PREVIOUS : Motivation #1
2. For the INDIVIDUAL – Cont.
f. To MOTIVATE Actions
LIMITATIONS: Es cannot fix problems – we can’t ‘anger’ something into a solution. We also need free will. Sometimes we can have a strong desire for something but then don’t create an action-plan to go after it. Es may be a driving factor in wanting to change, but they have to be combined with a desire to act, in order to become motivation. And once we have the motivation, there has to be actual carry-through, the signals sent to our muscles that allow us to move. However, if Es are too overwhelming, they will prevent us from taking any action at all.
ACTIVISM: (see ‘Purpose for Es – Survival’ post)
In 1938 Carl Jung wrote: “There can be no transforming of darkness into light or of apathy into movement – without emotion”, indicating the profound role that Es play in shaping & directing human actions.
Pro-social emotions such as caring, empathy, guilt, sympathy, and especially justified outrage …. may be used to influence an apathetic groups of people into becoming one of positive action to benefit others in need. These emotions can shape the way a group functions, leading to action-strategies that focus either on social stability or social change, depending on the problem
RISK: Action requires risk, & the willingness to take risks is rooted in our Es, which are themselves based on moral convictions – those values that do move us, not those that ought to move us.
When confronted with a new experience, opportunity or danger – we wonder: Should I be courageous? withdraw? hedge my bets? What’s an appropriate risk?
To make sense of an unexpected experience we need to interpret what it means:
Is it good for us, bad for us or irrelevant? Our values —-> generate —-> the emotions that inspire up to act.
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ACoAs have a lot of trouble with motivation.
In this context it’s because we’re so disconnected from our own feelings. ** Behind that is the tragedy of the alcoholism & narcissists in our childhood who stole from us the right & the freedom to be our own motivator.
Emotion is energy for movement. ACoAs have a huge reservoir of unexpressed old pain that weighs us down, trapping all that energy that could be used to take actions. Recovery phrases: “Feel the fear & do it anyway”, “Act yourself into right feelings”.
UNDER: ACoAs often don’t ‘feel like’ doing things – so we just don’t. We need to ACT. There are actions —
• some part of us really wants to take, but is too scared to (go to a class, make friends, play an instrument…)
• that we hate doing but need to (cold calls, taxes…), OR
• that have to do with self-care, which we don’t have permission to fulfill (staying healthy, Recovery activities, speaking up for ourselves …)
OVER: Others of us over-DO, not taking breaks when we need them (sick, over-worked, tired…), don’t take time to rest, process or have fun. It’s because of toxic family Roles & distorted beliefs that generate painful emotions like guilt, shame, FoA & S-H. Rather than allowing our emotions to guide (not dictate) our actions, staying extremely busy insures that we don’t have time to feel much of anything!
• When specific actions are important to us or if the consequences of blowing them off are dire – we need to deal with what’s behind our choice of over-action/ under-action – intense resistance caused by our rage, terror & the distorted beliefs or demands of the WIC.
NEXT: Emotions & Needs