During the interactions, the experiences, the stories we tell ourselves, several times we end up just circling back to the same emotions, conflicts and turmoil that we are the only ones responsible for!
Instead, we can have more leverage into letting the repetitive or toxic thoughts to simply flow, trying to perceive the message and meaning that they want to give us, as usually they’re pointing out to something deeper that needs resolution.
Self‐Determination Theory (SDT) has been focused on formulating such broad principles, testing their generalizability across contexts, and making clear predictions concerning how contexts affect subsequent action and experience (1).
The theory is explanatory, depicting environmental and social supports and thwarts that affect motivation and the development of capacities for self‐regulation.
Unlike behaviorism, SDT would begin by focusing on intrinsic motives and propensities that emerge from within the person, and how the environment, rather than causing or programming these motivations, either supports or thwarts these natural propensities (1).
The SDT theory applied to our own habitual life experiences and thought patterns, give us the amazing power of regulating more than controlling every single thought or emotion that happen within us!
Leaving the space of becoming a victim of our own past stories, tribulations, assumptions and imagination to recreate a toxic environment that many times is not even real, is just based on false assumptions that you’re creating in your mind leaving the power to the negative thoughts and patterns that you might have and that you were influenced by in the past!
Is taking the power back to you and using your own volitional power to focus more on what you want to happen rather than what the permissive thoughts lead you to believe!
Can you even imagine a more self-regulated society that wants to take ownership for what is happening to them instead of blaming circumstances?
Of course, that this is not at all a narrative that undermines the relevance and impact that many past circumstances had in your life, but it is more a way of using them as guiding lights into a more proactive, growing and transforming experience that will for sure allow you to be a higher version of yourself!
And there are several famous and “normal” individuals that have demonstrated the power of using their hardships to recreate a cleaner life, a stronger mindset and being those individuals that are worthy of our admiration, but also, they’re paving the way for many of us to perform the same kind of feats to strive for a better life!
This is exactly what nowadays the current generations and the coming ones need to understand, in order to pursue a different future, we need to aim to become a self-generating motivation individual that also has compassion for those moments where your mind and body are asking to be at peace and have some reflective spaces to learn about yourself!
When operative, autonomy reflects full functioning, as the individual is fully engaged in activities, with awareness, congruence, and vitality, attributes that are manifested across multiple experiential, physiological, and neurological systems.
Intrinsic motivation, being a prototype of autonomous motivation, was thus an entry point for a broader view of the active, integrative nature of self‐organization (1).
Learning to use your autonomy is what you do every day in the activities that you perform, however you allow that to happen because many of them feel as an obligation, but what if you could also design your life around the experiences, encounters, learning experiences that you really enjoy doing and you feel more energized when performing them!
This is exactly what is missing sometimes in our lives and this is what give us more bandwidth into regulating our mood and releasing the toxic cycling thoughts easier, because you’re performing an activity that doesn’t even allow space for the negativity to enter!
The SDT theory also encompasses the different body mechanisms that we have to help our mind calm, relax and pursue a different path to arrive to self-regulation! For instance, meditation, having time to let your mind be at peace, has demonstrated the amazing power of giving you a glimpse into the kind of mental hygiene that you need!
I’m calling it mental hygiene, because we’re so programmed to live in the external noise, that we forget that the internal world of our mind also needs that space to allow peace, to relax in terms of learning to perceive your own breath and experience a wealth of biochemical signals, messages and processes that will work for you in order to arrive to a more overall peaceful perspective!
Developing coping mechanisms is not really helpful when reaching a homeostatic internal state, as we’re just replacing something that bother us with something that feels less uncomfortable but we’re not dealing with the underlying issue!
We need not introduce or expose individuals to damaging conditions to help them grow; adding toxins to the waters of childhood is not sufficient to create “resilience.” Instead, resilience concerns how individuals respond to these threats and deprivations. SDT research suggests that resilience is facilitated by support for autonomy, scaffolding of competencies, and a sense of acceptance and connection (1).
This can be explained with the experiences that we lived during our childhood, which by themselves are not going to produce an effect of being transformed into resilience, unless we give them some meaning, direction and we start using them to learn more about our inner skills, transitioning to accept them and finding the most important connection with ourselves to preview the path we need to follow to heal them!
Children, adolescents, and young adults will come upon “hard knocks” on their own, and when they do, those with a back- drop of love and support will, SDT predicts, handle them better.
Momentary experiences of need frustration, especially if they are mild or moderate, can elicit more restorative attempts to overcome the experience of need frustration, and even energize subsequent effort (1).
Our future can be a lot more promising if we just accept that life will be filled with those ups and downs that we need to experience in order to create more character, resilience, knowing more about ourselves, accepting more who we are and where we came from and finding meaning in our rich stories to pursue a higher purpose in life!
Trying to avoid, overprotect our children for many of the hardships that they have to live according to their own age and skills just creates a less adaptive generation that we’re actually witnessing right now! Many individuals of the later generations were raised in bubbles trying to given them “the best” of what parents didn’t have and the consequence is just young adults that behave as teenagers!
Part of our human experience is facing those difficult decisions, becoming gradually independent, learning new skills to be responsible, knowing our environment to adapt, and more than just coping with situations, discovering the amazing arsenal within us to accept, find meaning and regulate oir own emotions!
In summary, a meaningful experience can only be defined by you, can only be heightened and enhanced by the level of challenges that you dare to solve, the different and creative ways that you can find to upscale your vibration, to end up in the other side of the experience, where you can witness your past and previous versions as a lower-level experience that you need to live in order to get to your best version!
Resilience in my particular point of view and assembling the research in the field, is the gathering of challenging experiences that you have learned to integrate in your set of inner tools to face what is coming and to feel worthy, loved, accepted and eager to keep living at your highest expression!
1) Ryan, R. M., Soenens, B., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2019). Reflections on self‐determination theory as an organizing framework for personality psychology: Interfaces, integrations, issues, and unfinished business. Journal of personality, 87(1), 115-145.