Attuning to your intentions brings harmony to you and those around you
Our minds continuously anticipate what's coming next. Our readiness for the immediate next event is a genuine object of our mind's attention. Our brains want the next event to match its expectations. And, if what happens moment after moment aligns with our brain's expections, we experience coherence.
When we pause to reflect on our intentions, we set in motion activities that match our intentions, and we create internal attunement. When we go through our days without attention to our intentions, we search out experiences that reinforce a shallow reality.
When have you paused before connecting with another human being to consider your intention in the interaction? What about in the telling of a story? Or taking a walk in nature? How about before you eat that box of cookies or bag of chips? Are you present with your intentions?
I wonder how much of our internal discontent originates in our misaligned actions and intentions? When our intention is to connect with someone, and we talk more than we listen, are we gratified? When our intention is to exercise, and instead we watch TV, are we fulfilled? When our intention is to eat healthy foods, and we indulge in wings and fries, are we energized?
To foster internal and interpersonal attunement, we must pause and consider our intentions throughout the day. As we practice noticing our intentions, we become more authentic and receptive. As we become aware of our intentions, we become available to other's intentions as well, which nourishes interpersonal attunement.
An intention to attend to our intentions creates internal equanimity, and others perceive us as present, empathic and authentic. In what ways can you begin attending to your intentions?
How tight is your Inner Critic's hold on you?
We all have one. Yours is uniquely designed just for you! It's your internal voice of authority. Your inner critic evaluates everything you do, say, feel, and think as well as the things you don't do, say, feel and think.
Your inner critic is the voice that begins sentences with "I should." And if you've ever said to yourself or someone else "I'm struggling with ____," you've been listening to your inner critic. The inner critic's role is to keep you in line with what your ego wants. Together, they ensure you show up in the world with a restricted presence and a false sense of self.
When you make choices, do you pay attention to the voice giving you advice? Are your actions authentic or are you attempting to maintain a certain image? Whether you're trying to attain perfection, greatness, admiration, mediocrity or worthiness, you're in the grip of your inner critic and ego. These are just a few examples of the many avenues traveled by the inner critic.
Through fear, apathy, resignation, anger, shame and guilt your inner critic and ego keep you chasing impossible dreams. These emotions surface because of comparison, judgment, evaluation, criticism, praise, labels and all-or-nothing thinking.
Who's voice do you hear when you're evaluating yourself and who created the rules you live by and expect of others? What are the criteria for the scale you're using and what value does it serve you now?
Here are the Big Questions:
What if you didn't live by the rules of your inner critic? Imagine what might happen if you did the opposite of the voice in your head. Do you sense panic at the mere thought of opposing your comfortable patterns? Fear? Are you rationalizing this as a stupid question?
If you're listening to your inner critic and doing as it says without question, your attention is always on you. Continually evaluating yourself leaves no room for connecting with others. Being self-absorbed is not a pleasant observation or noble trait, is it?
For just one day, do the opposite of your usual tendencies — Let someone else take credit. Look people in the eye during conversations. Live with uncertainty. Take action. Be silent and listen. Do something imperfectly on purpose. Take second place, or better yet, don't place. Sit still. Speak up. Give others your full attention.
Take a risk — override your inner critic and see what happens!
Perseverance and Insight Required!
For those of us embarking on making changes — physical, emotional, chemical, mental, etc. — isn't the change process challenge enough without the resistance of those around us?
Resistance on the part of family and friends is a well-known obstacle for anyone embarking on changing a chemical dependency problem. You get sober, feel healthy and proud and then the family that encouraged you to quit is complaining about your new disposition or comparing you to how you were before.
And, what makes it so hard for the person dedicated to change to embody those changes in the face of those familiar to us? It seems so much easier to emulate the changes we're making with people new to our lives or people on the same road to change that we are.
In striving to be present and mindful in every interaction, I often wonder how I fall back into old habits and wind up defending myself with people I've known for years. Why is it harder to respect myself and my new way of being with people I know well? And, what makes it so difficult for people that know me to accept and support the changes I'm striving to make?
I'm also changing my old habit of trying to figure everyone else out, so I'll focus on my experiences in this arena — after all, the only person I can change is me!
Lately, if I'm lucky, I'll notice my growing discomfort during a resistant conversation. More often, it's just after the conversation that I feel dishonored. Dishonored by me, not the other person.
I want to learn to trust myself, the change process, and any growing discomfort as it arises so that I stay present and honor both myself and the person with whom I'm speaking. Authenticity and self-respect will enrich us both.
Change requires enormous perseverance and insight! What change are you ready to take on?
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian