How I improved my life with one question

Oprah - Power of Intention

I’ve always loved hearing inspiring stories from different people.  Those who felt they had a bigger purpose in life and fought to find it.  For me Oprah is a great example of that.  She came from a tough childhood and followed her intuition to become who she is today. I was lucky enough to attend ‘An evening with Oprah’ in 2015.  One message that still resonates with me today is to live life with intention.

That night she shared a quote from one of her favourite books The Seat of the Soul:

“Every action, thought and feeling is motivated by intention, and that intention is a cause that exists as one with an effect.”

This video is a similar message to the one Oprah shared that night.

This message had a huge impact on me.  Before this advice I had been putting everyone else’s needs before my own.  It was negatively impacting on my mental and physical health because I never stopped to think why.  I was agreeing to do something because I didn’t want others to be mad at me or heaven forbid think negatively about me.

After hearing the message of intention I started to step back and re-evaluate my life.  I stopped giving to those who only took.  I started to notice some of the ‘friends’ I thought were giving back.  But were actually taking while trying to convince me it was in my best interest.

As soon as I stopped worrying about what other people thought of me I began to notice differences in myself.  My anxiety became easier to manage, I didn’t feel so tired and stressed all the time. Before agreeing to anything I began asking myself ‘why am I doing this?’  I began to realise the difference between helping someone because I wanted to not because I felt pressured to.

I’m not saying that you should stop helping people and only do the ‘fun’ things in life.  But instead think about why you are doing it.  For example I agreed to help someone move house.  I’ve never met them but I decided to help them because they are going through a rough time. Also they are important to my partner so it’s important to me.

In contrast, I had a close friend constantly asking me to drive them home.  They were well aware of my driving anxiety but didn’t seem to care it meant driving in the opposite direction to my house.  They could have parked closer, taken a taxi or public transport.  But saving money was more important than my mental health to them (They weren’t under any money pressure).  Every night ended with me arriving home exhausted.  I had dent’s in my hand from holding the steering wheel too tight and a pain in my chest from my racing heart.  Needless to say once I stopped agreeing to drive them it wasn’t long before I stopped hearing from them altogether.

I then took it to a larger scale and started to question other areas of my life.  All the things I had wanted for my life up until that point, what was the reason for wanting them.  I wanted to write but what was my reason for it.  I decided I wanted to write the books I wish had read growing up.  Share the advice I wish I had known sooner. To inspire people to live a life they are proud of.

Asking “what is my intention?” before deciding has helped me focus on what I want. But more importantly has given me more passion for the things I want.  They have more meaning now and feel more important.

It’s something I have to constantly work on but I find I’m happier when I take the time to ask, “what is my intention?”

 

Live life with intention

Little J

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