I’m always searching for the proverbial “keys to life” not so much as a shortcut to happiness but generally to just get me through the day. I swear the world conspires against me some days. Lord knows that people intentionally spite me and refuse to provide for my simple and modest needs. Can ya feel me?
I think the only battle I need ever worry about is the one between my ears. A friend who worries about my occasional self-loathing recently shared a Viktor E Frankl quote with me. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” I pondered how that aligned with Miguel Ruiz’s “Four Agreements.”
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.
It all really comes down to perspective doesn’t it? We choose every day how we act or how we react as we go about our business. That should be easy enough. Things can get messy when spend too much time wishing things were different. It’s all so cliché’ sounding isn’t it? But then I wonder, why is it so hard at times? Why is it that we are willing to beat ourselves up; telling ourselves we are not good enough, not strong enough, not respected enough, we are too old, too fat, too whatever? Part of being impeccable with our word means that we need to recognize that our internal dialogue matters as much as what we say out loud. Part of taking things personally and making assumptions means assuming good intentions and doing our best to avoid self-judgment and regrets. We get to control all that. We get to choose our inner dialogue and thus our own reality.
I like when I lie down to bed at night and feel good about my contributions to, and interactions with, the people who’ve crossed my path. The best way to enjoy that feeling is by guarding against internal negativity and employing the occasional positive self-affirmation. “By golly, I’m good enough, I’m nice enough and people like me.” Ok, maybe we don’t need to go all Stuart Smally and I hope none of us self-deprecate more than occasionally. If at all. I just need to remind myself, once in a while, that words matter. What I tell myself is maybe foundational to how I treat others. That’s a freedom worth protecting.
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