One can center their life on an array of things: family, self, principles, friends, work, money, and a host of others. Many things influence our lives. However, it is crucial to have a solid center, because it affects how we interact, perceive, and interpret people and the world around us; circumstances that influence both our actions and reactions.
Centering your life on a series of core principles allows a stable foundation for personal growth. By principles, I mean the values and beliefs that make up your very core or character (in essence who you are). Unlike other life factors, principles are consistent and don’t depend on the behavior of others or the environment. Your principles should be fundamental truths that are timeless and unchangeable.
For me, holding to my principles is essential because I am a highly sensitive person who is often affected by other people and my surroundings. I’m like a sponge, I will soak-up others’ emotions. In crowds or social situations I tend to get very anxious and overwhelmed. I have found that creating a mission statement or daily affirmation helps me re-focus and re-center my mind in these situations.
One of the greatest assets of the human mind is imagination. Through it you can visualize a situation using your affirmation: that is, you see it, feel it, and experience it before it actually happens. So when you get into an uncomfortable situation it is not foreign, because you have created an internal comfort zone.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey points to the importance of affirmations in becoming the person that you really want to be. An affirmation should be personal, positive, engaging, and emotional. Many athletes and peak performers partake in this activity. You can do it before a game, performance, presentation, or really any event/situation.
According to Covey, it allows you to handle the situation with awareness. Visualizing that experience in advance forces you to think through your priorities carefully, so that you can align your behavior with your beliefs.
Here is an example of one of my affirmations: It is fulfilling (emotional) that I (personal) listen (engaged) with an open heart and think before acting, so that my decisions are made with love and integrity.
Such an affirmation is leading me down a path not driven by the superficial dramas that surround me but by a script that I have created for myself; a mission based on my own set of values.