“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Ghandi
As we enter the new year, many of us yearn for change: to be healthier, more prosperous, more loving or to see our world at peace, our environment cherished, our leaders accountable. But whether the change we seek is personal or global, as Ghandi points out, the change we desire must begin with ourselves.
Though this sounds obvious and straight-forward, we’ve all experienced just how difficult changing ourselves can be! But by uncovering our values first before taking action, our path to that change will be much clearer.
As an example, let’s take Dean, a client of mine who has recently spent the holidays with his family. While the family is generally loving and easy-going, a week of travel, coordinating schedules and activities of many people, lingering work stress, and the like, can take a toll on nerves and patience, and lead to regrettable disruptions. As much as anyone may love their family, concentrated time together can bring warm feelings to the “flash point” without much warning!
Taking a moment to catch your breath, hold your tongue, and remember your true values may just circumvent an event that may cause hurt feelings, embarrassment, and lingering regret.
Because working with an individual’s personal value system is an integral part of Awareness Engineering techniques, and an activity frequently used in private sessions in my office, Dean was familiar with this process and his own personal list of values. After his visit with his family, he reported that on more than one occasion he took a few minutes out of his activities to reassess his list, and compare his normal, “knee-jerk” reactions in family situations to what he really wanted to gain as an outcome.
Instead of participating in an escalating battle of wills or engaging in complaints, gossip, or impatience, he focused on his desire to be the change that he always wanted to experience in his family dynamics. He kept his sites set on achieving a supportive, loving, peaceful group experience that would create fond memories for everyone, while encouraging the development of positive goals for the younger members of the family.
Dean reported that the results were better than he had hoped. While clashes and tempers were occasionally evident, the situations were typically resolved much more quickly with little or no lasting damage sustained to the relationships. He realized a shift was possible, with the influence of only one person turning potentially negative energy into an agreeable result. As an unsung hero, Dean could be internally proud and satisfied that he had taken the initiative to be the change that he wished for in his family…and in the world.
What is important to you? What values do you have that you would like to see reflected in the world at large? What do you think would happen if you moved through each and every moment of your future as a living role model demonstrating the power and benefits of those values, so others could emulate you and exhibit those same traits?
Happy new year – and may you attain your highest values!