“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” -Iyanla Vanzant
I really like that quote. I’ve witnessed the truth of it at every stage of my life. Growing up a lot of my friends were the dregs of humanity. I often felt like an outcast at school and so did the people I called friends. I believe strongly that you attract to you what and where you are, so the people around me were a perfect fit for how I felt about myself.
Many, many years and a ton of reflection, self-work and growth later, I’m at a very different place in life. I have a completely different cast of people in my life. I don’t engage in the same self-destructive behaviors and I have become a self-love warrior.
It’s not a stretch to comprehend that people that engage in behaviors that are harmful to themselves are really acting out how they’ve been treated in the past and how they’ve been taught to think of themselves. When one uses substances (drugs, alcohol, food) to escape their emotions, it’s really just another manifestation of you being mistreated – this time though, it’s by you and not someone else. If everyone else treats you like you don’t matter, then why would you treat you any differently?
I’ve spent a lot of time studying the behaviors of healthy people. The way they think, act and treat themselves are a far, far cry from the way I used to behave and think. I’ve listed the common behaviors I’ve noticed in individuals who I admire and who I believe are successful at life.
This is a no brainer right? Healthy, happy people regulate their own self-esteem. They don’t need external validation and they believe that they are responsible for their own happiness. They don’t internalize other people’s negativity or criticisms. Their worth isn’t dependent upon another person ability to see it. If someone around them is acting irrationally, they pass that back to that person and don’t take in any of it. They know who they are and they have confidence in their abilities. They are constantly seeking out activities, things and people that make them happy. They are kind to themselves and treat themselves with respect and do not tolerate disrespect from others.
Unhealthy people have an inappropriate view of their own worth. They internalize rejection and criticism. They accept poor treatment from others and they don’t believe they deserve any better.
They Live in the Present Moment
Successful people are present in their everyday tasks. They don’t get caught up worrying about the future and they don’t allow themselves to be haunted by the past. They believe that what is meant to be will be. They don’t force things, instead they go with the flow of life.
When they’ve got a task to complete they are focused and don’t allow themselves to get distracted by emotions from something painful that happened to them in the past. They deal with their issues when they come up, in the present moment. They don’t let things fester and grow into something harmful.
Unhealthy people are steered by the mistakes of their past and are constantly worried about the future. They often hide from the present moment because they are too wrapped up in past hurts.
They’re in Control of Every Aspect of Their Lives
Healthy people are in control of their emotional life, their financial life and their physical life. They don’t get overwhelmed by their emotions, nor do they allow them to color their decisions, or their actions. They don’t act out in unpredictable or impulsive ways.
They may not be where they want to be financially, but they’ve got goals and dreams that they’re working towards and a firm plan in place to achieve them. They don’t overspend to impress other people, they would rather gain comfort from the stability and freedom that financial responsibility provides.
They treat their bodies like the temples that they are. They make time to exercise and they eat nutritious meals that make them feel good. Because they treat themselves with a healthy respect, other people treat them the same way.
Unhealthy people feel that their lives are out of control in one or several areas. Their emotions do their talking for them and as a result the people around them view them as impulsive and unstable.
They Take Action
They don’t make excuses and they don’t get bogged down by procrastination. When something needs to get done they don’t get overwhelmed by obstacles, they either find a way, or they make one. Because they are consistently present and they have confidence in their abilities, the question of, ‘can I do this?’ is never in doubt.
They don’t wait around for someone else to do the work. They roll up their sleeves and jump right in.
Unhealthy people find every reason not to. They allow themselves to become immobile, because they believe that they aren’t good enough. They have the perfectionist mentality and believe that everything has to be perfect before they can do anything. Consequently, they have a ton of projects that never seem to get finished or that have never been started.
They Give Back
They know that their purpose is to be in the service of others and to use whatever they have to help. Be it money, time or their particular skill, they hold the belief that we are all connected and that helping your fellow man is good for the soul, the planet and the universe. Healthy people believe in the power of positive energy and like to spread it around. They are kind, generous and humble and aren’t fueled by their ego. They believe in abundance and don’t believe in greed, hording resources or that there isn’t enough to go around.
Healthy people find joy in helping others for its own merit. Unhealthy people are self-centered and are only interested in helping themselves.
They are Family Oriented
Healthy people have deep roots. They have a strong bond and connection with the people and places that they stem from. They make time for the people that they care about and they strike a good balance between work and family.
Your family doesn’t always have to mean the people that are related to you. Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do for yourself is to break ties with your toxic upbringing and make your own family with loving friends and good people, that you have chosen yourself. Healthy people know that being around those that love you is good for the soul. It recharges you and makes you feel good.
Unhealthy people feel alone and isolated. They’ve shut themselves off from those that care about them.
They Laugh Often and Find Beauty in Everything
Healthy people are happy people and you’ll often find them doing what they love, with a smile on their face. They don’t take offense easily and they look for the humor in every event or situation, even those that can seem unfortunate or dire.
You’ll often find them surrounded by scenic beauty, because they have an immense appreciation and respect for nature. They understand that they are part of an echo-system, not the master of one. They feel a connectedness and enjoy pursuits that require them to be at one with their environment.
Unhealthy people are always looking for a reason to be offended. They feel disconnected from people and the planet and are usually looking for someone to blame for how they feel.
Author Anthony Robins always says that, “Success leaves clues,” one of the great things about changing who you are for the better, is that we can see how others, that are living the lives we want to live, are thinking and behaving and really all we have to do is follow their lead.
This type of behavior is called modeling and it’s why having mentors is so important. If you’re looking to change your life, choose someone who you respect and admire. Post a picture of them on your fridge, your desk, or even as your screen saver and keep them always present in your mind. When you face an obstacle ask yourself, ‘what would he or she do in this situation?’ and then do that. The more repetition you have at repeating a task the more habitual the action becomes for you. Once it’s firmly a part of your character, you can add the spice of you to the stew and make it your own.
Living the best life you can is really just a matter of thinking the right thoughts and doing the right things. When success is already mapped out for you, it’s as simple as following the right steps and eventually you’ll find your X.
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