Choose Your Heroes Carefully
Don’t let the television determine who your mentors are. Think for yourself and make your own choices. I think we are too passive about letting the media choose our idols or heroes. Beyonce, Brad Pitt, Kobe Bryant and Paris Hilton may be famous and may have millions of dollars, but are they really people we want to learn about life from? Personally I don’t find that I have learned anything from them or find their stories or words inspiring. I’m much more enlightened by the stories told by Aimee Mullins, a double amputee who runs track. While training for a race she realized she was having trouble with one of her prosthetics. She went to her coach, a tough old guy from Brooklyn and asked to be excused from the race. She was afraid if she continued running her leg might come off in the middle of the race. His response?
“Aimee, so what if your leg falls off? You pick it up, you put the damn thing back on and you finish the God-damned race.”
She handed him her fear and he responded not with pity, but with humor. And he handed her back courage.
See “Aimee Mullins on Running” to hear her story in her own words. Turn off “reality TV” and listen to Ted.com for words and ideas that will inspire and enlighten you. Read the biography of someone you truly admire. Feed your mind.
Choose Your Relationships Carefully
Choose your family
Yes, you can choose whether or not to have a relationship with family members. Just because you are blood kin does not mean you have to allow yourself to be in unhealthy relationships with them. If you have a family member who is demeaning or abusive consider what keeps you in a relationship with them. You may need to make some tough choices.
Choose your friends
You can also make choices about your friends. If you surround yourself with negative, hypercritical friends this cannot help your self esteem. I’m not suggesting that you surround yourself with people who won’t tell you the truth and give you nothing but positive feedback – that’s false. I don’t consider that a friend. In my opinion a friend is someone who will give you honest feedback when you ask for it, but do it with compassion and kindness. They tell you the truth, but they don’t attack or belittle you. They don’t bring you down, just keep you real. Look at who you spend the most time with and how your interactions with them affect you. You might need to make some changes.
Choose your partners
If you are in a relationship that is unhealthy you may need to take some time to work on it and make a clear decision to leave. You cannot lift your self esteem while being disparaged on a daily basis. Many people stay in relationships which are unhealthy out of a fear of being alone. It may be necessary to turn and face this fear before you can feel better about yourself.
You may also want to look at the patterns in your relationships. Do you always pick partners who are needy? Dependent? Partners with substance abuse problems? Abusive partners? See if there is a pattern to your picking and find what is behind it. You may need to work with a counselor to learn how to make different choices.
If you haven’t found what excites you, explore. We spend an awful lot of our lives working. If your work is not your passion, if it is only for the money, if it is only because your family expects it of you - think again. Work that is depressing or unfulfilling sucks an awful lot of energy out of your life. You spend all day at this. Choose carefully. Change if you need to.