect ourselves also from outside influences...the whole process of self empowerment is about that - if we are not controlling ourselves - someone else will be controlling us and what we get will not be what we want or need. This is one of the reasons that in Rogerian counselling for instance, the therapist never tells the client what they think the client should do. Rather they work on helping the client find the place within themselves which will give them the answer.
Yes, hateful people. You may have heard of the BNP here in the UK. Their history is of being friends with the KKK and being Nazi's. They are trying to change their image but almost certainly are just the same. They recently got 2 members elected to the European Parliament and are strongly disliked.
Now on a discussion program on issues of faith here they came up and a woman, who was not herself a counsellor, said that if one of them came to her for counselling she would refuse it. I thought blimey does she not know that that is the very thing likely to get him to change his views!! People who hate in this way have usually had no one acknowledge their pain and show unconditional warmth and acceptance of them. When they start to receive that, they start to give it back. When they find their own humanity, they recognise it in others.
(Of course hopefully no counsellor would be approving of KKK activities but they would still have warmth for the person they know is hiding underneath. Something counselling to some extent uniquelly allows.)