Monday, May 31, 2010

The Many Avenues of Truth: Motives -- check in often

Hello! Sorry again that I haven't posted in two weeks -- crazy schedule -- fabulous and inspiring, but the kind that required my entire focus.

I have been thinking recently about the importance of motive, i.e. that little factor that shapes our thought and leads to action. Actually, motive is much larger than what we think, when you bring it into mind as a question, you can begin to define your response to the words and actions of others. Not only can you question your own motives -- you are free to investigate and determine the motivation of other people -- friends, family, colleagues, brief acquaintances, etc. Sometimes these questions are effortless to recognize, as in, "What on earth was he/she thinking?" We all easily recognize that thought! Sometimes, not so much.

Today's discussion is about quietly assessing why we or someone else has said or done something. It is a valuable tool, for ourselves (why are we thinking, saying or doing whatever it is we are thinking, saying or doing) or...why is someone else saying or doing something.

I have heard it said that our motives are the same thing as our desires. Hmmm, ok...what do people want – way deep down? We all want to be happy...I think it is that simple.
How do motives play into the happiness plan? Motives lead to intentions.

Now, having said that mouthful, let me begin to explain:  There are lots and lots of ways to approach anything. We each choose on an infinitesimal scale daily what we are going to say and do. All interactions involve what? Yay, you guessed it -- people. So, we have our own motives...and make no mistake about am I going to respond today so I can express my own idea of happiness... love, patience, mercy and peace or am I going to get what I want regardless of the pain/discomfort/humiliation/loss of confidence/sadness/hurt/ it might cause another person? That itty-bitty definition is motive boiled down to its core.

You don't suck it up like your favorite strawberry milkshake. -- DCR

What about the motivations of other people? I love my mama -- she boils stuff down to the core in every interaction she has -- she knows where her feet are and can pretty much tell you why the other guy is saying or doing whatever it is he/she saying or doing. Gosh, I appreciate that skill. There is no fooling her. She has lived long enough to know the wisdom of asking that question...why? She taught her girls to ask that question...did we always listen? Well, that is another story.

For ourselves, we can ask the question... how is this going to effect someone else-- is this thought/conversation/action constructive or destructive? And, hey, no matter what you are telling yourself, you know the answer. You may want to start practicing a little self-awareness -- we may be just a little rusty on that one -- but it is how we take responsibility for our thoughts/words and actions. And please, don't be vague here. Gosh, don't you just love vague -- you can hide all sorts of things there. Smiling.

Let's talk about why it might be wise to question other folks' motives? Because you are not a complete ninny, that is why. You are intelligent -- you realize people say or do stuff for all kinds of reasons that are not always in your best interest. Do you hate them for it? NO, you recognize what they are doing and why, then deflect it. You don't suck it up like your favorite strawberry milkshake. We live and learn. If we care at all, we learn to recognize motivations and behaviors.

You want an example? OK. You have a friend that always, always shares his/her drama with you...seeking your input (which by the way you give with your whole heart and good intentions)...but stuff never changes, the drama continues in one form or another. Does the relationship drama in his/her life ever get fixed? Does he/she ever actually solve the problem? In this situation his or her motivation for telling you these private problems isn't really for you to fix it, this person is just using you for a dumping ground -- your input goes in one ear and out the other. This isn't is destructive if you are feeling sad, drained, frustrated or tired after a conversation with this person. OK, so... you now recognize what this person is doing and stop your emotional investment. Sure, you can still listen if you want (I wouldn't, but that is my take), but know that you cannot invest yourself in helping this person solve anything. You are not being are recognizing motivation and choosing how you are going to respond to it.

Either recognizing what motivates ourselves or other is valuable. It is a tool you will want to use often. It will make a difference in your own happiness and for others, too.

Constructive...destructive? It is up to you.

With respect and affection,

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