It’s easy to be in public and have an image, but it’s quite another to practice what you preach behind closed doors. This post is all about being mindful of how we show up in the world.
Why is how we act so important?
- When you walk like you talk, you feel better about you. Regardless of how many times you tell yourself you’re a good person, a loving wife, or someone deserving of respect, if you don’t act as if you are, then you won’t feel good—regardless of what you say. You feel better when you act better. Self-esteem comes from doing Esteemable Acts.
- Your children pay more attention to what you do than what you say. Like it or not, your example is still primarily the one they learn from.
- There are so many experts telling us how to behave, yet sometimes their example is less than exemplary, and seems to be saying, “take my advice, I’m not using it!” You are more credible if you behave in the same way you tell others to behave.
- It makes you someone YOU can be respect.
At some time in your life, I’m sure someone said to you, “do as I say, not as I do.” Perhaps it was a parent, a teacher, a rabbi or member of the clergy; maybe it was your coach, your big brother or sister, or just someone you looked up to. You listened to them because you trusted them and you believed if they said do something, it was the right thing to do. Then maybe at a later date, you discovered they weren’t doing what they told you to do. You felt betrayed and lied to.
Remember the first time someone told you not to drink, and you saw them with a glass in their hand. Or they said smoking was bad, then you caught them smoking. Or they said don’t let anyone disrespect your body, then you saw them being disrespected. Someone told you all people are created equal, but then you witnessed first hand or had a friend who experience prejudice. They say respect yourself, then we see them tolerating horrible behavior from others. They tell us life is what we make it and we can have anything we want, then we see them stuck in jobs they hate, in relationships they can’t stand, settling for seconds in all areas of their lives. They look us in the face and lie to us, and then insist that we trust them. Why should we listen to people who don’t walk like they talk?
Adults learn from one another and kids learn from adults. I’m often asked when speaking to parents of teenagers how can we help our kids feel better about themselves? How can we build self-esteem in our children? The first thing I say is contrary to popular belief. You can’t build a kid’s self-esteem. All you can do is create space for them to grow, and demonstrate how to be a decent human being who cares about others. . And the best way to do that is to be the model of someone who loves themselves. Walk like you talk. Show, don’t tell.
There are some who will quickly stand up and say, I don’t care what people think when they see me. There is way too much emphasis on what others think. It’s not my responsibility to be a role model for everyone or to behave like others want me to behave. And no doubt that’s true, within reason. Esteemable Acts holds a different perspective. Be a role model for yourself.