I have learned that the most gratifying and sustaining form of motivation comes from within, intrinsically. Sadly, much of our world lives off a punitive or reward-based system. Most of us are doing things to avoid pain or gain an external reward.
There are countless thoughts, feelings, and variables influencing a person’s actions and self-worth. Much of these are unconscious, suppressed, dismissed, ignored, unappreciated, refuted, shamed, criticized, rejected, etc. Our self-worth deteriorates into a distorted picture of what others think and by how we are treated. We focus on external things to not only judge our wellbeing and value but also make us feel better (or worse in most cases).
I have an extensive history of being successful: captain, honor roll student, summa cum laude, job promotions, Master’s degree, business owner, married 20+ years, connected children, yet whenever anything goes slightly off, all I could see is a big fat “F” and feeling terrified of what other’s reactions may be. Most often people’s attempts to comfort felt dismissive or insulting. When I was in a depressive, stressed state and one exuberantly pointed out everything I have to be grateful for or even what I did right, it sadly only highlighted my inadequacy…that I even fail at being grateful and seeing my strengths. This may seem extreme yet this had been one of my realities I had to identify and embrace.
Now I am well aware of where this all comes from as I have dedicated my life to finding peace. Fortunately, I have many, many more moments of peace and joy yet I am human and still get triggered. These moments have grown exponentially the more I embrace my fears and follow my light. I have a history of abuse, shame, and guilt to heal. Accepting pain and negativity was the only way to survive and still be next to the people I loved and needed the most. I know from the bottom of my heart that the cast of people in my childhood was truly doing the best they could with the resources they were aware of and had given to them… You only know what you know and can’t give what you have never received.
I vow every day to give everyone the unconditional love and support they need to be honest, free, and process their pain. Our universe, body, mind, and heart have a highly intelligent and sensitive communication system that regulates beautifully when innate resources are allowed time and space to do so. It is amazing what one’s will manifests when trusted and nurtured from beginning to end. Love and connection are the ultimate inherent rewards.
The tricky part is that this ability to love unconditionally develops in our higher, more evolved brain. Our brains develop sequentially over time from bottom to top. The more consistent, reliable, and trusting support we have with someone safe, warm, and responsive when we perceive a threat – real or imagined – and experience fear, then the more optimal and secure our connections, integration, development, and relationships can be. Our pleasure-seeking and pain-avoidance reactions come from our lower, reptilian brain, which is unconscious and highly sensitive thus another’s negative reaction more easily integrates into our central nervous system and reflection of self. It can take a lifetime to unravel these connections and discover what motivates us intrinsically. To discover this, I recommend finding safe places and healthy ways to process negativity. Connect to what brings you the most joy, peace, and light to your life.
Here is a link for deeper exploration into the dynamic of avoiding pain/seeking pleasure and the parent/child relationship:
When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’ by Alfie Kohn
Take Wonderful Care,
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Positive Reframe shares resources with the intent of the positive progression of informed decision-making related to issues associated with emotional, relational, physical and spiritual wellness. While I share personal and professional perspectives, my writings reflect my personal opinion and not intended to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. This online medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and rapport building required for thorough assessment and therapeutic intervention thus the content shared on this page is for informational purposes only. To make well-informed decisions that best meet your family’s unique needs, I highly recommend exploring and researching available options, consulting primary health care providers and seek referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state of Illinois, USA