Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
In this two-part series, Jodi explains how motives are created, how we react or respond to them, why we need to know our motives, how we change them, and how our choices reinforce or change our motives and create the types of outcomes we choose.
PDF Version: Episode 85: Motive & Choice (Part 2 of 2)
Episode 85: Motive & Choice (Part 2 of 2)
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
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This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
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[00:02:48] Part Two
Welcome back to part two of what creates motives—what motives are. We have been talking about that motives exist in the backdrop of our lives, and oftentimes we’re unconscious of them. And we begin to become aware of our motives because we all have experience. And I have walked through on the first podcast about how experience shows up, it merges onto the freeway of your neural pathways in your mind, and depending on if you hold experience in Truth or distortion, that’s a choice you make. Wherever you put that experience in the Reality or in the distortion, you will have corresponding emotions that attach to it.
So, at the very end of part one that you just listened to, I talked to you about how emotion is quite neutral, just like experience. It attaches to your thoughts, whether they’re in Truth or distortion, and then you will have an experience. It just either will be in the Truth or it will be in distortion. And so, after you have a feeling experience, we then choose to behave. We engage in behavior; behavior will follow what the perception is.
So, you have an experience, and then you perceive the experience, and you’ll have a feeling around the experience, and then you’ll make another choice—and behavior will follow what your perception is and your corresponding emotions are. This will become your reality.
So, experiences show up, you perceive them, you have thoughts about them, you have feelings about them, and then you make yet another choice to behave them, and that will become your reality. This is where your grooves get created over and over and over again.
You have experience, you have perception, you have thoughts, you have feelings, and you make choices to behave.
So, that is why you need to become aware and awake to your choices way back at the processing of the experience stage, and make sure that your processing of your experience is in Truth. It’s very important that you do that. So here are some examples.
So, remember distortion is about self-denigration or self-adulation, and Truth is about the facts, the things that are provable, the Reality, things that are eternal, things that don’t change, things that are objective.
So, example. I had an experience a couple of weeks ago where I was driving down the road and the top was off of my convertible, and I pulled into this parking lot, and as I slowed down to pull in, there was a gentleman on a motorcycle. And I’m not quite sure why I triggered him, but I did, because as I pulled in, he swore at me, called me a very unkind word. I was shocked, I wasn’t ready for that. It was like 7 o’clock in the morning and I have this person who I don’t know calling me an expletive.
And so, I automatically knew he was in distortion, because I know that I’m not what he called me and he doesn’t even know me, so he can’t call me that he doesn’t know, and so I knew he was in distortion.
So, that’s an example of how quickly somebody has an experience, my guess is that he felt fear. I think he thought I pulled in way too close to him. He was on a motorcycle and I was in a car, and I can understand how he would feel fear by not having some kind of metal protecting him.
So, he went into distortion, he had an experience, he perceived it, he had a feeling and then he made a choice. He engaged in behavior, and his behavior was he swore at me, and that was in distortion.
Here’s’ another one. I just painted a room and people are moving furniture into the room and they ding the wall, and I go into, “I can’t believe you did this. You’re so clumsy. What were you thinking? Let me do it myself. I shouldn’t have trusted you anyway.” That’s all self-adulation, which is distortion.
Or I go into, “It’s my fault, I shouldn’t have painted the room before they moved the stuff in. I should have bought smaller furniture so it wasn’t so hard to maneuver in the room.” That’s self-denigration.
So, I can either go into distortion in those two examples, or I can go into Truth. Here’s Truth. I’m waiting for someone to come in from out of town and they keep running into hang-ups, like traffic accidents, car problems, kids fighting, and they’ve had to stop numerous times.
So, instead of me going into distortion in that experience and saying, “They don’t care about my time.” Or ”They’re not being respectful about that I need to be other places.” I understand the experience because I know what that feels like to want to get someplace and have things hold you up. And so, I have empathy, I validate, I appreciate that they’re vulnerable, and I let them know what I can and cannot do. I might say to them, “You know what, I understand that you’re having car problems, and I have to be done by 5, so just so you know, that is my boundary.”
So, that would be holding it in Truth. Or I wake up in the morning and I go to get some cereal, and all the milk has been drunk. And so, I manage myself in Truth. There’s my experience, I get up, there’s no milk. And I was really looking forward to some milk so I can eat my cereal and the Reality is, the experience is, there’s none. So, I hold it in Truth. I say to myself, “I’m disappointed. I didn’t realize that we were that low.”
I just tell myself the Truth, like, “So and so drank the rest of it last night.” I might say to myself, “I need to be more responsible and keep an extra gallon on hand.”
I hold my experience in Truthful thoughts so that I have emotion that attaches to the Truth and not to distortion. Now, even though I hold myself in the Truth, I still can have feelings that are unpleasant, like I’m disappointed, or I’m sad, or maybe I’m even mad. There was half a gallon before I went to bed and now there’s none, maybe my son and all his friends came over and drank all the milk.
