01 Sep Set Your Intentions
On the altar of credit where credit is due, I need to tell you that this idea came third hand to me. My wife, Kimberly, sent me a video to watch with a note saying that this might be something good to think about for my blog. The video was by Mel Robbins, who is a TV host and motivational speaker, and made on the day she was dropping her daughter off at college. What she had to say really resonated with me and aligned with some things that I say to therapy clients on occasion. So right off the top, thank you Kim and Ms. Robbins!
The idea is this. Robbins notes that these are complicated and emotionally charged times we are living in and if you add on a transition or other circumstance that might further charge your emotions, it is pretty easy to get swept up in the wave and perhaps react or act in a way that is not helpful or representative of your best self. She was talking about this while she was waiting in the car for her daughter to complete a task and admitted that earlier she had kind of lost her cool at something that happened. She was committing in advance to be more aware of the potential of another emotionally charged moment and she was committing to pausing and reflecting when she notices the emotion and choosing a response that was less incendiary than a reflexive one might be. She said she was choosing to be pleasant and helpful and positive throughout the rest of this emotionally packed day. She called it setting her intentions.
At the end of the day, she told her daughter about the commitment to intentionality that she had set for herself and asked her daughter how she felt it went. Her daughter confirmed that the day was (surprisingly) pleasant and that their exchanges were positive throughout. I’ve dropped kids off at college and know this can be a packed and emotionally draining day and so I say, “Good for you, Mel Robbins, for making it work.”
What this means for you is hopefully clear. You are living in this intensely charged time and you too will face moments that have potential for getting you going at a highly emotional level. I agree whole heartedly that if you take the time to think on these things BEFORE they begin and set your intentions PRIOR to the situation, you can create a great chance to avoid unnecessary conflict and make these moments much more positive. Another way of saying it is you can prepare yourself to NOT take the bait; bait that is intentionally or accidentally thrown out by others or just by the context itself. You can choose to smile and be positive and let the stingers bounce off. After you do this, take a minute and reflect on those moments that, had you been less intentional, you might have fallen prey to the impulsivity that causes sadness and regret. Then hear me say, “Good for you, friend, for making it work!”