One of the most important principles I work with is: “A person is not their behaviours”
What do I mean with that?
You know, how I always break everything down into a behaviour? You don’t have anxiety. Instead we agree that sometimes you are doing anxiety…
And there are certain circumstances, situations that trigger that software program to start running. Hence anxiety (or whatever else) is not something that you have but something you do.
The value of a person
In my line of work we hold the value of a person constant. We don’t judge. We accept that everybody makes mistakes.
Which means that we are not our mistakes… You are you! And your mistake, are your mistakes. Likewise you are not your faults. And you are not faulty.
When you associate yourself too closely with the negative stuff it’s easy to get stuck with it. When you realise you are not your mistakes or faults or dodgy behaviours, then it is so much easier to take responsibility and do whatever it takes to rectify the behaviour.
The hardware is fine. The software is dodgy…
That’s the analogy I often use.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is not an excuse. Neither is it a reason to play the blame game. Of course we could blame our circumstances, the upbringing, other people, our health, our living conditions, the boss or whatever else but that has never changed anything.
Taking responsibility changes everything.
Boundaries and worth
Now, let’s not confuse all the above with weak boundaries. With always being forgiving and allowing our integrity, our values, what is dear to us and our boundaries to be trampled on. No. Not at all!
Boundaries are super important.
(More about boundaries another time) So what do we do when we are faced with people, who’s behaviours go against our values?
You hold the worth of the person constant. You seperate the behaviour from the person. But do you necessarily let the person stick around or do you spend time with them? Well, that’s up to you to make that decision…
Think about this way: They don’t respect your boundaries. It’s okay to make your boundaries clear. If they receptively overstep your boundaries they clearly don’t respect your boundaries or share the same values. And relationships work to the degree that the values are aligned. (More about that another time)
Now it’s your turn to to forgive the person and separate their actions from them. And still choose to make sure that behaviour is never repeated around you.
As a very wise client of mine once said: “I still love the person. I will just need to love from afar…”
So here is the deal: People are not their behaviours AND you don’t need to have the behaviour following you around.
Identity vs Behaviour
Here is a further distinction
When you don’t achieve something you set out to do there is huge difference between “I failed” and “I am a failure”. Or between “That was a bit of a useless move” or “I am useless”.
With the first you are giving yourself the opportunity to check it out and go “Okay I failed at that / it was not a great move, so what do I need to learn? what do I need to change? What do I need to get better at? How am I going to make it happen next time…?” You’d know you still have worth. Worth doesn’t even enter the equation. Hence there really is no room for shame or self-loathing. Winning!
I always have huge respect for anyone coming to see me. Because a lot of people don’t know any of the above until they come to see me. Sometimes they even think they are broken and need to be fixed. Which couldn’t be any further from the truth! You are not broken. You just need to get rid of old buggy programs.
The simple fact that people are not their behaviours means you can change your behaviour. It also means you can be the person you want to be! (How exciting is that…?) So you can empower yourself by breaking free from the chains that bound you to your previous behaviour and be the person you want to be.
We are all so much more than our current behaviours. We are capable of so much more if we choose to be.
The choice is yours!
Totally I am grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life. I am truly blessed.
Yours in happiness and wellbeing