I imagine I’m not the only one who has read self-help articles over the years that encourage us to stop questioning our selves?  Typically, these articles are referring to those self-doubt quips that rise up within us and cause us to minimize who we are and what we believe we can become.  But, I’d like to also suggest that there are times when questioning ourselves is exactly the path to take in order to gain additional self-growth and insight about who we currently are and what we need to process in order to keep moving forward.

How honest are you with yourself?  How often do you evaluate your intentions or motives behind the actions you take or the judgments you wield?  How do you absorb the reactions of others to your words or actions?  Do you feel receptive?  Defensive?  Insistent?  It can be hard to bear witness to these types of emotions arising within us and, even more so, to begin to allow ourselves to understand where they are coming from and how we might move beyond them. 

Our intentions are truly a window into our mindset.  They are a reflection of our beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world, and we manifest our actions based on those beliefs.  We’ve all uttered the classic words, “I was just trying to help.”  The very words almost insist that there was more to it than we wanted to acknowledge.  You see, if we were truly just trying to help, and our efforts were not proving helpful, we would simply stop.  There would be no negative emotions rising up, no judgments because no part of us would be tied to the outcome.  However, that is usually not how those situations play out.  Ultimately, our intentions are much more complex, and our reactions, constructed by our expectations, create a whole world of emotions within us.  You see, our intentions also reveal our expectations – another big-ticket item on the road to self-discovery.  Whether we become defensive or jump to judgment; whether we feel like a victim or feel an anger arise; whether we feel misunderstood or a need to be insistent – these are all beliefs in action… they are all a part of our intentions, and they are also a showing of our expectations. 

Quite often our actions not only offer our intentions, but also a test of how they will be received.  And, more deeply, how we believe we will be received.  Let’s use an example:  You have a friend who is struggling in their life.  You reach out to them to offer suggestions about what they can do to improve their situation.  Your intention is to help.  But, let’s break this down.  Do we really know another person’s pain?  Do we genuinely understand the nuances of their predicament? Of their heart?  Of what success is to them in their situation?  If they are emotionally, cognitively, physically, or spiritually ready for solutions?  Likely not.  But, we expect our friend to act on our advice.  We expect our friend to entertain our ideas.  We likely expect our friend to see us as helpful, and perhaps to even express gratitude.  And, when they don’t, because they really just wanted us to listen, we will quite likely have a reaction.  That reaction will be both internal – about how no-one values us, or no-one understands us, or no-one cares what we think, or it will be external – and we will judge our friend for their inability to see how good of a friend we are.  Perhaps you’re laughing right now?  Perhaps crying?  Perhaps you’re thinking, it’s a miracle any relationships exist!

You see, so often, when we simply witness what arises in us from the responses of others, we can begin to map out where our hurts, our needs, and where our healing work might be directed internally to begin to genuinely offer to others with clearer intentions and without expectation.  This type of transformation requires brutal honesty and, at times, we will certainly need to sit in the muck of our truths in order to better choose our way of interacting with others. 

So, the next time you feel yourself wanting to utter the phrase, “I was just trying to help,” see if there are any other internal stones you might turn over that can reveal a clearer picture of your intentions. 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *