Jay Rifenbary

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Susceptibility - How Easily Tempted Are You?

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With a New Year around the corner I would like to propose a unique resolution for all of us to consider, making ourselves less susceptible to self-centered desires, and more attentive to selfless acts of being thoughtful and respectful toward others. Have you ever been tempted? There is no doubt. Temptation is defined as, “a desire to do something, esp. something wrong or unwise”. How susceptible are you to temptation, and where does the personal strength reside to thwart such a destructive force? Susceptible is defines as, “likely or liable to be influenced or harmed by a particular thing”. The more susceptible you are to the perceived needs you have, the more likely temptation will succeed in drawing you ever closer to self-destructive behavior. What are those needs that attract temptation? They are the reflection of our personal dysfunctions and weaknesses, our vulnerabilities.

The catalyst that stimulates an attraction toward any temptation is the notion that the self will benefit. For example, if you have a need for attention you will be more susceptible to the temptation of behaving in a destructive way to acquire that attention. It may be as simple as taking a dare from a friend, or participating in a risky behavior. If you lack self-respect you are more susceptible to the temptation of destructive behavior to prove to others you are valuable. You might be tempted to participate in greed, lust or the craving for power, but what are the root causes that makes you susceptible to those temptations? Are you insecure with your own fiscal state of affairs, self-respect or self-confidence? It is the follow through to temptation resulting in personal destruction that is a reflection of personal insecurity. Anyone with a healthy personal value structure in place realizes when a temptation presents itself that is in violation of those values. Is your insecurity or need for something from the outside more important than what you stand for and believe in on the inside?

The ability to become less susceptible to temptation rests in the understanding and strength to implement the core values you believe define the most important elements of your character. If a true core value of yours is honesty then your ability and commitment to live that value will determine how susceptible you are to being dishonest. The most important question to ask is, how will succumbing to any temptation effect those around me, in particular my family and friends? The redirection of thought from self-centeredness to selflessness is the initial key to dismantling temptation. The reward in rejecting temptation is increased self-discipline and a higher level of personal confidence.

Five steps to reducing your susceptibility to unhealthy temptations include, * revisit, update, and redefine the core values that form the substance of your character and what you stand for and believe in. If you lack an understanding of those values you will be in a weakened state when confronting destructive temptations. * use common sense in analyzing the situation you may be confronted with. If you have any type of positive value base, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know right from wrong, just say no. * behave in a consistent way that reinforces your core values. Every time you do, it enhances self-respect and strength of character. If you have no values to base your behavior upon, there is no way you can earn any degree of self-respect or self-confidence. Why? You have neither self-identity nor a personal understanding of you. * if you have a history of being susceptible to particular temptations, make a concerted effort not to put yourself in situations that invite those temptations. * ask yourself the question, what is most important in my life, and what do I wish to be remembered for?

Is it what I have taken or what I have given, what I have done for myself or what I have done for others? We may never know what tomorrow may bring, but we will all be living in the future, so we might as well make it a future worth living. Happy 2011 to all my friends, and all those who share in the belief of a better self, a better family, and a better world.



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