"What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization." -- Abraham Maslow
- Practice gratitude. Look at the good parts. One of my clients broke his neck in a car accident and sustained other serious injuries. Session after session, he expressed gratitude that his life was spared and explored how he wanted to make the most out of every day. He healed far more quickly than predicted and today is pain-free. I believe this speaks both of the power of the mind/body connection and of gratitude. Gratitude attracts more goodness and positivity into life.
- Let go of defensiveness. Save yourself and everybody time by skipping the excuses and the bullshit. Beware of denial, intellectualization, rationalization, projection and look at yourself and your life honestly. Seek therapy, support or 12-step groups, and the counsel of good friends and family for perspective. It is only when we let down our defensive wall that we can truly do our deeper work and grow.
- Practice acceptance. Don't be reactive or get hooked. Don't expend energy fighting or resisting what you can not change (other people, their feelings, their behaviors, etc.). Instead, empower yourself to change what you can (your thinking, your behaviors, your boundaries, etc.).
- Forgive and let go of resentments. If for no other reason than for yourself, forgive to untether yourself from the negative experiences of the past. During times of prayer or meditation, give thanks for the wisdom and knowledge gained from your suffering. Practice the mantra, "I forgive you and I release you."
- Be authentic. Be genuine and real. Have the courage and confidence to be yourself. Do not say things that are false, even to yourself.
- Reflect empathy. Let go of the need for judgement. Have the ability to put yourself in somebody else's shoes, consider how they might feel and reflect that back to them as appropriate.
- Be direct. Say what you mean and mean what you say. The truth will set you free. Talk with the person you have issue with, rather than triangulating others. Avoid passive-aggressive tactics to get your message across (not responding to emails or calls, etc.)
- Be kind and compassionate. Only say things if they are kind, necessary and true. Be of service to others. Consider the needs and feelings of others before any action.
- Have integrity. Do what you say you are going to do. If things have changed and you are moving in a different direction, be honest and clear with others. Be reliable and consistent. Admit when you are wrong. Apologize and make amends as needed.
- Love yourself. Practice self-compassion and self-care. Understand you are exactly as you should be and are perfectly lovable as you are. Forgive yourself and understand you are human and nobody is perfect. Celebrate your life, your unique spirit and gifts. Take excellent care of yourself and surround yourself with people who love you, want the very best for you and will help you grow.
What other practices do you suggest for evolving and becoming a better person?
This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.