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  • Gary Borland

#58 – Beneath the Surface



Discover what lies behind our words and choose a path to freedom.


Examining the motive and intent behind some of the things we say was the focus of the last blog. Over time, many of our behaviours have become so habitual that we don’t question our motive and intent, preferring instead to allow the autopilot to run and therefore avoid coming in contact with anything that might disrupt our beliefs about why we behave the way we do and say some of the things we say. Only by a serious consideration of motive and intent do opportunities begin to emerge that can offer us growth and freedom from some of the underlying drivers of our lives.


Central to that enquiry is an acceptance that there are times – perhaps many times – when the connection between what we are saying and why we are saying it is unclear and unexamined. Therein lies a rich seam of exploration, with us possibly held back by a belief that we are always clear about our motive and intent; or perhaps there’s a fear of what we might discover on that journey; or maybe we simply lack the tools to know how to go about it. If you believe you are always very clear about the link between what you say and why you say it, then read no further as you are one of those incredibly rare people whose life is an exemplar for others. However, if you are like the rest of us, here are a few possibilities for why we may not be able to connect the two very easily:


  • We have a story about our life, a narrative in effect, about who we are, and crucially, who we are not. That narrative is a vital part of our context – the background against which we view the world around us.

  • The narrative about ourselves comes with unexamined, conditioned beliefs that we have probably had for many years. Those beliefs determine what we see as possible and not possible – they shape our future.

  • The beliefs we have about ourselves are often contrasted with our view of others. ‘They’ are often smarter, more gifted, more successful, manage to create a so called ‘work life balance’ that you can only dream about, are more popular, and perhaps have families that are not so messy. Or so it all seems to you.

  • Experiences in our life – including very early life – can cause us hurt and pain that remain unresolved. Over the years we become good at adapting and living with the effect of our experiences, but the impact on our lives remains very real.


With that backdrop, we are likely to encounter many circumstances when we engage with people, and despite our desires, we say things that are not always as wholesome, grace-filled or encouraging as we might like. In the moment, you may not notice what’s going on. At other times you may notice but aren’t able to intervene with your own behaviour. And there will be other times when it only becomes obvious hours, days or weeks after the event. Here are a few considerations that might help you to be more purposeful and consistent with the impact of your conversations:


  • Comparison kills possibilities in our lives. Here are two Fovea Blogs about comparison:

  • Notice whether you are reacting or responding. Simply put, a response is likely to be more thoughtful and a primary difference between a reaction and response is likely to be time. If you can, notice that you’re being triggered, stop and consider what you say next.  This isn’t easy, but like developing a new muscle, it becomes a lot easier with practise.

  • The key to responding rather than reacting is to try to reframe the thought processes you notice in the time you’ve now created. A reframe might look like initially thinking this: ‘They’re being rude/hurtful/trying to put me down’ and then replacing it with something like: ‘I notice this is quite painful. I wonder what’s going on for me that causes this pain?’.  By shifting from blame to responsibility – it’s about me, not them – I can now begin to take action to address the pain I’m experiencing.


We founded Fovea from our passion to help people see beyond the stories, challenges and constraints holding them back, and in the process, transform their lives to walk in the fullness of who they were born to be. Why not have a look at our Fovea Programmes and get in touch as a new year beckons, and with it, new possibilities for your future.

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