Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's motivating you?

Here is an article I wrote for Ezine Articles:
In gratitude,

What's Motivating You?

What motivates you to act a certain way or say or do certain things? 

When we are living 'unconsciously' most of our actions or decisions are based on patterns of behaviour and thought processes that we have learned from our past interactions with our 'tribes'. These tribes are our family, both our parental/birth family, and any expanded family that now includes wife/husband and children. Our tribes also include our community or social networks, our work contacts, political affiliations, religious community, ethnic and cultural background, as well as the entire global framework and network. 

These 'tribes', or first relationships, are where we learned all our attitudes, our belief systems, and our habits or behaviours that we rely on when we interact with life—with all its colourful people and situations. They define how we view others, and just as importantly how we view our selves, our place, and our status in each of these relationships. That is A LOT of influence.

At some point in our lives though, we need to understand that these beliefs that were created so long ago, when the 'tribe' spoke for us and through us, may not be what we need now. Just as when you grow older those favourite shoes no longer fit right, some of the beliefs, ideas, prejudices, habits and behaviours may no longer 'feel' right to us anymore: may no longer 'fit' our life anymore.

Even if we notice that we sometimes react to situations instinctually—without any foresight, because that behaviour is so deeply ensconced in our minds—how do we change such deeply held beliefs and habits?

Awareness is the key to any type of change. Become aware of your motivations. Become aware of your reactions to people or situations and try and determine whether you are thinking for yourself - or if you are acting on some 'hidden' expectation that you place on yourself. These expectations are 'beliefs' that we SHOULD act a certain way. The big flag word here is 'should'. Any time you say 'I should do that, or I shouldn't do that' I want you to examine your motivation. If you are saying should or shouldn't it means you 'feel' you should act a certain way and this will always imply that there is a deep expectation on you from your tribal roots - pulling you back down into a familiar way of reacting to life. It is a knee jerk, unconscious reaction and it is because you 'feel', based on past influence, that you are supposed to behave a certain way. If you learned early in life to respect your elders and were corrected any time you questioned something a person of authority said... can you perceive where that same belief now might cause you to take criticism from a boss, parent, co-worker etc and be unable to say anything, except in your own head where you will hold onto anger or resentment. Perhaps that 'belief' doesn't fit anymore.

The fascinating part of examining your motivations and beliefs is that you will be truly surprised to discover how much of your day is actually running on autopilot. There comes a point in our evolution as physical and spiritual beings that we have to 'wake up,' to become conscious—'aware'—of what we are doing and WHY we are doing it.

Do our decisions make us feel empowered and vitalized, or do we hold onto secret desires, like really telling our boss how we feel, burying them deep inside our own tormented minds—and therefore tormented and dis-eased bodies.

Examine your motivations and the expectations you place on yourself and see if you can find your 'authentic' voice. The voice inside that says... This is who I am. Accept me for who I am, accept my choices, my preferences, my personal beliefs—devoid of the influence of others—accept me as I am.

And if they don't, perhaps its time you re-examine the dynamic of 'control' in that particular relationship. People who stand up against the crowd can be ostracized and victimized, but that's only if you let the sticks and stones break your bones. If you stand on your own two feet and find the power in self-sufficiency you can rise above their influence and truly find the peace of mind you have been searching for. It was never out 'there', it has always been inside, just waiting for you to find yourself.

Good luck in your search!
Marissa Campbell is a yoga instructor and owner of Pure Intention Yoga Studio in Brooklin, Ontario, Canada. She is also the co-author of the 'profound', 'life altering', spiritual, self-help book LIFE Living In Fulfillment Every Day

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