Thursday, March 4, 2010

Maintaining Personal Excellence

One of my private clients has serious issues with anger, or perhaps I should say with "nastiness". She's pleasant most of the time but she makes it clear that if someone is rude to her she can dish it out even worse. "I can get really ugly when I have to," she declares, as if she's proud of it.

How often do we react to someone's bad behavior with more of the same? Someone cuts you off on the highway and you give them the finger. Your brother misses your wedding so you retaliate by not attending his baby's christening.

Sadly, many people allow their behavior to be determined by what others say or do. And to make matters worse, they offer lame excuses to justify their actions. "I criticized you because you said something hurtful to me first."

Doesn't this sound reminiscent of eight-year olds? "You pushed me so I pushed you back!" One can make allowances for a young child's lack of maturity and good judgment. But one is expected to outgrow this behavior by adulthood. Unfortunately, some do not.

Does two adults behaving badly ever improve a situation? To the best of my knowledge it doesn't. Therefore, it is critical for each individual to set and maintain their own personal standard of excellence and never relinquish to another's poor behavior.

If I am honest, I remain honest even in the face of lies.
If I am kind, when others are thoughtless, I set the example of kindness.
My generosity does not falter to another's selfishness.
If I am a respectful person, then I maintain that standard even, and especially, with those who are rude.

If your external behavior is not congruent with your intrinsic values, you will create internal conflict. And when you are in a state of turmoil, you cannot be at peace.

Set your standards of excellence high. ~ Never lower them for anyone.
Let others aspire to be like you. ~ Maintain your personal excellence.
Be the example for others to follow.


My client is proud of her behavior. For me, I'd be ashamed.


If you like this article, read "Built Tough", Newsletter entry, March 9, 2010

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