Being a positive role model is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to help other people. If you can find ways to demonstrate and live your values you will have a huge impact on those around you whether they are an adult, a child, an addict, a client, a friend or a family member. And in living your values you will be giving yourself a positive message of strength and confidence as well.
The modeling effect is particularly powerful for children and young people. But it can work for other adults in subtle and not so subtle ways. And if you think about it, we are always modeling something. What we do, how we live always says something about what is important and what is possible. We make a statement, we cast a vote for or against something every time we get out of bed.
So for my New Year’s pep talk, here is a countdown to my top 4 simplest and easiest ways to be a positive role model.
Be happy. This is a tall order at times. It means being able to accept life on life’s terms. It means being OK with imperfections, your own and other people’s. And it means being willing to find ways to make your time and activities worthwhile even when you are lonely or insecure or in trouble. Being able to be happy doesn’t mean going around saying life is great all the time, but it means being willing to trade feelings of resentment and blame for acceptance. It means being able to trade powerlessness and victimhood for gratitude. A truly contented person is magnetic and a little mysterious.
Face reality. This means letting go of ego and image. It means deciding that it is more important to be real and speak your truth than to be what you think someone else wants you to be. Living in reality means you have nothing to live up to and you don’t feel you have to compare yourself to others all the time. In reality you have an inherent worth; if you are always trying to compete and get one up you give away your power. It is startling to hear someone be really honest about themselves. If you can be open and vulnerable about what you are and what you feel you will be amazed at the impact on those around you. Admitting the “awful” truths about yourself is freeing to others; it can be contagious.
Be kind. This encompasses a lot of generous, non-judgmental and supportive attitudes and behaviors. Loving kindness toward other people is the one essential way to demonstrate enlightenment in the world. It means being able to listen and help without preaching or expecting reward or recognition. It means being available and accepting with a generosity of spirit that comes from strength and security. Most of all kindness means somehow accepting people where they are even when you don’t like it or even understand it.
Work on yourself. This is my number one pick for being a great role model. I believe that watching you grow and change has an extraordinary impact on others, particularly on those you are close to. When you grow and evolve in whatever areas are important for you the message is clear. Other people will see unmistakable evidence that they too can change. This is perhaps the most important message for children including adult children; seeing a parent make basic and positive changes in their life opens up a world of possibilities. When those closest to you see you transform your life in positive ways they are encouraged to imagine new possibilities in their own lives.
Have a great New Year full of surprise and fulfillment.