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Perceptions - Practicing the Gratitudes


Do you wonder what makes it so difficult for some of us to be succeessful in keeping commitments? Have you recently made a commitment, only to find yourself wavering, stalling, and stumbling? Success in commitmentS involves understanding the motivation behind them. Of key importance are the following questions:

  • What really matters?
  • What do you think you will gain from your effort?
  • What do you perceive you have control of?
  • What do you value?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • Where does your sense of "fullness" come from (other than food, of course)?

Let me share some of the many questions I ask myself in my own life on a daily basis. "Are you satisfied with yourself? Your behaviour, your thoughts, your actions, your life?" Only when we reflect and take time to self evaluate, are we motivated to change. No wonder "Reflection" is currently the most commonly taught
"Leadership" quality. I believe we behave to control perception. Everything we do is the best we can at the time, under the circumstances, given our current state of awareness, stress and ability. It assumes we can change ourselves, our choices, from this point forward. I believe human beings are innately good. All my behavoiurs are affected by this belief. What do you believe? If you don't know, look to your behaviours, they echo your beliefs. As an educator, counsellor and
therapist having had the privilege of working in business and the helping professions for more than 25 years, I know the only person I have control of is myself. I believe we have a biologically wired category of needs: to Survive, as well as the psychological needs to be Loving, Playful, Powerful and Free. Too often we focus on the "Surviving" and lose sight of the "Living". When we attend the psychological needs and perceive ourselves as: Loving, Playful, Powerful and Free we naturally feel good about our selves and the world around us. We perceive the best of "who we can be" and experience good feelings: joy and delight, a sense of fullness. We open up to ourselves, others and to our mutual potential. When we perceive ourselves behaving in ways that are placating, sarcastic, using power-over
others, moving from fear or in ways that are inevitably destructive to self or others, we feel pain, anger, guilt or shame. We shut down, react, blame others, and isolate. Now is the time to ask yourself "Who do you want to be"? Commitments embody our ideals and reflect ways we can attend to these needs. What we value is reflected in our ideal images. When we move ourselves toward becoming "the persons we want to be", we experience the good feelings involved in becoming "whole", attending to our basic needs in ways that reflect our potential. When we perceive ourselves trying to control stuff, things, status and others, we are acting to "be something" or "get something", forgetting our values. In such cases, we find ourselves: avoiding reflection, failing to determine "who we want to be", losing sight of the target we once set for ourselves or having changed course, forgetting to identify our new target to our selves. What we believe about ourselves, others, and our ability to set targets (determining "who we want to be), controls what we can perceive. When we take the responsibility for determining a target of "who we want to be", the next challenge is to maintain this focus and to act toward it in each moment, being: loving, playful, powerful and free. When we attend to these
psychological needs, we automatically attend to our survival. Think of someone you perceive you have a conflict with: your child, boss, mother or a friend. Now imagine they were going to continue behaving as they currently do, for the rest of their lives, regardless of what you do (not that they necessarily will). The question now becomes: what would you now change, in yourself, in order to become the best you can be (in spite of their behaviour)? How would you think about: the person, the situation? your options in that situation? What would you do differently to take charge of your self? What would you do, relative to that person, to be the highest and brightest of who you imagine yourself to be? Having asked yourself these questions, what would you be grateful for? I believe all of what you just imagined is within your control. You have just practiced it! Do you like this perception of "you", more than the one you have been "being"? Does it feel better to be this you? You now have the option of enacting it! YOU DECIDE who you are becoming; by your thoughts and actions each day. This is what being successful to commitment is all about! Perception Makes all the Difference.

Watch for the next issue of "The Oasis Within" for an article on "Change; Letting Go and Hanging on"