What To Do When You Are Behaving Badly
by Daryl Daughtry, Publisher
If you believe something will be hard, it probably will be. If you believe you won’t be able to achieve something, you probably won’t. If you believe that an obstacle is too big or too complicated to overcome, it probably will be. If you believe that you have flaws and shortcomings, then you’ll exhibit flawed behavior. If you believe that you’re a victim, then you’ll act powerless. On the other hand, if you believe in yourself and your ability to positively contribute to the world you live in, then guess what you’ll probably do? So friend, what do you believe?
Good and bad behavior stems from your beliefs and your memories. In other words, you do what you do because you believe what you believe. Experiences in your life pass through this filter. If your beliefs around an experience or topic are positive and healthy, then positive and healthy thoughts will occur, which will produce positive and healthy emotions, that will result in positive and healthy behavior. If your beliefs are negative and unhealthy, they will produce negative and unhealthy behavior. It’s a simple funnel, and it all happens in a flash. Experiences filter through beliefs, producing thoughts and emotions, leading to behavior.
The previous funnel works powerfully if you want to figure out why you behave badly. Let’s think of behavior as if it’s fruit on a tree. Then you could say, “Every fruit has a root.” And, the root is your beliefs. So, reverse engineer the funnel. What was I feeling prior to my bad behavior? What was I thinking prior to my bad feelings? And, what was I believing prior to my bad thinking? If you can identify and correct your beliefs, you will automatically correct your behavior. Beliefs produce corresponding thoughts and emotions that produce good or bad behavior.
Beliefs are conclusions you form that stem from living life. The problem is that you don’t always form good conclusions or beliefs. You may have been young and immature when they were formed. You may have been given wrong information. You may have been exposed to misguided family members or authority figures. Your beliefs may have been influenced by your culture or even television newscasts. The point is that your beliefs are only as good as the information they’re processing. Bad information can only produce bad beliefs and behavior. Be very careful as to what you allow to influence you.
Everything you know was learned at some point in your life and to say, “That’s just the I am” as an excuse, is wrong. You weren’t born that way. You were born a blank slate. You learned to be that way and have chosen to remain that way. Your beliefs, good and bad, have become thinking habits. They’re automatic and they appear to you to be uncontrollable. This is where the phrase “change your mind” needs to be applied literally. If things were learned in the first place, then they can be relearned. Change your beliefs and change your life.
Everybody has bad information stored in their brain. It ranges from error to bias to prejudice to wrong interpretation to an outright lie. The scary part is that bad information is as powerful as the truth, if you believe it to be true. Now, a lot of times you just don’t know any better, but sometimes it’s there because you’ve never bothered to think it through and to challenge it. Unchallenged bad information leads to bad behavior and you treating yourself, as well as other people, very poorly. Look for negative and unhealthy thinking and behavior in your life for clues. They’re there.
Changing your mind or your beliefs begins with believing that you can change it. This is known as having a growth mindset. A growth mindset believes that you, and other things, can improve. It believes that there are options, opportunities, alternatives, and solutions out there for you to discover and embrace. It is positive and hopeful and accepts growth and change as a normal part of life. People with a growth mindset work through challenges instead of running away from them. The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset and it’s full of life-limiting complaining, doubts, and excuses.
In order to challenge thinking errors, biases, prejudices, lies, and so on; try asking yourself challenging questions like… Who told me this was true? How long have I believed this way? What makes me believe this is valid? In what ways is my thinking based on actual facts? What events or people in my past may have influenced my way of thinking? What have I endured while believing this way? How will my life be better, if I correct my thinking? Am I willing to put in the work to change my mind? Do I believe that I can change?