It was a while that I was struggling to understand my shortcomings, vulnerabilities, and deficiencies. The principles that I claimed to believe were not translating into my day to day transactions. Those principles were not transforming my life. They were just claims with no practical impact. I was not at peace with myself. My situation was not acceptable to me. My interactions and engagements were not appropriate. The way I was handling certain situations bothered me later on. I was frustrated with myself.
Basically, I was struggling to align my principles with practical life circumstances. I noted that the struggle between my principles and my behavior was an ongoing phenomenon. Initially, I thought that outside forces were to be blamed. I was pointing fingers at external circumstances, peer pressure, others behavior, etc.
Eventually, I wanted to explore further and find out the root cause of this chaos within me. After many years of soul searching, finally, an opportunity to change my situation was revealed to me. I realized the solution to my struggle was to make those principles that I believed in, as part of my personality and ultimately identity. Those principles had to be internalized within my belief system in order to make peace with myself. The solution was within me and I was searching outside. What a waste of time?
Fundamentally, it boils down to being sincere with ourselves. Whatever principle(s) we believe in, first and foremost we have to digest within ourselves and accept it fully with no doubt. If there is any doubt, then we are not convinced. We have to believe in what we propose. Otherwise, we will constantly be in an unstable state of mind which leads to our constant state of fragility.
Once we internalize our principles, eventually, it will become our identity. As a result, it will solidify our self-esteem and self-confidence. Consequently, in our interactions with others, we will be truly who we are. We don’t see a need to “fake it till we make it.” Our true beliefs and principles will be on display. We don’t need to impress others. They will be impressed with our genuinity and sincerity.
To understand the concept of internalizing our principles, as an example, I will elaborate on one principle that I firmly believe in. I will briefly explain how this principle could be internalized and more importantly how it will change us when it becomes part of our identity.
If you are reading these passages, you are lucky; not because you are reading this specific article but rather because you are “able” to read. How many people we know who can not read either because they have physical impairment or lack formal education? So we are all lucky.
One of the principles that can help to change us is the principle of believing that we are lucky. If we look back at our life and reflect, we will soon realize that a wide range of so-called “incidents” have played a role in our life. Perhaps we could say that our destiny was shaped by these incidents. We could have been in a completely different situation. For a moment, just imagine if we were born in a different family or a different country, how our lives could have been different. Our whole life is full of these so-called incidents ranging from the people we met to places we found ourselves. How each of these “incidents” changed the course of our life for good? Have you ever thought that our life could have taken a different path with slightly contrasting variables? For example, instead of going to school A, and meeting our best friend, we went to school B, and met a completely different personality. Imagine the same at our workplace, friend or family circles, etc.
As we noted, life is full of “incidents” and we are lucky to be who we are at this particular moment in time. Things could have been a lot different and perhaps a lot worse. We have to find a way to completely grasp this concept and internalize within our belief system. I understand this can not happen overnight but if we make a commitment to find a way to make this principle part of our identity, it will turn into an internal struggle. Once it becomes a struggle, then we will notice and remember this concept in every transaction in life and appreciate our situation much better. And hopefully one day, it will become part of our identity.
This process of believing that we are lucky will start to influence us to be more humble. Once “luck” becomes part of our identity, we will interact with others differently. We will feel lucky and understand others much better. We will empathize with them and appreciate their situation. This will definitely bring a change within us and more importantly change our behavior toward others.
This one principle alone could change our life forever and impact every aspect of our life ranging from being “content” with our current situation to being respectful to others. We could take this principle, as a sample, and extend it to all other principles that we firmly believe in and start the process of internalizing them so that they become part of our identity.
HOW TO INTERNALIZE IDENTITY?
I am certain we all have certain principles that we believe in. We have to find a way to convert those principles into internal struggle within ourselves. For example, if we believe in “dignity of life” then we have to find ways to internalize this concept within ourselves. Further, we have to analyze ourselves in every interaction to assess if our beliefs match our behavior and thought process. Of course, this is a never ending struggle. But I can assure you that if we find a way to internalize this concept, it will slowly but surely, change our behavior and more importantly we will be at peace with ourselves. Finally, this ongoing struggle is a humbling process and reveals our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to ourselves.
Therefore, to summarize, there are three steps to internalizing your principles and making them part of your identity. The three steps are as follows:
We are not expecting to internalize these principles overnight. We need time and patience. We will continue to struggle. But we have to practice the process of internalization. Further, we have to keep on monitoring every step of the way, and then assessing and reflecting within ourselves to align better in future transactions. At last, hopefully, our inner identity shapes our personality and as a result we will bring change to our sphere of influence one principle at a time.
For anyone who wants to change their world, start with internal change….
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