How to be Honest With Yourself About Your True Intentions
Before you can do any self-improvement, before you can make any positive and long-lasting changes in your life, you have to ask yourself what are your true intentions. Ask yourself, “What is my goal? What’s the point here?” Without a goal it is very difficult to achieve what you say you want to achieve.
I always equate self-improvement to an exercise regimen; if you join a gym and go whenever your feel like it, you might see a slight change. But – if you join the gym with the intention of going 3 times a week, chances are you’ll see changes in your body.
This is the same work. You are about to embark on exercising your emotional muscle by first making a conscious and clear intention.
The Key to Intention is…
The intention must be about you. The intentions cannot be to change someone, to manipulate a situation, to tell someone they’re wrong. Those things do not lead to a path of self-improvement. Those things lead to arguments, chaos and certainly no change within yourself.
Once I had a married couple come and see me for life coaching. The wife seemed more enthusiastic than the husband. When I asked what their intentions were for coming she said, “I want him to see how badly he’s treating me. He needs to travel less and be home more. He needs to change. This is unfair!”
When I asked the husband what his intentions were he simply said, “I came because she wanted me to.”
In this case the wife’s intentions were to change her husband and to get him to stop traveling. The husband’s intentions were to go along and please his wife, maybe avoid some conflict along the way, but not necessarily change anything about himself.
After a bit of soul searching we got to what her ‘true’ intentions were. On the surface the wife wanted to change her husband. She wanted to get him to stop traveling by showing him how much it was hurting her, but the truth was under the surface (where it usually is).
Underneath what she really wanted was to feel heard and appreciated. She wanted a close connection with her partner and to feel that she mattered. Do you see the difference? We uncovered what she was feeling and what she wanted to feel. That was her true intention.
In the husband’s case, under the statement “I came because she wanted me to” we discovered that underneath he was actually feeling defeated, misunderstood and hopeless. After some digging he learned to say that he wanted to feel appreciated for the hard-working father he is, to feel a connection to his wife and to be accepted for the person he is.
How do you find your true intentions?
So, how do we do this? How do we get to our true intentions? We simply keep the focus on ourselves and express ourselves. Take a second and ask yourself, “what am I feeling, and how do I want to feel?” That is your intention.
But, intentions can be very tricky. Actually, the ego can be very clever.
I remember at the beginning of my own self-improvement journey. One of my goals was to start expressing my feelings to my husband. I would say to myself “I’m going to tell him how I feel.” It came out like this, “I’m feeling like you’re so quick to bark at the kids. What you need to do is take a deep breath first and then hear what they have to say. And you should hug them more.” My intentions were not really to tell him how I felt – my hidden intentions were to change him and tell him how to parent. That probably made him feel small and criticized.
If I had taken a moment to ask myself what my true intentions were, it would be to express my feelings. It might sound like this: “I’m feeling bad when you raise your voice at the kids. I feel confused and sometimes even a little scared, like I don’t know what to do. It’s important to me to be a team, and I would like to have a conversation about how we can parent successfully together.” See! My sole intention was to express my feelings.
Remember this till the day you die — we can only change ourselves!
That’s step one, baby.
Once you’ve got this — you’re on your way!
The next part of the process is to practice emotional self awareness.
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