I still can have intense emotion, it’s just that I need to make sure that I go to the facts of the experience and not make up a story that leads me into distortion.
So, I want to spend a few minutes talking about another form of distortion which is called denial. Denial comes after the initial distortion; it shows up after I’ve already told myself a lie, like, “My son drank all the milk and that means he doesn’t love me.” So, the Truth is my son did drink all the milk, and it has nothing to do with his love for me.
So, denial comes and attaches to the lie. It attaches to the distortion. And what I like to say about denial is that it numbs the sting of the distortion. And so, you really don’t feel the pain of the distortion.
So, for example, “My son drank all the milk and that means he doesn’t love me.” And then, denial would come in and I could either rationalize that, I could blame that away, I could minimize it, I could act entitled.
These are all ways to deny. I could compare, like if I thought that my son doesn’t love me, I might compare myself to other mothers and say, “Well, my son doesn’t love me but I am better than most mothers. I know the mother next door and she’s never even home. She doesn’t even buy milk for the kids because she’s never home, so I’m a better mother than she is.”
And so, what it does is it takes the sting of the lie, the sting of the distortion, and it’s really dangerous because now it invites me into a numbness so I don’t feel the distortion. And so, here are some common strategies that what I call “nourish” distorted thoughts, cover up distorted thoughts, numb distorted thoughts.
So, you can exaggerate. Exaggeration is amplifying shame or blame by distorting facts, like, “The party is totally ruined!” or “I can’t handle this.” That’s an exaggeration. The Truth is, the party isn’t totally ruined, and the Truth is I can handle this. I mean, I want to but I can.
Another distraction or another denial strategy is either/or thinking, which means avoiding vulnerability or responsibility by reducing situations to two simple options. Here are the options: “If my cold isn’t gone tomorrow, I won’t be able to exercise.” Or, “I just can’t handle all the stress, I’m canceling all of my commitments.” So, it’s like either this or that kind of thinking, it’s black and white thinking.
Another strategy for denial is entitlement, thinking that you deserve, having thoughts of resentments when things don’t go your way or you feel like this shouldn’t be happening the way that it is, going into a victim state of mind, portraying as powerless or an innocent sufferer with no responsibility.
Rationalizing, which means denying responsibility or mounting evidence of problems, refusing to think about things that invite vulnerability, or accountability, or fear.
You could get into blame—everybody knows how to blame—it’s avoiding responsibility and vulnerability my shifting your focus entirely on something or someone else.
Going into comparison: using others or things rather than Truth as a moral compass, often to justify, self-justify or self-abuse.
You can minimize which is manipulating your conscience by using words that distort the true picture or omit details in a self-serving way.
So, denial comes to cover up distortion, to cover up specifically self-denigration or self-adulation from your view. The whole point is to block the lie from your purview. Motive that is being driven by self-adulation or self-denigration is never changed because denial numbs the host—the holder of the lie—and motive in distortion continues in the form of co-dependency and drama.
People continue to fight with each other, act rude, snippy, blame, be passive-aggressive, fearful, submissive, isolate, yell, hate, act better or less than, all because we’re unconscious of what we’re thinking, and thus what we’re feeling, and so we knee-jerk into this behavior, this denial that reinforces these agendas, these motives. But the problem is, when we’re in denial, they cover the motives up. We can’t see them. So, we really need to question what it is we’re doing, how we’re feeling, so we can get into the Truth about our motives.
So, I invite us, let’s be awake. Be willing to look at your motives, like be humble. Which means question your thoughts, your experiences, your perceptions, your feelings, look at your denial, question your actions, your choices. Use your choice wisely to make sure that you’re choosing in Truth and not in distortion.
I want to go over one more piece, there’s a lot of information that I just shared with you. I know that your head’s probably exploding by now, but I want to share with you another diagram or another way of thinking about something. It is when we have experience, it shows up in two different manners. So, the experience either shows up in what’s called optional pain or inevitable pain.
So, I want to go back to the on-ramp, if you will. Experience. Experience is neutral. All experience is showing up to teach you. It’s not a mean thing, it’s not an intentionally trying to scare you or hurt you thing, it just shows up and says, “Hi, I’m experience, and I’d like you to have my particular experience.”
With experience, there are characteristics inside experience that are painful. Not every experience is painful. Some experiences are lovely, they’re pleasant, they’re connecting as far as feeling good, they produce safety. And there are other experiences that show up that initially have discomfort in them. And so, I have identified those as inevitable pain, and then there are other experiences, depending on how we hold them, and I call that optional pain. Hence, there’s choice involved.
