When we talk about motivation, the usual view is that we are either motivated or not motivated.
It feels like that, especially when procrastination kicks in big time. And we simply feel too lazy, too distracted or too unwilling to do whatever it is we ‘should be doing’.
But i would like you to consider a different view. A view that we are always motivated. The question is: motivated to do what?
What are you motivated to do today?
Sometimes what we are motivated to do feels like self-sabotaging. BIG TIME! And it is obvious then that the motivation is not heading where we want.
But there are many times when we think we are motivated and we do things and even achieve things, but it still doesn’t feel all that great. or we do things, push and push, and do and do, and somehow end up not moving forward at all.
This can be because we use unhelpful (to say it mildly) criteria. Or because we have no clear direction or vision. usually both.
There are many unhelpful beliefs, criteria and motivations that we develop over time. One of the most devastating things we use to push forward is being mean towards ourselves. Rejecting, criticizing, punishing, penalizing, torturing our own minds and bodies in order to push forward, to achieve things, to be better than we are, to excel. All to eventually reach some place of perfection, where we could say, i am happy now. I deserve to feel good about myself.
The funniest thing is, we rarely notice these things. Because they build up over time. Because they are slowly becoming ‘normal’ and ‘natural’ and a ‘part of who we are’. And yet, don’t be fooled, there is nothing natural or normal about these motivations. Beating up on yourself is what keeps you stuck more than anything.
But there is another motivator that we rarely notice – doing things to impress, to gain some approval, to prove that we deserve, that we are worthy and valuable, to gain some meaning or purpose by being positively appraised by others. Not necessarily by pleasing them, but by presenting ourselves in a positive light, by wanting to achieve things not because they are enjoyable and fun but because we want others to say, oh, you are someone, you are successful, you deserve.
What is it that we deserve or try to earn and gain may not be clear. But it is always the same thing. Feeling good about yourself. Feeling good about who you are. Feeling good about being you.
And so few of us do.
And so few of us notices that we do.
Until things get so uncomfortable that we need to change them.
And then we usually do. Somehow. Find some relief and move on. Things work out.
The secret is to find ways, or learn some ways to do it easier, faster, and without having to go into deep despair before the things shift.
The secret is to understand that we can be kinder, not ‘should be’ kinder, to ourselves. That it is a choice. and when you make that choice, the things improve, almost immediately, and you can see the past self-hurt and self-criticism for what it is. A bad habit.