Meditations: On Being Intentional

Sunday, January 24, 2016

This morning I sat down with my thoughts on my journey of being intentional and the benefits it has brought.

“Be intentional,” a way of living to which I resolved just before the summer of 2014.

Before then I was the type to go whichever way the wind blew me, not because I didn’t have intentions of my own, but because I had quickly learned that people take umbrage at assertive girls. Not wanting to offend, I would subdue my speech and behaviours even when they contradicted my inner thoughts.

Like many other human beings, I have an unyielding need for consistency between what I do and what I believe; where I was unwilling to change my behaviours and risk society’s contempt, the next option was to change my thinking. So I began a process of what psychologists would call ‘rationalisation,’ essentially making excuses to validate our dissonant behaviours. I convinced myself that my thoughts alone are what define me as a person. I came to believe that my actions had no bearing on my character because they were little more than a response to external factors – a clear refusal to take responsibility.

Readers, rationalisation is ultimately self-sabotaging; it inhibits us from growth by removing the challenges we face and by providing us with a hollow sense of security. We’re safe, we’re comfortable, and we’re living in beige. For some, beige auto-piloting can eventually become vacuous. We begin to seek more out of life; we want real understanding rather than feeble attempts at manipulating reality, we want purpose, we want to define ourselves, and we want to write our own stories. It is at this point that we must make the distinction between merely having intentions and acting with them, i.e. being intentional. Merely having intentions is inconsequential; it speaks more to the intellect than it does to character. Whilst intellect is a fine thing, the woman I am - the woman you are - is defined by the choices she makes, she cannot afford for her behaviour to be determined by whichever way the wind blows. She needs to be intentional.

In being intentional, she engages with her life thoroughly and takes responsibility every step of the way. She meditates upon her words and behaviours before she commits to them. She thinks about their meaning and ascertains their purpose. She considers how they are executed and analyses their effects. It may seem like a lot of work but the profit of equipping herself with all of this insight is that she reaps two gifts, clarity and by extension, confidence.

With this confidence, she is well prepared to address any detractions whilst maintaining her integrity. She has direction and is not diminished by the opinions of other people. Further, she is well enough informed to discriminate between what and who is worth her energy, or is not. She knows when to let go. She has choices and she is empowered in making them.

She knows herself intimately and accepts the person she is.

I am that woman now: intentional in my thought, in my communication, and in my actions. I am at peace with my innermost self and the way in which I outwardly navigate this challenging world. I invite you to partake in this way of being. It will heighten your self-awareness, nurture your self-confidence, and engender self-acceptance. It will help you evolve as a person; ultimately, it will empower you. Be intentional.

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  1. Has this post been insightful? Let me know! Comment below and share your thoughts on being intentional.

    Esmé Xo

  2. Our situstions are reversed, I've been an intentional girl since 1995. This led to harsh rejection from the outside world and even my parents. Now I realise that ultimately in order to survive one must adjust to the world and play the social game. It is possible to live by compartmentalizing your authentic self and survival persona. In the end I have learned too much of anything is never good, living intentionally can become like a self indulgence. I enjoyed your post x

    1. Hey there, I'm glad you enjoyed this post!

      I can appreciate your experience as “I had quickly learned that people take umbrage at assertive girls.” But I find, like you said, that compartmentalising your authentic self is very much about survival - by 2014 I had been doing that for 18 years and found it limiting, I guess I'm a restless soul. Haha! I wanted to thrive rather than simply survive and that, for me, meant moving away from mindlessly compartmentalising and moving towards being intentional. I think the distinction is in the thought involved. We can still compartmentalise ourselves deliberately in order to navigate the world and 'play the game' - but the fact that it is deliberate, that it is thought upon rather than mindless means it is intentional and that we are in control of our behaviour and our lives.

      Would you agree with that distinction?

      Esmé Xo

    2. Very well put regarding the distinction in thought. So I am being intentional in my efforts to appear less intentional lol. In all honesty I at times wish it were possible for me to just be and not be so calculated but I guess it is what it is. Moving forward I will have to put more effort into seeing this to be a positive attribute like you have come to do.

      May we find peace in our journeys x

    3. Yes, what helps me to see intentionality as a positive experience is having the space to be apologetic. I know earlier you wrote on how even your parents/ home is a space where you have to police yourself - I hope you can find your tribe, be that in person or on social media platforms, just people who are likeminded and share your spirit and with whom you can be your full self. Take good care!

      Esmé Xo


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