Loved-based Clarity

It’s common to slant your understanding of clarity heavily towards truth and power while not giving as much attention to the love aspect of clarity. The risk in doing so is that your perception of clarity may end up being too mental and lacking in the depth that emotional alignment brings to it.

So you may think you have it all figured out, but your mental models won’t feel quite right to you. You’ll look at your goals and plans, and they’ll look brilliant on paper – until you actually attempt to take action on them. That’s where you’ll often feel like you’re fighting yourself and running into major resistance. You may have a hard time finding the flow.

When this happens, there’s a tendency to push even harder on the truth and power side of the personal growth triangle. You may have this surging desire to finally take charge of the situation and make it the way you want it to be. This approach usually doesn’t go smoothly though. You’ll often feel like you just can’t muster the necessary force and drive required to push through that last bit of resistance and get into the flow state.

This situation frequently arises when your attempts to create clarity overemphasize rational or logical intelligence and underemphasize emotional intelligence.

So let’s delve into the emotional side of clarity a bit more here.

If you’ve ever been in love, take a moment to recall what that felt like. What was it like to feel deep love?

Didn’t such feelings bring forth a level of clarity, but perhaps a different type of clarity than you might experience on the truth and power side of the triangle?

Did you feel clear about wanting to spend more time with someone? Did you experience increased clarity about what you wanted to explore next on your relationship path? Did you find it easier to make decisions regarding your social calendar? Was it easy to go with the flow of what was fun in the moment? Did you notice yourself saying yes more often than usual?

Did friends or family members ever question your rationality when you made decisions based on your feelings of love? Did they ever try to talk you back down to earth or point out the flaws in your fantasies? Did you listen to them? Did you heed their warnings and cautions? Or was your level of clarity too strong for them to influence?

When emotional clarity comes into your life, it can feel like an obsession. The energy can be pretty intense. Life tends to feel less effortful and more flowing. You don’t have to spend time reasoning things out. You don’t have to push-push-push yourself to take action. The reasoning just seems abundantly clear to you, even though others may find it illogical. And action is intrinsically motivated and relatively easy; you catch yourself taking action without really trying.

Clarity that stems from the truth and power side of the triangle is rooted in prediction. You think to yourself: If I take this action, I’ll get this result. And if I take this different action, I’ll get this different result. So you’re trying to piece together the action steps that will lead to a desirable outcome. You want to see that chain of action steps laid out in front of you, with high predictability that one step naturally leads to another, cascading like a waterfall to the end result. You might even consider such plans beautiful, like an elegant mathematical proof.

By contrast love-based clarity isn’t rooted in prediction or action steps. It doesn’t involve any particular sequencing of events. It could occur synchronistically with other forms of clarity, but it doesn’t have to.

Truth-based clarity says “I see.” Power-based clarity says, “I will.” What does love-based clarity say?

We could use the phrase “I feel,” but I think that’s the obvious answer and not necessarily the best one. Perhaps a deeper way to frame this form of clarity is with the phrase “I am.”

Love-based clarity is self-identification with a path. In English we don’t just say, “I feel in love.” We say, “I am in love.”

With truth-based clarity, you might say, “I see the path from A to B now. It makes sense. I know what I have to do.”

With power-based clarity, you might say, “Okay, let’s do this! I’ll find a way or make one. It’s time to push myself!”

With love-based clarity, you might say, “This is what life is all about. This is why I’m here. This is where I want to be.”

The challenge with love-based clarity is that it can be difficult to trust it, at least until you gain sufficient experience with it. It’s a less predictable form of clarity, even after you’ve practiced it a great deal, but it has the capacity to help you move through blocks and resistance that truth- and power-based approaches often succumb to.

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Read Loved-based Clarity by Steve Pavlina