For you to make good choices in life, you need to know WHO you are.
You have to do what is right for you which may not be the same as your sibling, your best friend, or your mother. It is your responsibility to stay as authentic as possible and to keep true to your core values.
Knowing who you are will help you stay on track to reach your dream.
Decisions are fueled by our emotions. And where we are in that precise moment can sometimes be the tipping point. We hold the future in our hands every day, every minute.
How we choose how to spend the currency we call our energy, is the building block for the next moment, and the next moment, and the next.
Our emotions can be very complicated and the behaviors resulting from those emotions control how others view us. How we help ourselves or sabotage ourselves is a matter of choice, conscious or unconscious.
They key is to be present and paying attention.
Paying attention sometimes feels like a full-time job, but, it becomes a habit, and then it becomes part of our daily routine and functions gracefully like breathing in and breathing out.
Is this you?
*Showing up consistently late tells those waiting that their time is not as valuable as yours and shows a lack of self-respect.
*Never completing projects on time tells others you are not reliable and shows a lack of self-respect.
*Not being accountable for things you are responsible for tells others you cannot be trusted and shows a lack of self-respect.
Self-respect is the #1 element in staying authentic and reminds you how regularly you need to be conscious of your behaviors in order to have control of your life.
Often, we choose actions that end up costing us something; a lost opportunity, damaging the trust from someone else, feeling like a fraud.
How do we learn who we are authentically?
It first starts with defining how we feel in the moment.
You cannot feel in the future; you can trigger past feelings you had as a child, but how you feel regardless of its source, is happening now.
Your feelings are your identity; derail them and you ending up living someone else’s dreams, someone else’s needs, someone else’s agenda.
How you feel sometimes is the result of someone else’s behavior, for better or for worse.
Understanding the connection between feelings and behaviors is the key to control; are you doing ‘right’ by yourself, or are you rationalizing away your feelings?
Second is using the precise word to define exactly how you feel. For example, sometimes our anger covers our fears, covers our shame, covers our sadness. Our response gives us clues; if there is a disconnect between the two, we are not in control; we are not being authentic.
A common feeling among people who are creative for a living...designers, authors, painters, is isolation, but often when I ask the difference between loneliness and isolation, I receive a blank stare. People tend to confuse the two.
When we have the accurate word, a person will find relief in knowing how to describe what they feel and then finding the antidote to ‘fix’ it.
When we are being truthful within ourselves, we give ourselves a chance to express how we feel in a constructive manner, or in some cases not verbally express ourselves because it would be harmful to our well-being. You can't very well tell your Boss he is a bully without expecting then to be fired.
Our behaviors should support understanding our feelings. Not to say that when we are angry, it’s ok to hit someone, but knowing how we feel and filtering our behavior keeps us in control.
How you engage the outside world
Does any of these terms remind you of somebody? Procrastination, manipulation, demanding perfection, living with chaos. These are behaviors that all of us have at some time in our lives, used. To examine how these four behaviors have played out in our lives is not to pass judgment, but rather to take a step back, gain clarity, take ownership and then decide how to manage the feelings underneath in a more constructive manner as we go forth.
How to get control
1. Set limits. Boundaries define where we end and the next person begins. Boundaries are about demanding respect for your differences. Everyone is not the same, quite the opposite; we are all different and thank goodness for that. I learned a long time ago “NO” is the most powerful word in any language.
2. Be present. Often, when we are in or being pulled into a confrontation which we want to avoid, we kick into fear and become frozen...or defensive which can produce arrogance, cruelty, anger within ourselves.
3. The secret to having inner control is to stay present and clear about what is really going on, and avoid allowing our default response to kick in. Sometimes, saying nothing is perfectly fine; looking directly at the person and saying: “I'll get back to you.”
4. The only person you can actually control is you; stop trying to control others, it’s an illusion anyway.
5. Demand to be treated with respect. How people treat you is what you consider allowable. If something feels ‘off’, make a note of it and either confront the person right then or come back at another time and clarify the boundaries.
You get to make that decision of how you want family members, co-workers, your children, to treat you.
Wishing you a happy New Year!
"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"