One’s behavior seems automatic. It is hard to believe –consciously or unconsciously, on purpose or default – that you chose it. Repeated behavior becomes habit.
Habit takes on a life of its own and seems innate; that you just can’t help it – that it is just the way I am. When confronted by a negative attitude or action one may rationalize, “Everybody’s that way.”
Being pleasant and thankful when things go your way is a habit you taught yourself. So is being disagreeable and unappreciative when things do not go your way. Being agreeable or disagreeable both are habits you taught yourself and they habitually surface upon command.
“Surface comes from the French meaning “above the face”. The behavior probably seems automatic and is thus hard to see as your having set it. What is “above the face” is also hidden in your creative mind and out of your known control. Repeated behavior becomes habit.
Stop and ponder: Have you ever responded negatively in a situation and blamed the circumstances for your behavior? “You made me mad.” “The traffic made me late.” “You did me wrong and I’ll show you!”
Someone or something making you do something is not like an allergy to cats. With an allergy your body’s immune system automatically responds whether the kitten is cute and cuddly or if it is a mangy flea-infested stray.
Get honest and think hard. Has a similar situation occurred, and your response was different? “No big deal.” “No harm done.”
If one day Sue/Sam “made you mad” and the next day – when you were more rested or were not so rushed or so stressed or had spent time meditating or whatever to put yourself in the better frame-of-habit-mindset – then obviously Sue/Sam was not the organic cause of your negative response. In either scenario, you drew on habit responses you taught yourself.
Forming new habits involves awareness. To determine what you do want to change starts with understanding what you do not want to change. Exert mental effort to become aware of your attitude and behaviors – those times you are pleased with yourself for speaking rationally or remained calm or for boldly asserting yourself. Out of this awareness determine effects and whether you wish to maintain them – or not.
Forming new habits involves doing one thing differently. Every time we modify our behavior, we have a different experience. This new experience sends a new footpath to our brain. Treading this new path again and again causes our brain to become wired, or habituated to new attitudes, actions and outcomes.
Don’t Cope. Overcome. Avoid the stack-attack-syndrome of frustrated aggressive behavior by learning a sever-assessing-system of assertiveness – one step at a time – one path at a time – to a new hard-wired brain habit.
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