Be True To Yourself
Be True To Yourself
Sometimes, we do things that others convince us to do against our own wishes. We go to movies that are more violent than we prefer or listen to off-color jokes. It is easier to go along than to defend what we believe. We put our judgment to one side in favor of another’s choice. We end up angry and disgusted with ourselves for not standing up to people. Discover this practical way to be true to yourself.
SHADES OF GRAY
Think about what you tolerate in your life that you would like to change. It is one thing to be tolerant of people, but what about people who frequently upset you or treat you with disrespect, or are rude? How do you handle them?
Example: You have an aunt. She likes to talk to you and complain about her ailments. You listen and offer a few suggestions, which she promptly ignores. You consider your conversations a sacrifice; something to do for a relative because you know she needs you and listening is not a big sacrifice. You choose to tolerant her.
Suppose she starts calling you every day and keeps you from important things. She has gone over your limit of comfortable sacrifice. She has overstepped your boundary. See Understand Your Human Rights, page 35. You are upset, annoyed and resentful. You tried to be nice and she has taken advantage of your good nature.
It’s time to say something. You might say, “I can’t talk to you so often. I’ll call you. I want to hear what’s happening in your life, but not right now.” You may need to keep repeating your statement until she understands that you are living your life and have certain rights.
If you do not address the situation, you will become more resentful. It will be heard in your voice and in your words. She will not know why you have suddenly become more reserved. Eventually, you will either say something that hurts her feelings, or you will find reasons to not talk to her at all. Everyone loses.
Look at each situation individually. Notice when you start to feel uncomfortable. You will know instinctively when someone has overstepped your boundaries. Look at the person’s intentions. Consider if this person is attacking you and pushing your buttons intentionally, or if this is a natural personality style and has nothing to do with you. He may be very needy.
Maybe this person is hurting and lashing out at you because you are available and he is under extreme stress. Consider what you are willing to put up with and when you reach the point that you say, “I don’t like this. I don’t want this to continue.” Although the other person is needy and hurting, stop the conversation when you begin to feel uncomfortable.
Think about the risks of confronting this person. Even if you speak politely, but firmly, will asking for respect drive the person away? Will that be a bad thing? If you need this person so badly that you are willing to allow consistent, inappropriate behavior, you need help. If you never approach the subject, you ruin the relationship because your attitude will change.
Have the courage to stand by your convictions.
“Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.”
WHAT ABOUT “SHOULDS?” Do you live up to your chosen standards of integrity or morality? When you make a decision, do you stick to it? Maybe you decide to lose ten pounds. You think you should lose the weight. You go out to dinner with friends and one of them decides to order a large slice of chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate ice cream on the side. You mention how good it looks, and everyone says “Go ahead and order it.” “But I’m on a diet. I should lose ten pounds,” you answer. They all say, “You can go back on your diet tomorrow. Enjoy yourself tonight.” You order the cake. When you said you should, you gave others permission to convince you to do something differently. You were not completely convinced that losing weight was what you wanted to do. It was what you should do.
Maybe you are totally convinced that losing ten pounds is what you are going to do. You are settled on that. When they say, “Order the cake, enjoy yourself,” you state with authority, “I am going to lose weight.” The determination in your voice lets them and you, know that you will lose the weight and will not order the cake.
Maybe you are convinced, but for some reason, you give in to their nagging. Now you feel guilty. You have let yourself down and have lost a little respect for yourself. When you allow others to determine how you live, what standards you live by, and they are not your standards, you damage your self-respect. Every time you override your personal standards, you take away some of your peace of mind and your self-worth. Living up to your personal standards may be difficult, but is always worthwhile. Surround yourself with people with similar choices. Treat them with the same respect you want from them. Encourage others to live up to their standards. Support them and expect them to support you. You are now being true to yourself.
When you let yourself down, get beyond it. You are not perfect, but you will do better next time. Forgive yourself, learn from your mistakes and move on.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Generally speaking, can you say that you live up to your own personal standards?
When do you let your standard slip? Does someone special influence you?
Do you want to change that?
[box type=”bio”] Betty Eddy is a published author and member of the Netiv community. Her work as a life coach has given her unique insight into self help. In her book “Untying the Knots of Life” she deals with concepts which guides the reader though self discovery. [/box]