Many of you will be familiar with Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” but have you ever thought that the most important person to befriend is yourself? Here we highlight a few of Carnegie’s principles in terms of how they might be applied to the person over whom you have the greatest influence – yourself!
Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. How often are you your own harshest critic? When something goes wrong, how quick are you to begin to condemn yourself for having screwed up? How effective is this criticism or condemnation in convincing you to change your behavior? See the next point for an antidote to this form of self-sabotage.
Give honest and sincere appreciation. This is the flipside of point one. Take the time to give yourself a pat on the back when your plans succeed, when all that effort pays off and you accomplish more than you might have thought possible. Don’t take the good things for granted, savor and appreciate them as they happen and then reflect on them for inspiration when the going gets tough.
If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. We all make mistakes, misjudge people or circumstances. When the inevitable happens, explore the messages in the missteps and then remind yourself to let go and move on. Learn from what’s happened and then do your best to let the wrong turn stay exactly where it belongs, in the past, as you’ve absorbed the lessons it had to offer.
Smile. Try it right now even if times are tough. Think of something that brings you joy and makes you laugh. Feels good, doesn’t it? Smiling makes happy times happier and sad times more bearable. A grim face can make for a grim outlook whatever you are facing so the next time you are in the midst of something tough, pause for a moment to smile.
Self-Discovery Tool Number 63
The most important person to influence for the better is you. Build on Carnegie’s ideas and befriend yourself. And although there are many more items on Carnegie’s list worth considering, we will close with a modified version of just one: Become genuinely interested in yourself. You won’t regret deepening this relationship!
It is February and almost Valentine’s Day. At this time of year, traditional expressions of caring are popular. The media and the entertainment industry provide idealized images of lovers exchanging luxury items or dining in lavish restaurants. As appealing as these conventional approaches can be, what if we tried exchanging something very different yet equally beautiful to honor love?
This Valentine’s Day, why not give your thoughts and appreciation as gifts? How often do we take the time to tell significant others – whether lovers, family, or friends – how and why we value them? Do something unique and out of the ordinary by letting those you love know what specifically you find great about them. Here are few ideas to get you started:
- Make a list of things you admire in your loved one
- Share a cherished memory of time spent together
- Fill in the blank, “You are wonderful because_________.”
- Compose a poem featuring the positive attributes of your significant other
- Write a story that illustrates your esteem
- Play (or sing) a favorite song with lyrics that captures how you feel
- Have a conversation where the goal is expressing appreciation
- Say “Thank you” or “I love you” or “I care”
Try one of these simple but powerful suggestions. Most of us have not done this for those we care about in a long time and some of us have yet to try this. Be brave, as it may seem a little awkward to express your feelings, especially if it’s been awhile. Nevertheless, we think the benefits of goodwill will outweigh any initial discomfort you may feel and indeed may motivate you to reach out regularly to let important others know you care. After all, a holiday is not necessary to demonstrate caring.
Self-Discovery Tool #47
What difference could we make in our relationships if we simply told others what we admired about them? Instead of a grand gesture, or traditional or expensive gifts, what if we gave something infinitely sweeter and shared the truth in our hearts? Use this Valentine’s Day as a reason to tell your significant others why they are special – who knows, they may just do the same for you?!