Turning Defense into Acceptance of Accountability

Recently, I heard myself say, “I didn’t intend to…” From my self-protective, bubble of limited awareness persona point of view, this statement makes sense. This deflection, however, resists acceptance of accountability. I don’t question my defense because that would expose something I’m hiding on purpose. What am I hiding? My fear of culpability!

Why do I fear my accountability?

What Can I Do to Reclaim My Accountability?

“I didn’t” and “I’m not” (negations) often offer me an easy indicator of defense. Whenever I hear a negation (n’t, not, never, no, etc.) come out of my mouth, I can assume I’m in defense. Whenever I hear you say those words, and feel your defense, I can assume I’m in defense, too. Defense is defense no matter who shows it because it is I who perceives it. Defense is just an indicator, and so…

Rather than shoot the messenger, my mirror, I can pay attention to the message. Once aware, I’m in a position to accept accountability. To soften my defense, I can use my language to remove the negation out of a defensive statement. Then I have something to work with. “I didn’t intend to…” becomes, “If I did [intend that]…” Then, inquiries into hidden intentions can arise.

The following self-inquiry questions can perhaps lead to self-awareness and acceptance of accountability. Referring to our example above, “I didn’t intend to…” Once I calm my protective persona’s defensive posturing, I realize it’s just an indicator, a message to myself about my unconscious intention to survive.

I can then question that intention by inquiring about how I feel concerning the message. Based on that feedback, I might ask myself, “If I did intend to [do that]…,

  • Who did I believe I was to intend the outcome I observed?”
  • Why did I intend that outcome?”
  • How do I feel now about what happened then?”
  • What do I intend now?”

This inquiry starts a process of acceptance of accountability for my creation. Evidence of acceptance:

  • I would hear few or no negations in my communications.
  • I would hear connecting questions like, “How can I help us reconnect]…?” and “What do you need [for the relationship to reconnect]?” and etc.
  • The other person would report feeling cared about.
  • My body and mind would calm down.
  • A sense of profound joy in connection.
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Aced Out! A Blue Jay Metaphor

Sometimes, nature provides an obvious metaphor for me to enjoy and incorporate into my life. From their acrobatic flight style to their azure color, we love blue jays, Several live close to us. We also enjoy their apparently playful nature.

We put unsalted peanuts out on the back porch occasionally and enjoy watching our little jays sort through, pick out, and fly away to secret them.

The jays don’t eat the peanuts. Rather, they fly away to bury them. We later find peanuts in our garden beds, our compost pile, in our grassy areas – everywhere.

We lay out peanuts and then watch from our vantage point above the action. The fun begins when more than one jay notices the peanuts, which is common because we call them when we put the peanuts out.

Aced Out!

One jay I’ve named Ace after the Toronto Blue Jays mascot busies himself chasing the other jays away from the treasure hoard. There’s plenty for everyone, but Ace apparently believes otherwise.

Ace misses out on the feast because he is so busy chasing his competitors away. Chasing away each of the other jays, Ace works himself to exhaustion. Meanwhile, his companions fly in behind him and swipe every bit of his hoard. In the end, we see Ace standing by himself on the porch with no peanuts to enjoy.

It appears he has lost his hoard to his companions because he sees them as competitors. Thus, perhaps he actually lost out to his own fear, greed, and sense of lack.

Had he shared his hoard with the others, he would have had his fill. Because of his fear-driven belief in lack, his need to protect what he believed was his alone, and his greed, he left himself with nothing.

Ace repeats the performance every time.

A Metaphor for Me

I’m looking at all the times when I felt lack in my life – and what I did about it. How I’ve chased away others because I feared they would take what I believed was mine alone. How I’d sought to protect what I believed was my property by warding off others – rather than enjoying the abundance with them. All those times when, while I was away fortifying my belief in lack, others enjoyed the bounty I refused to see.

And most important of all – what will I do with the lesson of this metaphor? Will I reach out to connect with others or continue to chase them away? Will I join in the feast or continue to busy myself working to satisfy a need that isn’t there?

There’s a lesson our beautiful jays are showing me. What will I learn from it?

