Ultimately, we are our own worst critic and persecutor. To meet the challenge that fears present is a giant hurdle and requires a huge shift in thoughts and beliefs. Fear resides inside of self and behavior resides outside of self.
How many times have you been extremely afraid to do something and so put it off until it was too late? How many times have you faked illness, told a little white lie, and avoided doing things that made you feel fearful? Fear is like a monster that feeds on itself the more you put off doing something the bigger the monster grows. Have you ever considered yourself a loser?
Maybe not quite put into words, but in your heart, you feel like a looser because you know that you are capable of so much more if only your fear and anxiety didn’t get in your way. Do you forecast your own failure in effort to soften the blow of disappointment when things do not go exactly as planned? Fearful people are often self-involved concentrating so hard on their own needs that they are unable to take other people’s needs into consideration. Thinking that the world is a dangerous place and life is hazardous.
Excuses bond us to failure. Not taking personal responsibility for your life and your actions guarantees a mediocre lifestyle. Do you find yourself making excuses for your conduct? I was late because --- I didn’t get it done because --- I did it because I was angry ---. If you would have --- then I would have ---. A million excuses and all they serve to do is deny personal responsibility for whatever is happening at the moment. Excuses demonstrate a lack of commitment to excellence and results in mediocrity. Making excuses for other people weakens them and steals their power. Making excuses for you does the same thing. It is a brave person who can face life without excuses. Try honesty i.e.: “I was late because I did not allow enough time for unforeseen road conditions or heavy traffic.” “I didn’t get it done because it wasn’t a priority for me.” “I was angry at you and decided to punish you by doing something I knew would hurt you.” “There is no excuse for what I did and blaming you for it was wrong.” “I realize that a person of integrity would do the right thing regardless of someone else’s behavior.” “I take full responsibility for failing to be on time, do the right thing, or be committed to excellence.” Just saying these things out loud to yourself is a start.
What you believe about yourself and your circumstances dictates how you will behave. If life is not all that you want it to be then perhaps you need to change your belief system. What beliefs do you have about your personal worth? Take a few minutes and answer the following questions.
- Do you enjoy life?
- Do you speak honestly about your shortcomings and your achievements?
- Are you comfortable with criticism?
- Are you comfortable with appreciation and compliments?
- Are you open to new ideas?
- Do you consider yourself playful?
- Do you have a quiet sense of self-respect?
- Do you have a sense of humor and can you laugh at yourself?
- If you make a mistake do you go over it and over it in your mind?
- Where do you want to be in your life and relationships next week? Six months from now? A year from this date?
Maybe you have said things to yourself such as “I am not good at math” and every time a math problem comes up you side-step it without considering what it would take for you to develop your ability to do the problem. Maybe you have always wanted to write books or poetry or short stories but just have never put yourself to the test because when you think about doing it you always think of it in the future not right now.
Beware of being influenced by myth. Many people make important decisions based on a myth that we have never bothered to check out. One such myth is “asking for help is a sign of weakness.” another myth is “selfishness is always bad.” Did your parents ever say to you “what will the neighbors think?” It’s a myth that the neighbor’s opinion of you is more accurate that your opinion of you. “Who do you think you are?” Does other people’s opinion matter to you more than your own?
Your personal worth is not based on what other people think nor is it based on your accomplishments or how much money you make. You have worth by virtue of the fact that you exist. That’s it and it is that simple. If you were lucky as a child you were allowed to develop a self that you are pleased with because you feel effective, useful, loved and loving. People who were not so lucky often struggle with self-esteem problems and no matter what they accomplish or who loves them they never quite feel they measure up. Self-respect differs from self-esteem in that it is more about behavior than about the inner condition. You can write out a road map for self-respect and by following it develop a stronger self-esteem. Eventually self-respect leads to self-acceptance and a refusal to let anyone else define you.
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