Once you have done the hard work to bring in self awareness, self acceptance, self discipline and self responsibility into your life, the next issue is how do we maintain that? How do we create a framework that will move us consistently forward in life and avoid the inevitable setbacks throwing us back into our previous dysfunctional thinking? I believe the answer lies in the following, the icing on the cake. It is the confident, realistic you moving through life. Consider the following:
Sometimes in life we need to set boundaries around people, even the people we love and sometimes around ourselves. The ability to set boundaries helps to define you as a person and how you want to be treated. When someone attempts to cross those boundaries, it is essential to hold and maintain them. This needs to be done in a confident, compassionate honest way without aggression and insult. Criticism will always be there. How you handle this will depend on the level of self assertiveness you have.
Self assertiveness is also having the ability to say no. Many people find it difficult to say no to another person. They fear saying no to requests or demands may give them the guilt feeling, make them feel selfish, disappoint others or ignite an argument with them. The urge you have to please or not to offend the other person’s feeling is usually the underlying reason you refrain yourself from saying no. You often want to be popular and looked upon favourably by others, so saying yes is the only way you know how to do it. Doing something you don’t want to brings resentment and damages a relationship.
Honesty And Integrity
Having genuine honesty and integrity is the bedrock of personal development and self esteem and defines the “how and why” of your value system. We are talking here about a positive, effective belief system that is in line with your realistic view of the world. I am mostly talking here about being honest with yourself, not denying your reality or listening to the critical voices in your head that would help you live a fantasy of who you should be. It is being authentic with all your desires, strengths, weaknesses and imperfections factored in. It is a pledge to show the genuine you to the world. It is also about emotional honesty. Being willing to express what you are feeling, to discuss to better relationships and to be transparent and open. Closely associated with honesty is integrity. Integrity means thinking and doing what is right at all times, doing the right thing, no matter what the consequences. When you have integrity, you are willing to live by your standards and beliefs even when no one is watching and you get no return from it.
A Purposeful Life
A life with purpose is the framework for living your life effectively. Have a goal and find the path to it. What can you do on a daily basis to move towards your purpose while sticking to your value system. Part of this was covered in the previous two items but there is more. It means among other things:
- You are authentic and take responsibility for your actions, thoughts and behavior. You know who you truly are in terms of values and principles. You consult the evidence and your conscience before doing anything and decide you are prepared to accept the consequences.
- You build authentic relationships that are mutually supportive and not based on necessity.
- You put your own needs first and do not sacrifice these for others.
- You are decisive and see failure as part of the process.
- Set standards and values for your life but accept others will have others.
- You are focussed in the present moment and do not allow the past or future to cloud your thinking.
- You consistently counter critical voices that overwhelm you.
- Most of all…you appreciate what and who you are.