Will I continue to ace myself out or will I choose another way?

Thank you, Ace!

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Convoluted Identity, Convoluted Intention

In my bubble of limited awareness, I believe I know myself. I know what I want and need. I know my intentions. Then, why does life seem so uncertain when, at times, I don’t get what I intend?

My Convoluted Identity

I have my own story line based on my philosophies, which often get mixed with the story lines of others. This convolutes my identity, making it difficult to act with a sense of confidence. Sometimes it feels like I’m pretending to be what I deep down don’t feel is me – a lie. That lie affects all my relationships because it affects my identity, the central character in my story.

Especially when I’ve sabotaged my efforts, I feel there’s more than one me at work in here. That someone inside me is acting as a mimic of someone outside me who doesn’t like me much. Thus, the sabotage.

Sometimes my intention works out – though it often feels like it does in spite of my convoluted identity. This makes it sometimes difficult to have a clear intention.

Confusion on Top of Confusion

Feeling unclear about who I am can make it difficult to know who someone else is. This because I unwittingly externalize my unclear identity onto others. I feel confused and so, through transference, I perceive they feel confused. We’re confused! Within this confusion, I provide myself the perfect patsy upon whom to place the blame: you!

This often appears when my behavior is based on an attempt to be someone or something else – a persona.

Underlying every intention lie philosophies that identify who I believe I am in story form. I mostly learn who I think I am through feedback from others. And even then, I’m perceiving through a persona, an imagined identity, the result of convolution. Thus, I’ve created confusion on top of confusion!

Convoluted Intention

In the manifestation game, I’m always interacting with my beliefs. Sometimes I get what I want. I always get what I believe I need. No matter what, how, or why my intention, I’m going to get something I believe I need. What happens when I don’t know what I need because I’m unclear about who I am?

The “secret” to understanding the relationship between intentions and their effects is that

  • Everything I perceive manifests my intentions
  • Manifestation illustrates intention

I illustrate who I believe I am through my intentions as manifestations that appear in a metaphoric, meaningful story. A story made arcane by the convolution of identity and intention. To cut through the arcaneness of my story, I recognize that my memories and impressions about my experiences affect me today. My memories may be more than a series of historical documentaries. They may be illustrative stories about me. Thus, I might entertain some questions aimed at my memories:

  • What does that memory illustrate about what I believe today?
  • How does that memory illustrate who I believed I was in that experience?
  • Why do I continue to justify that belief today?
  • Who was I then and who am I now?
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Self Inquiry and Doubt

In my bubble of limited awareness – my first intention is to survive. One lives by being right and dies by being wrong. So, my first intention is to be right and survive.

Right = life
Wrong = death

This is not just for the survival of my body, it’s also for the survival of my thoughts and emotions. I use “I’m right” thinking all the time as preemptive defense against any possible threat to body, mind, or emotions. Because mind doesn’t do feelings, it must attempt to “translate” them in order to effect a complete self-convincing defense.

Where right = life and wrong = death, thought + emotion = convincing reality

Without questioning feelings with an intention to learn who I truly am, mind assumes it’s on target with its defense to keep me believing who I think I am. Thus, adding to a spiral of “wrong” feelings that mind tries to respond to with defense.

What happens when heart and mind lose trust in each other because of this continuing conflict over survival?

Questioning and Doubt

I can’t doubt myself because that feels like being wrong. The only kind of inquiry of a personal nature I practice is to divert questions about me to perceived issues with/in others. “Why is that guy such a jerk?!” “What’s her problem?!” and etc.

In nature, creatures protect themselves from being vulnerable to predation. Humans apply this principle to their psychology. This appears as defensive mental and emotional states, behaviors, and perceptions. To protect myself from psychological threats, I present an unquestionable and persistent “self-image.” This persona defends all intentions from even the possibility of threatening questions.

I especially avoid provocative questions like:

“Who do I think I am?”
“Why do I keep messing up?”
“What’s wrong with me?”

These questions are driven by an intentionally combative persona bent on provoking defense. Inquiry based on defending my negative self-image can provoke further defense to validate my ever-growing need for a feeling of safety.

