In the end, people who maintain their dignity instead of selling their moral souls tend to command more respect and to be well regarded by others. John Stuart Mill also emphasized the importance of thinking rationally in being your own person. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision.
This means that, as your own person, you look before you leap.
You do not act on personal whims. You welcome the opinions of others and remain open to alternative perspectives besides your own. You consider the pros and cons of your options; and, instead of vacillating, you actually make a decision. You are aware that you can never be certain about life choices and there is inevitable risk in whatever life choices you make. You are also aware that it is better to decide on the basis of a rational judgment than to make your decision by indecision. The latter can happen when you procrastinate and, as a result, time passes and the decision is made for you.
When this happens, you lose the opportunity to act rationally, which makes it less likely that things will turn out the way you would prefer. To be your own person you will also need to do a reasonably good job at avoiding irrational emotional outbursts, fits of anger or rage, depression , intense anxiety, debilitating guilt, phobias, compulsions, and other irrational emotional responses to the events in your life.
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Such emotional responses tend to defeat your own interests and goals. These irrational emotions can control you rather than you them; and persons so out of control cannot be their own persons.
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Dependence on chemicals such as psychoactive drugs or alcohol can also override reason and lead to irrational and self-destructive behavior. Indeed, many lives are turned upside down by alcohol and drugs like cocaine , heroin , oxycontin, or other psychoactive drugs and medications. A person who has an addiction to such substances can suffer serious loss of autonomy. It can eventually adversely affect virtually every aspect of one's life. As is well known, among the most daunting challenges with addictions is admitting to having the problem.
Many people live in denial for years as their careers fall apart, their significant others leave them, and their friends cut off ties. No rational person wants these things to happen, but they can and do happen. This is because the chemical dependencies take over. As Mill suggests, developing, honing, and applying your rational "faculties" is the best general antidote to whimsy, procrastination , self-defeating emotional responses, compulsiveness, chemical dependencies, blind subscription to custom or tradition, and other physical, social, or psychological factors that can undermine your personal autonomy.
Making a rational decision, however, does not itself ensure that you will act on it. As Mill so aptly emphasized, you also need "firmness and self-control to hold to" your decision. Indeed, many times people decide to do things that they never follow through on. Such inertia, or weakness of will, can defeat the point of having made a decision in the first place. From individual decisions to collective ones, much time and effort can be wasted in reaching decisions that never see the light of day.
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Putting things off until another time or day is a popular mode of inaction. This may be due to laxness, fear of having to deal with the repercussions of the decision, a sense that you just "can't" do it, or even forgetfulness with or without Freudian undercurrents. Building willpower to follow through on your decisions is profoundly important to being your own person.
You can do this by practicing. As Aristotle maintained, you can cultivate virtuous habits through practice. The more you push yourself to follow through on your decisions, the more habituated you are likely to become in acting on them. Like a muscle, willpower gets stronger when you use it. Use it or lose it! Weak willpower can also be symptomatic of low self-confidence.
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As Aristotle instructs, to be self-confident is a mean between being self-deprecating and being vain. The self-confident person unconditionally accepts himself and avoids self-rating. So, if you are self-confident, you will avoid trying to prove to yourself or others how bad you are or how wonderful you are. Instead you will make a realistic assessment of the merit of your actions. If you do something wrong, you will attempt to learn from it and move on.
What you won't do is degrade yourself by calling yourself names or otherwise engage in a vicious self-defeating game of self-devaluation. This is because being self-confident requires being self-accepting, and self-berating is incompatible with accepting yourself. Healthy self-acceptance must also to be unconditional and not depend on what others might say or think.
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Unfortunately some people devote their lives to doing what they think would please or meet with the approval of others. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to please others or to get their approval; and it can be preferable to gain and sustain the approval of others, especially if the person whose approval is sought has some power over your life-for example, your employer.
A problem arises, however, when you seek to please or gain the approval of others in order to validate your own self-worth. When the latter is the case, you can live a roller coaster existence whereby your self-worth rises and falls on the fickle barometer of getting and remaining in the good graces of others. This is a good way to frustrate your personal happiness.
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On the contrary, a self-confident person, Aristotle admonished, is also a self-lover and perceives herself as her own best friend. Indeed, best friends do not demean and degrade but encourage and inspire. Nor do they make their friendship contingent on who likes or approves of their best friend. So too is this true in the case of a self-confident person. As a self-confident person you will also be prepared to spice things up by trying out new and different things—within reason of course. So, Mill also talked about "experiments in living" in which people try out new life arrangements to see which ones work and which ones don't.
As Mill eloquently admonished, "there should be different experiments of living; that free scope should be given to varieties of character, short of injury to others; and that the worth of different modes of life should be proved practically, when anyone thinks fit to try them. Are you largely driven to accept things because they are customs or traditions?
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Are you uncomfortable with trying out new and different things? Here "customs" or "traditions" can be broadly understood to include social routines and even the way you earn a living. So, you may have gotten used to engaging in the same recreational and social activities and now routinely engage in them even though they have become boring and unrewarding. You might go to the same restaurants, eat the same foods, play the same games.
http://pierreducalvet.ca/30062.php You may have worked at the same job for many years without any changes or variations in how and what you do. Such routines can take the vital spirit out of your life, leaving you uninspired and uninspiring to others. You may feel emotionally flat and reflect the same in your social interactions with others. If this is you then making changes-seeking out new and different social activities, making new friends, cultivating new hobbies, and altering work routines—can add new vitality to living.
So you might "experiment" a bit. Now that you have a clearer idea of what it takes to be your own person, taking the below inventory can help give you a better idea about where you stand. I tend to rely on others to tell me what to do, say, or how to feel. I tend to try to live through others. I tend to be intimidated by others and to cave to social pressures.
I tend to keep to myself and avoid social interaction. I often take alcohol or drugs to make myself feel better. I often try to please others or get their approval in order to validate my own self-worth. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and perhaps medication with an approved anti-depressant are suggested methods to reduce the occurrence of this behavior and hopefully replace it with a more appropriate behavior.