[00:18:29] Inevitable Pain
I want to describe these two. Optional pain and inevitable pain. Let’s look at inevitable pain first. These two types of pain always are connected to experience. So, pain or discomfort is the result of particular circumstances. Certain situations or circumstances trigger particular feelings—painful feelings. So, for example, my spouse comes home and says, “I want a divorce.”
Now, for some people, they might go, “Hallelujah, it’s about time.” Most people would be devastated and would feel pain. They’d feel fear, anxiety, defensive, they might feel resentful, hopeless, disconnected, lonely, dread, avoidance, anger, all sorts of stuff. Pain.
I have another experience. I find mouse droppings in the box of cereal I’m eating. It’s like, oh my goodness. Pain, discomfort. I’m fired because my co-worker lied about me. My dog got out and killed the neighbor’s prize rooster.
These are all experiences that typically will trigger discomfort—inevitable pain. When I say inevitable, it means it just comes with the experience. You’re eating your cereal and you look in, you see a little black pellet and you’re like, “uh-oh.” Inevitable. It’s like, it just comes.
Experiences at times come with discomfort. That’s inevitable pain.
[20:07] Optional Pain
The other type of pain is called optional pain. Optional pain is what comes after the inevitable pain.
So, our [optional] pain comes from the stories we tell ourselves about our experiences, our conclusions, our expectations, our interpretations, our assumptions about what those experiences mean about me. It’s very important you understand that. Optional pain comes from the stories, the stories. We make up stories, and then we tell ourselves these made-up stories and they come from how we conclude, how we expect, how we interpret, how we perceive, how we assume what the experience of inevitable pain means about me. Like, what does it mean about me that I have mouse droppings in my cereal?
Our painful emotions come from the stories we choose to tell ourselves and others, which are then reinforced by deeply-held and often invisible distorted thoughts and false beliefs about our worth, value and safety. Like, I am not loved because there’s mouse droppings in my cereal.
Heaven doesn’t love me, or these things always happen to me. Or this is just the way my life goes.
Or I go to the other kind of optional pain which is self-adulation and I say, “I can’t believe this is happening to me. These kinds of things don’t happen to me. I am too good to have this happen to me.” Or, “How dare that mouse poo in my cereal? What was it thinking?”
I go to the self-adulation position.
We also tell ourselves about the meanings of these fabricated storylines by saying, “And that means something personal about me,” like I am… or you are… Like, I am no good because a mouse pooed in my cereal, or I am better than you because I didn’t have that happen to me. My cereal doesn’t have that in it, so it must mean I’m better than you.
These stories that we make up are not the Truth, and when we engage with them and believe them, we will stay in a perpetual of distortion until we are willing to tell ourselves the Truth about the story we just told.
So, my son says he hates me, and that means I’m a bad parent. That’s not true. It’s not the Truth. He may say he hates me, but that doesn’t mean I am bad. I might have done things that are wrong. I might have not been present; I might have engaged in addictive behavior, but it doesn’t mean I am bad.
I got cut off in traffic and that means I’m invisible. I’m undermined at work and that means I don’t matter. My spouse treats me like a doormat and that means he or she doesn’t love me. My neighbor gossips about me and that means I’m not safe. My friend always complains to me about our other friend, and that means my friend doesn’t care about me.
So, these stories I just make up create my optional pain. So much of the time I’ll have an experience—experience is neutral—and inside the experience there is discomfort, it just comes with the experience. And instead of putting the inevitable pain inside the experience and merging it into Truth and dealing with the inevitable pain, and feeling it, and experiencing it, and telling myself the Truth about it, I add on another layer of pain, called optional pain. Optional pain. And I say to myself, “This isn’t fair. This isn’t something I should have to deal with. I don’t have to follow the rules.”
I just say all sorts of stuff that doesn’t make any sense in Truth, but because I’m so unwilling to be honest about the experience and the fact that I’m feeling something uncomfortable, I go into this place of distortion and I add to my pain by adding optional pain to it.
So, I’m going to describe to you this image. You can write this down if you want. If you have a piece of paper, here’s what I’ve got kind of mapped out.
So, motives. Motives are the core of what’s going on, and motives get created by countless experiences that I began, when I was a youngster, interpreting and perceiving either in Truth or distortion. Let me say that again. Motives are the things that are driving me. They exist in the backdrop of my mind. It’s what supports every thought, feeling and behavior that I choose. Motives.
It’s like who is, and what is, driving all of my choices. My choices to think, how to think, how to feel, and consequently how to react or respond. Motives.
Now, motives begin to be created way back when I was an infant. As soon as I entered into the world, I began to create my motives. And depending on the environment I was raised in, my environment taught me to interpret my experiences through a lens of Truth and/or a lens of distortion. So, depending on the people I spent time with and the environment I was subjected to, my experiences were either in one or the other of those two positions: Truth or distortion. And through those many, many experiences, my motives began to be created.
