Monday, December 10, 2012

Be YOU: Focus on Yourself!

Do you often see others behaving in ways you know to be unhealthy or bad for them?  If you're like me, you sometimes want to run up to that person and shout, "Don't you KNOW what you're DOING?  That's so bad for you!"  But of course I don't do this because I have a feeling it would not be well-received. 

People engage in unhealthy behavior all the time.  By their own free will.  I'm guilty of this as much as the next person, even though I like to think of myself as a healthier-than-average individual.  So why are we so judgmental of others?      

It's our egos.  Our egos tell us over and over that we are superior to that other person over there.  I know better.  I am right.  People should listen to me.  This is our ego talking.  So what to do about it? 

Focus on YOU, not other people.  I'm reminded of the Bible verse that goes something like this: "Do not attempt to remove the speck from your neighbor's eye until you remove the plank from your own."  It's easy to point fingers.  See something in someone else that needs to be "fixed." 
You may believe something is good or healthy, and even learned it to be true.  But others may not be ready to see it.  So you have to let it go.  Let go of your desire to control others and even to "help" others. 
I thought about this after watching the toxic chemicals blog post on The Daily Love blog yesterday. You can check it out here: 
I have been vigilant about choosing body products (lotions, shampoos, etc.) that don't contain parabens for years now.  Ever since I learned that they were bad for us.  Why companies still make and sell products that are toxic to humans, I have no idea.  But they do.  And people still buy them, either out of ignorance, or because they simply don't care, or don't believe it's a big deal.  Most of the people I know don't give it a second thought.  I could let this get to me, getting on my sister's or friend's case about "You shouldn't use that product...blah, blah, blah."  But the truth is, it's their body, their life, their choice.  Just as it's mine to not use products that I don't feel good about. 
Instead of preaching to my friends and family, and likely alienating or at the very least irritating them, I make an effort to focus on me.  I choose to focus on feeling good about the choices I'm making.  "Be the change you wish to see in the world," right?!   
Another example of this is what we eat and drink.  I just bought and installed a water filter on my tap in my kitchen sink.  I only drink water out of the filter now, when I'm home.  I learned that even the safe water in our country still contains chemicals that aren't good for our bodies.  I'm sure I knew this all along, on some level, but until about a year ago, I wasn't concerned.  I figured, they filter the water at the treatment plant, it's passed their tests, and it's safe for me to drink.  I never bought bottled water, and had no qualms about drinking from the (unfiltered) tap.  What caused me to suddenly care so much and make a change?  I don't know exactly.  But it finally clicked, or sank in, or I was finally ready to do something about it. 
Would I have gone out and bought a water filter if someone had told me I should, prior to my doing it on my own?  Probably not.  Someone could have preached to me and yelled in my face that my water isn't healthy to be drinking, I need to buy and use a filter, and I need to do it now!  What good would have come out of that confrontation?  Likely nothing.  And that's what I remind myself when I have the urge to tell someone else they should be doing something different than what they're doing. 
I've come to believe it's best to lead by example and just shut up about it!     
In what ways do you lead by example? 
What areas of life do you wish other people "got" more and made different ("better") choices? 
How do you handle watching a loved one (or even a stranger) partake in an unhealthy behavior?

Quote of the Day:
When the issues of someone else's life have you tied in knots, it usually means it's time to start focusing on your own life.  Doesn't that feel better?

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