Ask Yourself Why: the Key to Moving Higher


You prepared dinner for a neighbor who had a baby, you gave a compliment to your child, you ordered your son to sit at the table, you insisted that your teenager clean his room now…

Did you ever stop and ask yourself – Why do I do these things? What is the motive behind “my doing”?

There is no universal answer to this question, even from the same person. Each one of us has different motives for her actions. Even the same action can be done for different underlying reasons. For example, you might give a compliment to your child because you want to control his behavior (if you compliment him, he will continue doing the right thing). Or you might compliment him because you want him to love you. And sometimes you might offer a compliment because you have an urgent need to express your love and care for others.

Can you imagine a different outcome for the same action – all because of the motive?

That is why it is essential to connect with our higher selves so that we can connect more effectively with those around us. World-renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins and family-therapy instructor Cloe Madanes have established the Four Levels of Self-Development (the emotional and spiritual needs that empower us to take actions):

1. The need to control

2. The need to be loved

3. The need to love and protect others

4. The need to repent and forgive

Each one of us goes through all four levels. At different times in our lives we act from different “needs.” The goal is to keep moving up to a higher level.

Example: I can ask my children to clean their room because I have a need to control the environment in my house. The results: I might enforce my “need” (level 1) even if it is not for the children’s benefit. Once I catch myself and realize that this was my motive, I can choose to do the same thing from a higher level (2): the need to be loved. I might want my mother-in-law, who is coming to visit, to compliment me on my neat house, so I motivate my kids to do it “for Bubby.” (Many couples go through this stage during the early years of marriage, each taking 50% responsibility: “I will wash the dishes, and you will dry them,” or “I will go to work, and you will sit and learn.” This is not a healthy long-term stage. For better results we need to move up to the next level. Each of the spouses must take 100% responsibility no matter what.)
This brings us to level 3: the need to love and protect others. This is a higher level; however, this motive can be abused, such as if we stop our children from growing and developing because we want to do everything for them, thereby protecting them from failure.
The ultimate level is level 4: the need to do teshuvah and forgive. This means doing everything because we love our Creator and wish to emulate Him. We forgive mistakes that were done (even the ones that we made ourselves!) and understand that each one of us is doing the best we can with the knowledge and tools that we have at the time of the decision. At this level we think, What does Hashem want me to do? We bring the concept of retzon Hashem into our every action.
We cannot stay at this level all the time. Life is like a spiral, and we keep moving from “sulam mutzav artza” (lower levels) until “rosho magiah Hashameima” (higher levels).

So, keep asking yourself: What is the motive behind what I am doing? You might be in for a surprise, but the diagnosis is the first step. And then the choice is yours – you can always uplift yourself and act from a higher point.

Who said that growing up is only for kids?

Action Plan:
You can connect to your higher self to better connect to those around you.
It starts with self-awareness.
Over the next 3 hours, focus on the motives behind your actions at least 4 times.
Try to lift your motive by at least one level each of those 4 times.
Please share your experiences and findings with us on our community page!
Looking forward to growing with you,

Please share your experiences and findings with us on our community page!


Looking forward to growing with you,

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