So, I continue, and I will continue, to have experience. This experience keeps reinforcing my motives. And so now that I’m an adult, I can choose to use my experience and either hold it in Truth or distortion myself. It’s not just what I was taught from my childhood, I now can have my own thoughts and go, “Wait a minute. I don’t think I want to tell myself I’m unworthy and unlovable just because I found droppings from a mouse in my cereal.” That doesn’t make any sense.
But when I was a child maybe I was told that. I was told I was unlovable or I perceived that I was unlovable, and so that’s how I interpreted my experience. But now, I can have a new experience because now I know that experience is neutral and I get to project Truth or distortion onto experience. I get to merge that experience onto my freeway in my brain, into my pathways any way I want.
And so, because I have experience, it is either going to provide an inevitable painful experience or a pleasant experience. Let’s just talk about the inevitable pain. We don’t have a problem with the pleasant stuff, we like the pleasant stuff. We don’t tell ourselves stories about the pleasant stuff. Typically. Sometimes we do, but not typically.
So, I have inevitable pain. I have something that shows up. The other day I was driving down the street and I stopped at a stop light and I had my phone sitting on my lap, and I was sitting at the stop light someone texted me and asked me a question. It was yes or no, and so I just picked up my phone and texted yes as I was sitting there at a standstill at a stoplight.
And I had my convertible again and my top was down, and this woman yelled out from the car next me, “Don’t text on your cellphone when you’re driving.” Or, “Get off your cellphone.” Or something like that.
And all of a sudden, I had inevitable pain. And I was hurt, I was offended, I was confused. I mean, all these uncomfortable emotions just flooded my body, and I looked over at her as I sat there, like, “Why would you do that?” I didn’t say anything, I just looked at her perplexed, and she turned her face away from me, she wouldn’t look at me. And so, I had this inevitably painful experience.
Now, I could then choose to hold that in distortion or keep it in Truth. If I kept it in Truth, it would sound something like this: the woman said “Get off your cellphone when you’re driving.” That was the Truth. And I could hold the experience in Reality and say, “That hurt, I felt offended, I felt confused, I felt sad.” That also is the Truth.
I could then say to myself, “That’s not about me. Sounds like she’s in some kind of distortion. Sounds like she is needing or wanting to control something. It was not her responsibility to tell me what I needed to do with my phone in my car.”
That also is the Truth. And then I could let that go. Or I could hold that inevitable pain in distortion and I could try to control her. And so, here’s what it might look like. I might look at her and go, “Mind your own business.”
That would be holding the inevitable pain in distortion. Anything I would do, or say, or think, that was trying to control her or control my reaction, or control the pain I felt. Like, I could say to myself, “Don’t let that bother you. She’s just rude and mean.”
That would be a distorted reaction, because I would be unwilling to be honest about how that hurt.
So, if I hold it in distortion, then I go right into optional pain. Optional pain. I’ve already had the inevitable pain. Now, I have optional pain, and the optional pain says, “She’s a jerk. Mind your own business. Leave me alone. Why are you concerned about what I’m doing in my car?”
Or maybe my optional pain says, “She’s right. I’m bad. I’m not a good driver.” I go into self-denigration instead of self-adulation.
Or, when I’m inside that optional pain, I could go into the Truth and say, “Jodi, stop. The Truth is that she asserted herself into a place where she was not responsible. That’s the Truth. And it hurt. And you were confused. And you can forgive. And you don’t need to continue this optional pain. You don’t need to keep heaping on more and more distortions.”
So, you get to choose, this beautiful gift of choice. Choice is the catalyst for holding things in Reality, and therefore making your motives live and thrive in The Truth.
So, you have an experience, this happens to every single person all day long. You experience something, you perceive, then you have thoughts, then you have feelings, then you have behaviors.
And all the way along that process there is choice. And this pattern of experience, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors gets reinforced. So, whether you reinforce it in Truth or whether you reinforce it in distortion, you get to choose which pathway you want to reinforce, Truth or distortion. Which I just feel so grateful and thankful that we have the ability with our minds to use this gift of choice and be able to make a decision and then all of a sudden realize, “That is not my optimal decision, I’d like to reframe that and move it back into Truth.” You can always change your mind and move back and forth between Reality and Truth versus distortion, and self-denigration and self-adulation.
It is my hope that all of us will become more sensitive to the fact that experience is neutral, and watch your perceptions. Pay attention to how you perceive. When what woman yelled across my car, I was totally caught off guard. However, within 15 seconds I was very aware that I needed to not go into distortion, don’t try to control it, let go, hold it in Truth, tell myself the Principles of Truth, like, “She’s not responsible for me, that was inappropriate, of course I felt upset, or offended, or confused,” and let it go. That is my hope for all of us, that we will live in Truth rather than distortion, and stay connected with ourselves, our God, our Higher Power, and each other.
Until next time, stay connected. Bye bye.
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