Lead by Example

It’s natural to want what’s best for others, especially our family members who we love the most. We see them do things we don’t agree with – eat the dessert that breaks their diet, drink the extra drink, smoke the cigarette. That’s their decision to make. We can’t change them.

What we can do is express our beliefs through our own actions, which is the only thing we really have control over. For me, this means eating healthy, exercising regularly, and not drinking or smoking.

We have to remind ourselves that they know what they’re doing isn’t good for them. That their actions come from a place of pain, fear, and anger. Addictions are there to cover up negative feelings and numb the pain. We can do our best to be compassionate towards them and be there for them if they are ever ready to make a change in their lives.

I hope I can be an inspiration to others. I quit smoking and drinking nearly two years ago. It wasn’t easy because those habits were in place to cover up negative emotions that I hadn’t dealt with. I’m very happy and proud of the changes I’ve made and love not being controlled by addictions. Knowing what it’s like to feel out of control helps me identify with others facing their own issues. Seeing others controlled by addictions reminds me just how far I’ve come.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m a work in progress like everyone else. However, I know that change is possible because I’ve done it myself. It’s hard to see your loved ones do things you don’t agree with. This holiday season was a good test for me to accept people for who they are, and simply lead by example. If others want to make healthy changes in their lives, I’ll be there to support them.