Motivation – A Deeper Cut
As the exploration continues on improving motivation, one thing that needs to be emphasized is the importance to address a problem on all levels to get the maximum results. We took a good look into the physical level, now we will into getting our mindset into proper focus.
The mental level will amaze you. When you realize how powerful you are and how to focus on this ability, it becomes apparent that we can create or destroy by how we look at things. The problem is, we have trained ourselves to think about the worst things that can happen and of course, create them. Can you imagine how your life would be different if you focused on the best?
If we tell ourselves, we “can’t” do something, then we won’t. Many people come in for family therapy believing that, “I can’t change, and I am going to be stuck like this for the rest of my life.” Then they go on to say they will always receive a poor salary, will always barely get by and debt will always mount. Then that is what they will always get. We have the power to change this if we change our focus. Another problem is when people believe it is the other person that is causing them upset. This is in error. The first weekend in graduate school, my teacher wrote this on the board:
“I am upset because…”
I am upset because he didn’t put the toilet seat down, for example. Alright, let’s look at this. I am upset, means I am making myself upset. A person may do something, then it goes through our filter and we decide in a nanosecond whether it is good or bad. If bad, our upset feelings rush to the surface. We will never change another person. Let go of the habit of changing others, since you will find no rewards in doing that. Instead, change your viewpoint and only work on your upset. So what, if they kept the toilet seat up? Shit happens. It can either upset you or not. I choose to be happy instead. “Hey, look the toilet seat is up. Cool, it needed some airing out anyway.”
When we choose to look at the situation differently, it is called reframing. In the classical sense, we say we are reframing issues as a blessing. In seeing the blessings of something, it keeps our hearts open and our mood light. Now, if you are looking for an excuse to be angry, then look at that. What do you get out of being right?
Some relationships are founded on the tussle between right and wrong. I asked my grandmother years ago, I think I was 13, why she and grandpa fought so much. She told me, it was because the make-up sex was so fantastic! Yuck!
Woundology is the habit of bonding with people in our wounds. In constantly focusing on the bad, we feel bonded. Let’s face it, it feels good on some level to fight. It brings us closer, someone is interacting with us, but do you want to have schoolyard fights in your relationships like little kids?
Why is it important for you to find fault? Does it make you feel better? Do you feel superior? I realize when I am judging others it is because I am not doing well myself and putting others down makes me feel superior. Great, so now I feel superior, am I happier? Not really.
In the Bible, it says, “Why focus on the speck in your brother’s eye when there is a plank in your own?” I am upset “because” they are doing such and such, then how do you do this yourself? Here is a big tool in psychology, popularized by Sigmund Freud. Projections are us pointing out the faults that we have in others. How do you know they are stupid unless on some level you act stupid now or have in the past? Take ownership of these projections and then set clear positive intentions to be the opposite and in this case more intelligent.
Damn, he left the toilet seat up again, how rude. Okay, I can accept that I can be rude too, so my intention is to be more caring. Suddenly the toilet seat lifters in your life can become great healers. In this example, you can choose to be upset or be more caring.
How does this pertain to motivation? At Basic Steps Mental Health we play a fun game in which people list out all of the things that stops them from living their dreams. What stops you from moving forward in your life? For years I’ve seen people list out family, their spouse, the boss, the government, and Obama was the biggest hindrance of all time. Yep, he came into everybody’s house, made them poor and sick, and whatever. What a horrible person. These are just excuses. If you set your sights on what you truly want and make small incremental steps toward that goal, you will reach it. Obama isn’t going to tackle you just before the goal line.
If you want anything, do something every single day to make that dream a reality. My friend has a rule of 5. He says that he will jot down 5 preferences each day and then goes after them one by one. When he gets to number 5 he asks himself if he wants to do 5 more. Some days he will, some days he won’t, but at least he is doing something with his life. If you sit around and wait for others to do the 5 items, you will be waiting for an entire lifetime. Aren’t there better things to do than to lay there and wait?
Why are you stopping yourself? No energy? Then change your diet and get your body moving. This should prime the pump. No social support? Get involved in therapy, a self-help group, or write inspirational notes everywhere around your home and support yourself.
Using Self-appreciation can help. Repeat after me, “I appreciate myself for…”
What do you appreciate yourself for? For example, “I appreciate myself for reading this article and learning something new.”
If you continue to try to control others and get upset with their actions, then it will zap your strength. How many negative thoughts do you have in your head a day? Each negative thought zaps your strength. But what if they don’t listen to you and go on playing the fool? Then that is their right. It is important to allow people the dignity of living their life. If you try to control them, do you really love them as who they are?
To let go of the judgments you hold toward others, get out some paper, write down everything they are doing wrong, and then rip it up. Get it off your mind and discard it. Then love them just as they are. If it is something obvious where they might be harming themselves, ask them permission before you talk about it. If they don’t want to talk about it, back off and work on getting yourself back in your loving center.
I am rooting for you. You have the ability to get off of your ifs, ands, or buts, and make something out of your life.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.
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