What Motivates You, Will Change You

It took me a long time to peel back some of the layers of my personality. To wear my masks well, and to adapt my personality to the changing circumstances of my life. Different situations called for a different part of me. I always thought that I was one authentic self, but now, I’m in the camp that I have many selves, and that I am complex, flexible and have the ability to change/adapt if I need to. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that I have one core self that creates the foundation for my likes and dislikes but, I don’t think that I have to be so hardcore that I can’t bend my personality a little, if a situation called for it.  

I have found that the more in tune I am with my emotions, the better I am in understanding how I am going to navigate certain situations. One key predictor of my motivation is when I burst into tears from repressed emotions. When I repress emotions, which was easy to do when I drank, I become aware of what I am lacking or need in my life. Motivation is a key indicator of who I am. It is the reason why I do certain things or act in a particular way, it steers me to my goals and excites my life. Subconcsiously there are complex processes highlighting events of worth and distinguishing them from everything else around me. I don’t choose what interests me, it chooses me. This creates who I am, and it is my responsibility to pursue my motivations to develop meaning in my life, so that I feel fulfilled. My motivations create my personality, and when I am able to fully express my personality I am able to be of service to others, and makes me a happier person overall.

I find that it takes courage and discipline to really get to know yourself and take full responsibility for your life. I lack patience and have a temper naturally. It took a lot of energy and motivation for me to come to some agreements with myself to move forward from some of my bad attitude and short comings. I find that if I don’t continue to challenge myself, and unburden myself from my repressed emotions by exercising, meditating and talking it out with my close ones, I project my unwanted desires and needs on others. This I see in other people, and immediately recognize it as it happens. I have come to know that, if someone doesn’t want to take full action and responsibility for their motivations and wants, there really isn’t anything I can do for them to better their life. They need to want to do it themselves.

To really understand what motivates you, pay attention to what catches your eye, what you take pictures of most, what types of books you read, what music you like to listen to and what places you like to frequent, just to name a few. Despite life being frustrating and not always fair, keep pursuing what motivates you. To develop your personality is to take full responsibility for your life and actions and create the life that fits you best. I have learned that my life unfolds according to my direct choices, and that means that I need to decide what it is I want and then really commit. I understand now that if I decide to neglect or deny what I want or not express it to others, it is only me to blame for the life that I am living. This is a hard truth to swallow but very necessary for personality development. The challenges that will inevitably present themselves as you pursue your motivations are only learning curves and should not be treated as roadblocks. This takes patience and grit. To create the life that is best suited for your personality you have to pursue what motivates you, so that you are able to present your true personality without resentment, anger or bitterness.

When you are able to move through your changing personality over time, and express your many selves from an authentic place, you are able to attract the right circumstances and people that develop further your personality, and achieve self actualization. As goals change, when they inevitably do, you will know where to steer next, if you trust in the process and know that your actions are motivated by what you truly want you will find you are always in the right place at the right time. This is key to personality development. 

Pushing Yourself Too Hard

This morning when I woke up to a soggy wet winter day, the first thought that went through my mind was, I’m not going for a run today! That’s how the day started, and the mood was set. Negative and irritated. Cue the negative self-talk – I should go for a run, I haven’t gone for a run in a while, I should get fresh air, I’m being lazy and on and on. The “I should” statements were loud and annoying, putting me in a dark frame of mind and discouraged me from being motivated to doing anything at all. I fell down the rabbit hole. This brought up an interesting thought about motivation and the fine line between encouraging yourself to be motivated and pushing yourself too hard.

I have been told in the past, by many people that I am too hard on myself. I think this mostly stemmed from my inability to make proper life decisions and lack of values. So, I concentrated my energy on everything. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I changed my degree at University three times, had multiple long-term relationships with various boyfriends, dabbled in art, had numerous precarious jobs and was wandering from one interest to the next. I wanted to master it all. I gave myself so many tasks to complete by a certain age that I can tell you that almost none of them were completed and most of my accomplishments are only variations of what I expected I would achieve. I think this is where the pushing too hard lives. In the idea that something is “supposed to be”. The “supposed to be” lives in an imaginary concrete world and my life is not so black and white anymore. My motivation and goals are not defined by time. Motivation is something I live every day. 

As my values started to solidify my interests narrowed and it was easier for me to understand what my priorities are. I don’t have to master everything I try. I have goals, but I don’t attach too much expectation and keep an open mind regarding the process. The end product from any goal is almost always something of a variation of what you expect not the exact thing and that is ok. I was chasing an expectation and a certain outcome. Today, I am grateful for the learning process of anything I am studying or reading, any physical activity I am doing and embrace any new situation I am met with, because that is all I can control really. Relinquishing my need to control situations and dropping the rigid timeline has helped me to feel less anxious about the future and I have learned how and what motivates me.

Recently I became a new mom, and this was one of the steepest learning curves I have ever faced. I was anxious and upset that I didn’t know how to be a mom. I asked myself, why I didn’t know how to do this with ease? Simple answer, because I am a new mom. I am so quick to find short cuts to the learning process. There are no short cuts to learning something new! There are no short cuts in life! Read that last sentence again…I am still learning to be a mom.

That is the lesson about pushing too hard. Time will help you learn what you need to know. Be patient. Your values will lead you to where you need to be, the people around you will tell you who you are, and your body will tell you when you want to rest. I think our culture glorifies pushing ourselves to our limits. This in turn puts unrealistic expectations of what we can actually achieve. I’m not a super mom, or super wife or super anything. I take it in one moment at a time and learn from what the moment is trying to teach me. I reflect back in gratitude and see now that despite not checking off what I think I should have done today or ten, fifteen years ago, my experiences shaped and carved out my precious life today.

If you cannot take a moment to appreciate the hard work that is behind you, then the pushing too hard will never end. There lies a fine line between dissatisfaction/survival mode and complacency. Sometimes we need to stop, rest and appreciate where we are before pushing harder. I take pride in honouring what I have been through, how far I have come and look forward to everyday, even on the days that I forgo exercise to sit, broody, on the couch, with a warm blanket and a hot turmeric tea.