Whenever we start a new year we usually go through some review in our mind of the previous year and what we have accomplished or have yet to accomplish in our life. Setting goals, releasing negative feelings, forgiving and striving for some personal growth is always on people’s minds, no matter what they have experienced in life.
Many times, the thought of professional and financial attainment or lack of is what a new year brings, along with all the emotional feelings that follow. When you take the honorable approach throughout your life, it will always result in other gifts coming your way without intentionally seeking them. This is why I encourage people I coach to make the three R’s a reality in their lives. They are: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions. People’s intentions are often not the reality that they live. It’s not because they don’t want to, but because they just don’t have the discipline to be consistent without help from others. To change one's behavior and thought processes can challenge a person’s will. Most people alone are not strong-willed enough to stick with it throughout the time it takes to attain their goal. It’s never too late to start to live your life in a respectful and responsible way, so your daily interactions will be set on a positive path. So let’s start with some of the thoughts and activities that are associated with respect and responsibility.
Respect for Self is a feeling of confidence and pride in one’s owns abilities and worth. Having regard for one's character, and one's conduct with appreciation of one’s self elevates our awareness of who we are. Self- respect is the cornerstone on which many other attributes are built such as dignity, honesty, loyalty, confidence and integrity. Feeling good about yourself, thinking enough of yourself to make decisions that will be good for your long term emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health, will improve your character and self worth. Always surround yourself with people who have your best interests involved, who care about your thoughts and feelings, who share your passions and interests and who live healthy lifestyles. Conduct yourself on a daily basis with a happy heart, engage in physical activities that are health-oriented, be polite and pleasant to others and it will elevate your own self- respect. By walking the walk and talking the talk you can display the respect you have of yourself by honoring your body and mind. The person with self-respect simply likes themselves. It should not be contingent on success or a result of comparing ourselves with others. Self -respect is a given because of who we are and not because of what we can or cannot do. No one can take steps towards their goals, dreams and aspirations without liking the person they currently are.
In general character good or bad, is considered to be observable in one's conduct. Look at how you act each day, what you do to honor yourself and how you display those qualities that show self-respect. Those with self-respect are less prone to blame others, have guilt, live with regret, lie, have secrets and stress. Ask yourself if you display any of these traits and start to acknowledge why you feel this way. Be thankful on a daily basis for the blessings you have now and at the same time examine the beliefs, biases, assumptions, and myths inherited from family, school, religion, and society. One by one, dismantle and discard those not in keeping with healthy, honorable and virtuous living, and cherish those that are. Part of our personal development is the view we have of our self, and respecting yourself will play a big role in your chosen path in life. Have fun as you develop friendships, interests, purposes and passions. Enjoy the journey of learning to respect yourself as a unique individual who has something to offer in this world. When you act with integrity, your words and actions will match, which gives you self respect and a peaceful heart. Respect for ourselves feeds our respect for others.
“Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners”. –Laurence Sterne
Respect for Others is to have unbiased consideration and regard for the rights, values, beliefs and property of all people. To hold in special regard someone's opinions, talents and/or abilities, reflects your own values and standards. It also shares what you believe in, and in part, what you see or would like to see in yourself. By respecting others, you show the attitude of friendliness and comfort towards them. Listening to other people’s thoughts, feelings and desires without judgment, allows you to respect them for who they are, and not what you want them to be. Very often, we impose our own ideas on others without being able to respect other people's inherent differences. Everyone you encounter has a unique moral fiber that has created who they are and how they think. Being able to allow others to express themselves in their own way will open your mind to different theories and information that might not be part of your mindset. Respecting other people in your personal and professional environments will encourage the same respect be given to you, in return. We show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy. Always treat people the way you would want to be treated: with civility and dignity. Ask yourself if at any time during your day: Did my verbiage or actions ridicule, embarrass or hurt other people? Become aware of how you treat people, so you can improve your behavior. Being fair minded, truthful and polite will reflect the virtues of respect and bring back to you the same positive energy that you put out to others.
“Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves”. -Ulysses S. Grant
Responsibility means to accept accountability for your actions. When you make a mistake, you accept it, correct it, and offer amends, instead of making excuses. Responsibility is the ability to respond and make smart choices for yourself. Being responsible for your actions allows you to accept that everything along the way that happens to you, good and bad, has been determined by the choices you have made. You are in control of those decisions and blaming others for your situation is avoiding your responsibility. You can pretty much choose almost everything in your life; your career, your spouse, where you live, who your friends are, your social activities with the one exception of the parents you were born to. You need to make sure that you acknowledge the responsibility that follows those decisions because they are your own and not anyone else’s. Personal growth develops when we are accountable because we accept the choices that we made and learn and grow from them.
People who take complete responsibility for their lives experience inner joy and control of circumstances. They are able to make better choices because they understand that they are responsible for those decisions. Take a review of yourself to see how often you take responsibility or place blame on others. Listen to your verbiage to see if you often point fingers of blame at your friends, spouse, co workers and family. Are you making excuses and shifting responsibility to others for the things that don’t always go right? How many times have you said: "He/she did this to me?" You can change these negative behavior patterns by first understanding that you made choices that ultimately created these results. Taking responsibility is the first step in acknowledging that you have the control to make better choices in the future. Become proactive, not reactive, to your situations and be accountable. Acknowledge that your life is your responsibility. No one can live your life for you. You are in charge. No matter how hard you try to blame others for the events of your life, each event is the result of choices you made and are making. By breaking the blame-game patterns in your life and accepting responsibility, you will see your circumstances change for the better.
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs” –Joan Didion
When you put into practice the three R’s on a daily basis you will start to see your life change with positive experiences. Lessons are learned and spiritual growth becomes prevalent. Don’t allow the past to dictate the present, unless it honors you and your life. Start to modify your behavior to reflect actions that display respect for yourself, respect for others and take responsibility for all your actions. It’s never too late to get support so you can be on a better path in your life. You do have the power to change your circumstances and the change starts the day you commit to live an honorable life.
Denise Dema is a Business and Life Management Coach with over 20 years experience empowering individuals, entrepreneurs and business owners to attain self-defined success in their professional and personal lives. To learn more about the author and her practice please visit http://www.denisedema.com/