Here are five rules for engaging in relationships intentionally. But first…what is intention? And, how can we access relationships with intentionality?
To the dictionary!
The trusty Collins Dictionary (online version) cites ‘intention’ as being “an idea or plan of what you are going to do” and expands into the “purpose or goal” area. Intentionality, therefore, is the expression of the idea, purpose, plan or goal, but until it is manifested in reality, it only exists as a mental attitude, locked in the recesses of your mind waiting, waiting, waiting to come to life through your actions.
I’m sure you know the idiom “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. This idiom and proverb reflects the meaning that without action or follow through on your well-meaning, good intentions, they are useless thoughts taking up space in your mind.
To fully engage with others intentionally, let’s sprinkle in a little conscious being here also my friends because this too speaks of the mind, of your thoughts, of being fully aware and awake to your thinking, along with choosing and acting from this space intentional and conscious headspace.
Perhaps you’ve already guessed what the core rules of intentional relational engagement are, or more likely what they have to do with, which is, of course, the way you think and the way you act. More precisely, it comes down to the effect you wish to have on others, the mental attitude you have around this, and whether or not how you show up in the world matches your desire and your mindset.
Desire + Intention + Healing = Your Experience
Rule #1: Know What You Want – This is the rule where you define what is and isn’t acceptable, the rule that says what you’re willing to work toward and unwilling to keep. It’s the rule where you get to know the beginnings of intentional relationships.
Rule #2: Familiarise Yourself With Intentionality – This is the rule where you refresh your understanding and knowingness of intentions and intentionality. It’s the rule where knowing what you want, getting familiar with how to show up in the world and continually learning and adapting comes into play.
Rule #3: Know Your Game Plan – This is the rule where you lay out your plan, where you think, breathe and write out your intentions. You’ve gotten to know them, familiarised yourself with intentionality, and now it’s time to commit to showing up with intention.
Rule #4: Put It Into Action – Okay, it’s plain and simple yeah? Act on your plans, your intentions. But it’s so much more than that. This rule is about moving through life, your interactions with people, consciously and intentionally considering what you’re doing, what you want to achieve and whether or not you are moving toward or away from intentionality; this is intentionally showing up and treating people in accordance with your intentions.
Rule #5: Consistently Reflect and Review – This rule is about reflecting on how you’ve shown up in your relationships, reviewing your performance if you will. This also includes reflecting on your intentions and reviewing their compatibility. This rule creates improvement and adaptability, therefore is equally important to carry out as much as the others.
Bonuses and Tips!
BONUS RULE: Start it all over again! Self-development and relational development are constant works in progress, ebbing and flowing with the changes in the tides, adapting to new experiences, new challenges and new life situations which means we must constantly be conscious about doing the work on and for ourselves so that we are consciously and intentionally working on our relationships.
Self-Reflection Tip: You must reflect on yourself, on your thinking, your attitudes and beliefs, as a means to improve, adjust, learn and grow. Without self-reflection or the ability to dissect and resurrect yourself, you are simply stuck in the relational experiences that you already have.
Helpful Questions To Define Your Relational Experience Desires: What is it that you wish to experience? How do you want to experience others and what experience would you like others to have of you? These are helpful questions to understand the impact and effect that you are wanting to intentionally seek and action.
Setting intentions must always start with defining your desired outcome, without it you have no compass to orientate your actions toward.
From defining your desires, including how you want to experience your relationships, your intentions are born and must be considered consciously and consistently.
Inner work must always come next, self-reflection, stepping outside of your circumstances and adjusting beliefs and attitudes, behaviours and habitual contributions that don’t serve your desired experience or outcome. From doing the inner and conscious work, your healing occurs.
As healing occurs, you shift, you change, you adapt and experience the world, and your relationships, in the way that you intend.
P.S. I know it’s a challenge to live consciously, and intentionally. It’s an outright pain in the arse to do so sometimes. But, come back to intention, to being conscious about your life as often as you can because it will make a difference in your system of self, your relationships and your systems of life in general.