I've really been thinking a lot about being intentional lately and what it means to me. It is always a topic that I visit often and wondering if I'm doing it enough, am I doing it the right way, and am I doing it correctly with the people in my life.
The meaning of intentional is: done on purpose; deliberate. We can go into a deeper meaning of intentional as getting clear upfront about what you want to achieve. You intentionally set an intention to achieve a specific outcome or result in the future that is important to you. This could be a goal you want to achieve or something you want to have in your life. GOOGLE says this about being intentional in a relationship: Being intentional in your relationships means that you have a clear focus and purpose for the connection you share with someone else. It means that you are able to identify the value in each of your relationships and are attentive to the unique needs that each one has.
This is more of what I want to specifically talk about as something took place a few weeks back that still has me thinking. I always try to be intentional with my friends and relationships that I have and I surely hope that my friends and/or family members realize that. Each day I wake up, I don't go with the intention of making anyone's day crappy at all. If I ever would or did, I sure hope a friend or family member would let me know. Simply say, "Hey...you hurt my feelings" or "Hey...why would you say that" or "Hey...don't forget about me". Something was brought to my attention and it really has had me thinking about how I'm showing up for friends or family. Now, before you go assuming, judging, or wondering...this isn't going to be broadcasted or chatted about with anyone; it has simply given me the permission to dive into my "intentions" on a daily basis and how I move forth. I say this because, I didn't do anything. There was a perception and it made me think that maybe I'm not intentionally being who I should be.
So, since this I have kind of hunkered into my mind and really thought about so many things. I've been researching a lot of living an Intentional Life! I feel that I am on the path and I've been doing the right things, but if someone perceived that as not, then maybe there's still some work to be done. Now, believe me, I know that everyone has work to be done on being intentional and showing up, but that isn't on me and maybe just maybe someone will read this little blog and be like...hmmm...I could sure do better at being intentional. So, how can we be intentional in all aspects of our lives? I'm going to list a few below.
- Take some time to reflect: Thinking about a choice you’re about to make or how something feels or how can you do something different the next time. I think by reflecting on life you can be curious and you can notice things differently. You can get a lot of "AHA" moments.
- Technology and boundaries: This is something I’m continually working on. Technology is such a part of our day to day, and very helpful, it’s even more important to be intentional about its use. It's not going anywhere, but we have the choice on how to "intentionally" use the technology. This could be by putting away devices at certain times and working to be really present with people. This is probably one of the things that gets me the most. Put the phones down when you're in company; if something is more important than a conversation than that company isn't important enough. We all have watches now that have our phones on them; I still have a FitBit that I receive text messages on. I utilize this so I can look at my watch (when it's charged...lol) and see if it's important. If it's just a text and I'm in company...it can wait. BUT, if it's important I know I can take the text. LET ME CLARIFY ONE THING...I am not perfect at this and this is ONE of the things I am working on the most is my phone usage and technology at night when I'm home with just my husband. I feel I do pretty good when I'm out with friends, not hardly even looking at my phone. NOW, when it comes to my daughter...I will answer her always, no exceptions, but a lot of times, if she's texting just to tell me about her new shoes, I'm going to say "Graci, I'm busy, I'm out with friends or I'm doing this". She is always like ok...talk later. It's easy...the technology stuff has made being intentional really really hard for a lot of people.
- Saying "NO" is okay: This is hard for a lot of people, not me. Not to sound rude, but I have no problem saying no to something just because. My time, my energy, and the noise around me needs to be protected; I'm okay with saying no. Recognizing our limits and protecting our time and energy are necessary for an intentional life. The world is SO noisy right now and I've learned to create the space I need to not be around it all the time.
- What matters most to you?: You need to figure out what that is? Is it friendships? Is it being home with your dog? Is it being out in nature? Is it just having a drink with a friend? Scheduling the time for what matters most is what's so very important. Going with the ebb and flow of life, being flexible, will allow us to adhere to our routines more consistently than when we set the bar too high. If you were going to work out after work, but then a friend invites you to dinner and drinks, do what matters to you. If you decide, I want to have that time with my friend...great, don't let the missed workout define your life; it's just a day.
- Declutter or minimize: This one I love...stuff is just stuff. If you take time to declutter your drawer or a space in your house, the reward for your mental space is bigger and better than any of the stuff that was cluttered in that drawer. I've tried to become more of a minimalist...it's working and I love it. I don't need ALL the decorations or knick knacks throughout my house, it's not what makes my world go around. We've lived in our house for 3 years now and I hardly have anything hanging on my walls and I have no shelves to put "knick knacks" on to "decorate"...it's not what makes me happy or fulfilled and I'm okay with it.
- The comparison game: Just STOP! I've been there, heck I'm still there at times. It is so hard not to compare your life (or your business like me) to someone else’s. But we are all making choices that make sense for OUR lives. So keep your blinders on, avoid distraction and stick with the choices you’ve made. And if this is feeling particularly hard, take a break from social media. Having access to people all over the world, living completely different lives, makes it difficult to not to compare. So take away the source of comparison and give yourself a chance to focus on your own life. Also dipping into a gratitude practice counteracts these feelings quickly!
- Journaling: A regular journaling practice can help us tune into being really present and make choices from an intentional place. It allows space for that curiosity and noticing. We can observe and not just react and slow down our decision making. Plus it allows us to be really in our lives, enjoying it, feeling it, which lets us live in an intentional way.
- Self Care ALWAYS: We've heard it time and time again, you can’t pour from an empty cup so take time to take care of you, so you can show up for your life. Feeling good and being rooted in a healthy mindset are pieces of an intentional life. Because if part of the goal isn’t feeling good, than what is? So we will just continue to create a purposeful life that feels really good to us and is full of what matters.
SO, what are your take aways and how can you be more intentional in life? I know where my faults are and I am working on them every single day. Each day I wake up, I know that my main goals are A) who can I lift up today B) create my work with the passion & hope that I need to be successful C) make sure my family is okay and doing what they need to live a good life D) Pray for my family & friends who aren't showing up for ME intentionally and know that they must be where they are at in their life at that moment for reasons I can't know or understand; I just need to work and worry about me. E) create a space of peace & love.
I hope this blog was good and it shows you that NO ONE is perfect and we do all try to show up intentionally, but sometimes we get scooted off the track. I apologize to anyone who I've ever not shown up for intentionally, because I know the work it takes and deserves. Together we are BETTER and we can all be Intentional together.