Why doesn’t my life just work the way it’s supposed to? What am I doing wrong?!! How can I make life work for me? I wonder if I’m focusing hard enough or long enough. Maybe my focus is on what I don’t want rather than on what I want. Can my focus affect the outcome I’m hoping for in spite of my stated intentions? What if my stated intention isn’t my true intention? Would being more specific or determined help?
These kinds of questions and statements come from an unclear understanding of self in a bubble of limited awareness.
When my intentions repeatedly fail in disappointing outcomes, could I be unaware of what I’m intending? More importantly, why?
Perhaps there is more than one way to intend something. If so, Much can be explained for my sense of failure.
Paradox of Intentions
Let’s define two types of intention. Each is a projected metaphor of belief about self that appears to satisfy an internal need to reclaim who I think I’ve lost.
- Stated – A conscious plan to satisfy an internal need through external means.
- Unstated – A need seeking satisfaction.
Stated intentions can be exposed with “becauses…” Ex: stated intention, “I intend to get that job!” Unstated intention, “…because I need to be okay.”
This duality of intentions sets up a paradox of perception. I think I’m intending one thing while the result clearly demonstrates another intention is at work. Due to my lack of conscious self-awareness, many competing intentions convoluted probabilities of outcomes. So convoluted are my intentions that I cannot discern cause from effect – even when I THINK I can!
My Convoluted Intention
By denying my intention when I don’t like the outcome admits a belief in my powerlessness. Because I feel vulnerable, I get defensive. Defensiveness, in turn, affects my perception of outcomes, favoring those that confirm my belief! This confirmation adds to my sense of powerlessness and vulnerability – ramping up my defense as a result. This process results in a positive feedback loop in which any initial positive intention gets lost in ever-deepening denial.
For example, my friend says to me, “You hurt me when you…” Feeling vulnerable, I respond with denial, “That was not my intention to hurt you…” My denial confirms her blame and adds my defense to her hurt. All of which adds to my sense of rightness concerning my need to defend. I’ve increased the probability for a heated argument in which hurts grow while compassion and understanding play a decreasing role.
Taking accountability and admitting I was unaware of my intention, confirms my part in the outcome. It also lessens the sense of need for defense, opening my heart and mind to compassion and understanding. Thus, I retain my power and set up a situation in which I can adjust my stated intention to produce a different outcome.
For example, someone says something like, “You hurt my feelings.” This is feedback for me – when I hear it with my heart rather than with my ego. I check my defenses, take accountability for my creation, and accept my intention that resulted in this feedback. “I was unaware that I intended to hurt you. However, now that I am aware of my intention, what do you need?” This opens an internal dialog in which I may ask myself, “What do I need?”
After release of defensiveness, accountability connects stated and unstated, external and internal. Thus resolving the paradox.