One of the most important parts of being true to oneself is the setting of a few or maybe more than a few non-negotiables. These are beliefs and behaviors so firmly rooted in your mind that they are not up for discussion.
Examples may be the firm decision not to drink and drive or ride with someone under the influence. It might be getting a certain number of hours of sleep or exercise; it may be a decision to do one thing toward a valued goal every day; it may be avoiding a temptation to enter a lane you do not want to go down. It may be simply to never lie. Most importantly, a non-negotiable may be to refuse to subject yourself to the abusive words or behavior of another or to be abusive to another.
Establishing non-negotiables takes the decision out of certain parts of our lives. It is like an automatic deposit or withdrawal that is a part of our routine instead of something we have to debate each and every time. Putting non-negotiables that involve time can be supported by writing them on a calendar. Exercise may be scheduled for a certain time slot and is not left to happen “whenever.” Some non-negotiables involve the practice of saying “no” when we have committed ourselves to something else that we truly wish to accomplish.
Part of self-knowledge is understanding our motivations instead of living by default or being like water that forms itself around other objects. Self knowledge helps us to be good to ourselves and to others. It is the kind of mental wellness that we need more of. What are your non-negotiables?