Choice Part 2: Intentionality

Many of us (including me at times) only use intentionality of thought and feeling some of the time; some feelings still seem to “just happen to us.” You’ll know you’re in this place when you find yourself saying things like, “You’re making me so angry!”

You can move through a well-lit room much faster than a dark room, right?  That’s because you’re able to see the layout and to choose the best path.  Sort of a “dah” statement when awareness centers on the tangible and objective, but not as obvious when we think about the subjective environments of thoughts and feelings.

How did that happen?

A child first becomes aware of his body and develops intentionality of movement.   At this point he is still unaware of many things, including his thoughts and feelings, so as far as he can tell, those things “just happen to him.” Awareness then extends to his feelings and he learns to name them, “I’m happy.” “I’m sad,”  etc.  Naming his feelings gives him a measure of control.  Around the time he’s ready for school he can begin to identify thoughts, too, and gains the ability to think intentionally—to choose what he thinks about.

Many of us (including me at times) only use intentionality of thought and feeling some of the time;  some feelings still seem to “just happen to us.” You’ll know you’re in this place when you find yourself saying things like,  “You’re making me so angry!”

Hey, that’s not fair!

When I first became aware of the absolute control I have over my thoughts and feelings, I was angry;  how unfair it felt that I should be held responsible for my anger when another person frustrated me!  It felt unfair because I had never been taught how to use my intentionality in the realm of feeling before.   As I practiced directing my thoughts and feelings I began to strengthen this muscle.  Believe me; it takes a while to get good at this level of intentionality and you’re going to hit a few bumps on the road.  It takes time to learn how to turn-off the blame-reflex and turn-on creativity.  Start your practice with small easy things first,  like that person in front of you at the traffic light who isn’t paying attention quick enough to the green light.  The urge to honk will be overwhelming at first—especially if the guy behind you honks.  Just practice and watch how much better you feel about your life in general.

One final thought about awareness

No matter the level of awareness you attain, no matter how broad your perspective and vast your experience and empathy, there will always be something more you could be aware of.   Anything in life that seems to “just happen to you,” or when outside events trigger emotions you’re unable to control;  it’s because you have a dark room somewhere outside your awareness.   When you become aware of the reason why certain events trigger unwanted feelings (often unrelated past events that hum in the back of your mind) you become aware of your choices and gain control over your feelings.

Awareness Creates Choice

Choice Creates a Life Worth Living

In what ways would your life change if you had more choice about how you feel, how you behave, and the kinds of people and situations you attract or become attracted to?   Do you believe you’re limited in just how much control you can have over feelings like: frustration, anger, love, or happiness?   Do you think a person can choose to be accepting and calm in the face of very frustrating situations?   We will be grateful for your thoughts and a few examples from your life, so please share.

Related Articles: Choice Part 1:  Awareness, Responsible vs. Accountable,

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Author: Lorraine Esposito

Lorraine Esposito Lorraine@Peacemaker-Coach.com 914-410-7502 Lorraine Esposito is a certified professional life coach, mentor coach, owner of The Center for Coaching Mastery at Westchester Community College in New York, and nationally recognized author of The Peacemaker Parent, Solving Problems for Today, Teaching Independence for a Lifetime, Lorraine is the featured life coach for a popular New York radio station, WFAS 103.9 FM and is in collaboration with and featured blogger for the National Football League and USA Football adding a ‘coach approach’ to coaching youth sports. Lorraine’s client base includes CEO’s in the entertainment industry, White House and Capitol Hill public affairs staff, entrepreneurs, global TED speakers, award winning writers, new coaches just starting out, successful business women between 40 and 55 looking for more out of life, and parents needing a little help making good on their parenting promises. Lorraine’s career matches the diversity in her coaching practices. Starting out in the rural mid-west, Lorraine has owned four small businesses; the first, an automobile repair center, started at age 16. Her corporate experience is mainly in negotiating multimillion dollar contracts as the buyer of domestic in-flight food and beverages for Trans World Airlines and then as a procurement manager for the New York City Transit Authority. Lorraine’s strength has always been creatively finding solutions to even the most complicated goal. In addition, Lorraine’s 30 years as a professional fitness coach continues to add depth to all her endeavors. She has been featured in various print, broadcast, and on-line media and is a public speaker regarding personal leadership to community and school-based audiences. Lorraine lives in New York with her husband and two teenage sons.

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