Without a sound set of rules for yourself, a value system and a moral compass, you'll ultimately make decisions that will hurt yourself and others.
We exert energy and focus on our financial and business plans but don't devote the time to create a personal life plan. No, not the vacations you want to take or the type of house you want to buy -- but the kind of person you want to be. What are the values and morals that will guide you to become the person you want to be, everyday? What rules will you set for yourself and abide by with discipline to stay course in a positive, healthy direction? How will you practice integrity in a very reactive world? Without a values compass, it is easy to make decisions that will steer you off course and in the opposite direction of the person you want to be.
Your body is sacred -- take care of it and be selective with who you share it with.
In the words of my wise friend SK -- "Be the gatekeeper." Your heart is a precious gift. Your body is a temple. Be selective. Respect it and be respected. Love yourself and be loved. If you don't respect and love yourself first, building a healthy relationship with another is like building a house with no foundation -- eventually the cracks and lack of a strong base will cause it to crumble.
Commitment is what builds the foundation of a lasting partnership.
Love (the way North Americans typically define it) is not enough. Love isn't what makes you decide to not act out your desires when someone attractive starts showing you attention (and you haven't had sex in months). Love is not what makes you apologize and give your partner a hug after an argument (even though inside you know you're 100 percent right). Love is not what makes you weather the storm when disaster strikes (which it will). Love is not what makes you decide to treat each other with kindness, respect and empathy during a breakup or divorce. (You'd be surprised how quickly love can feel like hate at that time.) No, it's not love. It's commitment. It's the responsibility to keeping your commitment. Not just to the other person, but to yourself.
Courage is having the strength to be vulnerable.
We live in a society where we are rewarded for moving forward, and the quicker, the better. When we feel pain, we numb it, medicate it and distract it so we can block it out -- a strategy that has damaging consequences in the long run. We equate strength with those who can champion through any challenge or hardship with efficiency and speed. While this may work in the corporate world, it doesn't work with matters of the heart. It doesn't work with mourning loss, or when dealing with deep, powerful emotions. True courage is not blocking out your emotions, it's having the strength to deal with them, to handle yourself and others with care even when you're down.
Who you surround yourself with, you become.
We are all energy -- constantly absorbing and giving it off to others. If you subject yourself to peers who are negative, insecure or destructive, it will affect you. Regardless of your strength as an individual, you are not immune to a constant surrounding of negative energy or bad influence. Your friendships, just like everything in your life, need updating. They need to be reassessed from time to time to determine if they are still working in your life.
Don't let any one thing be your everything. Set yourself up so when life throws a curveball at you, you aren't completely wiped off your feet.
You will lose your job. You will have your heart broken. The person you admired will disappoint you. You will make mistakes that you'll regret. You will experience losing someone special. You will fall. And you will get up. Life's curveballs are inevitable, therefore position yourself so that the "getting up" part is not so crippling. Save enough so that when you do lose your job you have some breathing room financially. Have balance, your own hobbies and independence so if you break up you haven't lost your entire sense of self. It's never a healthy scenario if you let one external variable be responsible for most of your happiness and security. Don't let any one thing be your everything.
What valuable lessons have you learned this year? Share in the comments.
Amy is a relationship and lifestyle columnist. To read more of her blogs, visit www.amyfabulous.com
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