The term “intentional living” is thrown around a lot in the blogosphere and world, but what does it really mean? I live my own life with certain intentions and purposes, but when someone says they live a “simple life” or “intentionally” does that actually define anything at all?
So I thought I would take a few moments to talk more about intentional living and how you can implement your own purposes into your life.
What is Intentional living?
Intentional living is a loose term used to define a lifestyle or a way of life that a person has created which follows certain personal values and beliefs which they hold important in life. The main concept of intentional living is for one to be aware of their fundamental beliefs in life and their willingness or efforts to reflect these beliefs in their behavior in relation to their conscience and environment. In some cases, when changes are drastic enough, individuals with the same beliefs and values come together to form intentional communities.
There are many examples of intentional living. Some of which are co-housing, ethical living, frugal living, simple living, suitable living, vegetarianism, and some religious lifestyles. There are many themes and areas of human interest that mainly contribute to what is considered “intentional living.”
Intentional living is living a life with a vision. You set the course for your own life, setting your own direction in the way that you want your life to be. It is a desire that comes from within you, or from factors and circumstances that resonates what you believe in. It is becoming more conscious and being able to navigate your life along the path that you have set for yourself.
Intentional living principally involves a two-step process of consciousness and intentionality.
The first one, consciousness, puts focus on the act of becoming aware and remaining aware of not only our surroundings but also of internal processes. What am I doing? How am I relating to others? What am I feeling? What is my purpose of doing things or saying things?
Intentionality, the second process, is the act of being careful, selective and pro-active with the actions that we display. With awakened intentionality, we are more aware of our actions and our chosen response. Intentional living allows people to be mindful of our surroundings as well as how we interact and relate with others. It shapes an individual to act based on personal integrity. We are made accountable for our own actions, behavior, attitude and response to situations.
How to Start Living Intentionally
- Take responsibility in monitoring your own actions, attitudes, intentions, motives, language and etc. You are in charge of yourself, your own life and not that of others. By doing so, you are able to gain insight about yourself and how you chose to live your life.
- No one person in this world is perfect. Therefore it would be right to assume that people are working from good intentions. Accept that every person commits mistakes and be gracious about it.
- Be sensitive in your dealings with other people. Speak with sensitivity and share your truth with humility keeping in mind that what you speak is a perspective but not The Perspective.
- Always show respect to another person by hearing what others have to say. Give others the chance to express themselves rather than already mentally formulating your response.
- Never resort to name-calling, judging other’s behavior and attitude with negative labels. Put an emphasis to honoring your own integrity.
- Choose to live a life of intentionality and make it your commitment. End each day with an expression of self-gratitude. The choice to live with intentionality is a choice made out of courage. It is one that deserves validation and affirmation.
- Develop your own plan and purpose for life, and set goals of what you’d like to achieve. Then break down those large goals into baby steps and start tackling a few of them every day to build your foundation and ensure progress.
My Intentional Living Ideas
For me, intentional living involves creating the ideal lifestyle for myself and my family. That involves working from home with a goal of my family being able to work together at some point, having the freedom and financial independence to live comfortably in the city of our choice, doing work we enjoy.
I strongly believe that local businesses should be supported as long as they put in a good effort of their own — I don’t think we should reward poor service or products because competition just doesn’t allow it. I buy fresh, wholesome food nearly all the time, cooking for and with my family almost daily. Life is too short for bad food and unfortunately many places charge a fortune for food that isn’t complicated or made with expensive ingredients. Processed foods rarely enter our home.
We now strive to live a less complicated life, where having more stuff doesn’t mean a better way of living, and think twice about our purchases and what we bring into our home. The less we have, the happier we seem to feel. So we have been doing our part to not only lighten our load, but pass on what we can to those who can benefit from it. Building community and facilitating compassion for others should be a primary concern for all of us — but we often let the daily stresses of life kill our appreciation for those around us.
And finally, living a healthier life which will help me to live longer and happier without need for medical care is a big concern. So we eat healthy, run often, drink lots of water and still are happy because of those actions, not feeling deprived. 😉
Do you try to live your life with purpose? What tips do you have for others who would like to start walking a similar path? What is your intentional living plan?