At some stage in your life you may ask yourself why do you do what you do. Human life can seem incredibly complex, at times, especially when there is a battle going on in our own minds between what we know we should be doing, what we want to do and the discrepancy that then lies in what we are actually doing. This turmoil and guilt can be painful, life destroying and can often lead towards an unhealthy self-hatred which can be crippling.
In this article I want to help you to understand why you do what you do and provide some very simple tools that will enable you to create a life change, deep within yourself, that will empower you to stop doing what you don’t want to and enable you to start living the life you were created to live.
You may often find yourself in a situation where you are doing something that you really wish you were not doing, that you actually don’t want to do. It is almost as if a compulsion takes over and your body starts operating of it’s own accord to do what it does, until it is done. Prime examples of such activity may including having an affair (you know that this is not the best way to solve any relationship problems), smoking (you wish you were not destroying your body), lying (you are sick of trying to keep up with the lies of a fantasy lifestyle), stealing (you know it’s morally wrong). You know, right now, whether there are actions in your life that you wish you were not doing, but you can’t stop. Here are a few things you need to know:
You are not alone.
Every single month, the search term ‘Why do I do what I do’ is entered into Google over 500,000 times. Yes, that is a huge 6 million people every single year who consciously search for the answer to why they do what they do.
This struggle and torment has plagued men and women throughout history, indeed, in the bible, Jesus’ disciple, Paul, explains this inner struggle perfectly;
“I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
- Understand why you do what you do.
Your body, mind, neurology and physiology are all working together to run these actions that lead you to hating what you do. In order to understand why you do what you do it is important to understand the basics of human needs psychology which states that the human personality requires: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection and Love and there are also two needs of the spirit: Growth and Contribution, to function effectively.
Your sub-conscious mind runs the actions that you hate doing in order to fulfill one of these human needs. To discover why you do what you do, grab some space to yourself and ask your sub- conscious mind why it does X (the thing that you are doing that you hate to do). Keep asking your mind why you do what you do and keep asking until you get to understand the higher need that is being met. For example, if you are having an affair this may be providing the certainty and love in your life that you feel your partner is not offering. The quest for certainty is seeking to fulfill a positive need, the way you are seeking to fulfill that need is resulting in self-sabotage. Another example may be that you are stealing, again, you know that it is wrong but in this instance the act of stealing may be bringing variety in your life.
Keep asking your sub-conscious mind why it is performing these actions until you reach the higher need that it is meeting. Once you are aware of this human need that is not being met, we can do something positive about it.
3) Meet the need – Swap the wrong action for the right action.
You are now blessed with the answer to a very important question – why you do what you don’t want to do. It is now time to swap the wrong action for the right one. Grab a pen and a journal and start to write down a list of all the positive ways that this need could be met. I have provided some examples for you but it is important that you discover the positive actions that are best for you, the actions that you could see yourself undertaking:
Certainty: Making steps to bring certainty back into your relationship – plan a weekly ‘date’ with your partner (no matter how long you have been together). Get together with friends and decide on a regular event, cinema night, bowling night, chick flick night. Make the steps to bring some certainty in your life that will provide a foundation for you to build upon.
Variety: Make a decision to do something ‘extreme’ it could be sky diving or rock climbing, you could even do it for charity. Create that goal and put it in the diary for 6 months down the road. You now have a goal. Whenever you feel that you want variety train for your goal. If you want something less ‘extreme’ start to learn something you have always wanted to learn – dancing? Learning a different language? When you start to look for variety in negative ways do something that will ensure that you start working towards your positive action that meets your higher human need.
These are just some examples, now go ahead and write your own.
- Meeting the needs of the spirit.
We all have needs of the spirit: Growth and Contribution. It is important that we remember these needs, especially at the crucial times that our body starts to run the patterns to meet our human needs in a negative way. Meeting the needs of the spirit and taking negative actions to meet the human needs that we have cannot co-exist. You can’t steal, lie, have an affair or any of the other things and at the same time contribute and grow.
Whenever your body starts running the same old patterns of negative behavior stop and think about whether, in doing these things, you are meeting the needs of the spirit at the same time.
- Gain enough leverage to stop.
The most effective way to stop any negative behavior is by understanding the devastating consequences that running this behaviour will have. This is called gaining leverage.
Often when we run selfish, negative behaviors we are focussing on the immediate benefit, the here and now. In order to gain enough leverage to stop I want you to think about the outcome of running these negative behaviors for another week, another month. If you are having an affair what are the consequences – more awkward situations with your partner, what is the effect on the children, what is the effect on your mind. Intensive the outcomes, what happens in six months time, a year’s time. What happens when the children are older? Imagine yourself in three years time and look back, will you regret the affair, the marriage break-up, the effect it has had on the kids, the effect on your life?
Whatever the negative behaviour is that you are running, to meet your human needs, imagine the consequences ten years down the line – where are you? Lonely? In prison? Divorced? Without friends? Depressed? What does it feel like? What do you see around you? Imagine exactly what your life will be like if you continually live the life that you are living now. Gain enough wisdom to know where this path is leading and enough leverage to stop and to change your path now so that your life outcome is one that is positive, beneficial and fruitful.
In the moment that you you are about to act upon that negative behavior remember the above and gain the leverage to stop.
- Bring your actions into the light.
It is so important that we have friends in our lives who love us, who want the best for us, who will stand by us, no matter what. I am not talking about people who will gossip, who will judge and who will contribute to your life in the negative. I am talking about real genuine people who you can talk to and they will see the beautiful you who exists beyond any of your negative behaviours.
It is helpful to sit down with a friend, of the above description, someone who you absolutely trust and confide in them – tell them what you are doing, why it is wrong and why it hurts you and as them if you can call on them when you feel the compulsion to run that negative behavior. Unleashing that burden on a close friend is one of the most important steps to turning your life around. If you have not got that person in your life, e-mail me, I am here for you and I am more than happy to be that person in your life.
- Before you do something you regret, pause.
After reading this article, and going through these processes you now have a greater understanding of why you do what you do. Furthermore, you also have the wisdom and the tools to help you to stop. Next time you feel compelled to run this negative behaviour to meet you human needs I want you to remember the higher need behind why you do what you do; find your list and decide on how you can meet that need in a positive way; remember the needs of the spirit – Growth and Contribution. I want you to get leverage, recall what your life will be like in 1, 3, 5 years down the line if this action continues. Finally, ‘phone the friend that you trust and bring your negative behaviour into the light.
I absolutely guarantee that if you commit yourself to the above process you will know exactly why you do what you do and, more importantly, you will will have the power to break the negative behaviors that cause you to do what you don’t want to do.
Congratulations, as you live the above processes in your life you are about to start a journey of living your life according to your Godtential (check out this article for more on discovering your Godtential) – what an incredible life!
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