What matters is connected to a person’s belief system.
If family matters one makes choices to care for family above other things. If money matters then making and keeping money has a higher priority than relationship.
From an existential perspective, it is a general rule of behavior that people do what they want to do, so when someone says they are doing something they don’t want to do then they are not focusing on what really matters in the situation. Because we are always acting in our best interests according to our belief systems. So if a person says I don’t want to do this then you have to say then why are you doing it and then you will discover what matters or what is the motivation for the behavior.
In a way this is a figure-ground perspective issue.
Knowing oneself is a function of knowing what matters; when one knows oneself then living is easy, it follows a simple set of rules of acting in ways to support and keep close what matters.
When actions do not agree with or are incongruent with what one says matters then I always trust the actions as the actual thing that matters, rather than trusting the words.
I notice that many people in the world mistakenly do the opposite of this. Often people trust the words rather than the actions and then, when the truth comes out, they are confused, hurt or feel betrayed – when in reality they have betrayed themselves by trusting the words rather than the actions.
For example, If a man (or woman) says I love you and I am loyal to you and will not betray that loyalty and then you see their actions as not loyal and not loving – if you continue to ask do you love me, are you loyal, and trust their answer then you are ignoring the actions – and trusting the words.
This is how individuals stay in relationships that do not serve them by trusting words over actions. Their relationships are serving what matters in their belief systems but may not be truly supporting their authentic, whole, congruent self.
Developing an understanding of oneself requires an ability to look at figure and ground, stay present in the moment, pay attention to one’s sensory cues – what bother’s us and causes feelings, that something is off or, of anger, hurt, and fear – and be willing to let go of habit reaction patterns, and survivor scenarios as well as be flexible about how one incorporates one’s belief systems into one’s behavior.
It requires a vigilant eye to maintaining internal consistency in actions, words, and beliefs.
Most of us think we are doing that all the time.
How you know you are out of sync is when you find yourself saying that you are doing something that you don’t want to do. If that is true – if it is against your belief system, stop doing it; if you feel you can’t stop doing it then delve deeper to find what is actually driving that situation so that you can act and speak in a congruent manner.
Knowing what matters and acting from that space allows for self-confidence and increases one’s capacity for success toward their goals. Getting out of a stuck situation takes a lot of energy but once you are living in a congruent fashion you actually have a lot more energy available to you to live fully and in a fulfilling fashion.
See you tomorrow.