“Each person must live their life as a role model for others.”-Rosa Parks
There are a lot of people today that had less than Ideal role models in their life. These role models often showed us negative ways to live life. Some may show us how to believe. Some may show us how to act or feel. I’m positive that in most cases we are not aware of the influence they had on us. Equally as true, they may not be aware of the impact of the role they played.
What is a role model? First, What is a role? A role is a character we play in our life, our interactions with others, and ourselves. It can also be expected societal norms that are put on specific populations. Now, what is a model? A model is an emulation point, a blueprint if you will. Putting the two together you get: A character that you emulate your actions, thoughts, and beliefs after. A role model can set an example of achievement, success, happiness, and growth. They can also set an example of failure, struggle, poverty, misery, and depression.
“Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.”- Anonymous
When we are small children we are like sponges. The things we see in our life are our first emulation point. Our parents show us our first set of acceptable behaviors and ways of being. As we grow older we gain more influences; peers, teachers, celebrities, etc. However, the behaviors, thoughts, or beliefs we hold onto is the emulation point we set for ourselves, and it is the example we set for others. Many behaviors we carry into adulthood come from the role models we had growing up. This can be difficult to bring to your awareness. Now, take a moment to think to yourself, "Are there behaviors that I do that I saw my parents do often?" "Do I have similar mannerisms, emotional reactions, language or facial expressions?" If you said no, awesome. If you said yes to some of these minor aspects of behavior, can you see how your larger more ingrained actions may be influenced the same way?
There came a time in my life where I realized that I needed new role models. I began to search for people to learn from and emulate after. I found spiritual teachers, friends with attractive qualities, public speakers, teachers, and even Psychiatrists and Doctors. Each of them taught me new and exciting information. Some taught me how to live with grace. Some taught me to believe in myself, how to work hard, and take responsibility for my life. Finding new models of behavior gave me a way to rewire what I wanted to be like. I started to strive for things that made me feel good. I began living behaviors that benefited me rather than harmed me.
“To change bad habits we must study the habits of successful role models.”-Jack Canfield
Some may wonder, “Why would I want to emulate after someone else when I can just be myself?” My answer to that is, unconsciously you are already emulating after people in your life to some degree. Finding role models that resonate, and eliminating what doesn’t resonate is a method of becoming yourself. As we learn from and model after people that we are attracted to we can begin to replace the current life model with a new one. As our life model changes we begin to live in accordance with what feels right for us, what resonates as true. This process of adding and subtracting models and roles from our life, is us becoming ourselves. We begin to do and believe what we feel is right and good.
Is it possible that the examples you had in your life have helped you develop self-sabotaging beliefs, behaviors, or thoughts? Are there people you look up to that have the ideal set of behaviors and beliefs for you to emulate? When looking for new role models try to find people that have desirable traits you would like to see in yourself. It may take some time before you find people that resonate and offer the role you can see yourself playing. However, that’s part of the process, stay open to new ideas and people. You never know what qualities you will see that you wish you exhibited. Those qualities are attainable, and discipline will help you integrate them into your life. As you integrate new behaviors you will become the role model you wish you had. You will become a positive example for others to emulate.
“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.”-John Wooden