I must feel safe enough before I respond to an introspective question without defense. Especially when that question comes from the outside – like when you ask me about me. To allow you to question me is to introduce an element of doubt, which implies vulnerability. I have defenses at the ready for even the slightest perception of vulnerability!

With my ever-growing need for safety, and belief that questioning exposes me to threat , what are the chances I’ll allow a truly introspective question?

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A Competition between Stated and Unstated Intentions

In our previous post, we defined two types of intention. Each is a projected metaphor of belief about self that appears to satisfy an internal need to reclaim who we think we’ve lost.

  • Stated – A conscious plan to satisfy an internal need through external physical means.
  • Unstated – A need seeking satisfaction through internal non-physical means.

Unstated intentions can be exposed with “becauses…” Ex: Stated intention, “I intend to get that job!” Unstated intention, “…because I need to be okay.”

How might those intentions appear in an illusory perceptual world? In an energetic environment like our universe, consciousness perceives as a result of resistance. Perception of metaphoric projections of belief, therefore, represent resistance to self. Although perception affects appearance, appearance must mean something other than my perception of it. And so must intentions!

Maybe this accounts for why so few of my stated intentions turn out as I consciously intend them. My stated intentions all too often look more like wishes than plans. For example, “I intend to get that job.” Without a specific plan as to how I might accomplish this intention, I’m basically stating a wish, “I wish I had that job.” In this no-plan case, I’m expecting the entire universe to shuffle itself around to accommodate my wish. LOL – Not likely!

Confusion, Anyone?

Maybe I’ve developed a confusion about intention. Perhaps we can clear the confusion with some examples of each type of intention. There may be more types of intention than the two we’ve introduced in this article.

Stated intentions – as relates to external influence based on an internal perspective of self survival within an environment :

  • choice and accountability
  • form and function as human
  • body and gender
  • self awareness and mimicry
  • associations and reproduction
  • judgments, justifications, and apathy
  • benefits, threats, and defenses
  • behaviors, habits, and patterns
  • pleasure, pain, and other
  • preservation, destruction, and change
  • limitations, opportunity, and loss/gain
  • personality, cooperation, and competition
  • experience, memory, and imagination
  • education, beliefs, and perspective
  • race and cultures, and philosophies
  • life, death, and other

Unstated intentions – as relates to internal influence based on external survival – Why I:

  • react emotionally and mentally towards my environment
  • think and feel the way I do about who I am in relation to my environment
  • feel some things are important and other things aren’t
  • think and feel some people are important and others aren’t
  • feel the way I do in my relationships is everything to my survival
  • feel some things are fun, safe, connecting and others are dangerous, and etc.
  • believe my true feelings are about right and wrong
  • really do or don’t value my life
  • look, act, and do what I believe about myself
  • have habits, attractions, repulsions, and triggers that affect things and people in my environment

Representations

My perceptions are made up of symbolic representations of me and my environment. What should and shouldn’t represent me and my environment For example, I associate love with hearts, smiles, hugs, forgiveness, patience, kindness, respectful, and etc. Anything other than those symbols representing love, as I need to see it, represent something other.

My body, thoughts, and feelings respond to my judgmental symbols even when I’m consciously unaware of them. These deep-rooted biases can affect me and my environment in so many ways, like denying what’s right in front of me and attacking what I feel challenges my truths.

Intentions for my inner world and my outer world must remain intact regardless the cost. Backed by memories, my biases can defend my truths with extreme prejudice. And by acting out my indignant displays of positive and negative reinforcement, I work to protect those interpretations I impose on my intentions.

These symbols often hide from conscious awareness in a defense of blinding bias. Because of this defense, no stated intention is ever clear about its illusive unstated intention.

The Intention that Gets the Attention Wins

In the competition between stated and unstated intentions, the one that gets the most attention wins. Interestingly, this principle of attention works exactly the same when it comes to needs. That is, the need that gets the attention wins.

Might there be a direct relationship between needs and intentions? And might attention play a critical role in that dynamic?

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