In psychology, behavior is the set of activities and reactions of an individual to the environment in which he is inserted. It can indicate a group of actions or a single action. The way we behave goes through several metamorphoses throughout our existence.
Between childhood and adolescence, we change dramatically. We react abruptly to the sudden knowledge and awareness of the complexities of the world as well as the development of emotions that come with puberty.
Our “I” of today has a lot to do with the “I” of the past. In some cases, traumas are formed in these periods and, during adult life, the person depends on psychological treatment to heal them.
How is Behavior Formed?
It may seem like an obvious question, but there is a lot of confusion regarding the multiplicity of behaviors that a person can have over the years. Below, learn about the biggest influencers of behavior.
- Environment and People: As throughout our lives we go through different environments, we adapt to each one of them to survive or, at least, we try to do so. Sometimes unconsciously. We also need to adapt to the people we meet to be able to live with opinions, personalities, and thoughts that are different and often opposite to our own.
- Stage of Life: The stage of life we are in also helps us to have a peaceful or arduous experience. The search for the first job, the first serious relationship, or the preparation for an important moment, such as an exam for a scholarship, are some examples. They are universal experiences that are felt by people of the same age group.
- Society: Another factor to consider is society. It makes a big impact on who we are and how we think. Religious and cultural beliefs, in particular, are major influencers. Similarly, economic and social conditions also contribute to the formation of human beings, despite being factors that are easily modified over time. It can be said that we are the reflection of what happens around us.
- Genetics: Finally, genetics is responsible for the traits we acquire from our ancestors, which can be transmitted from generation to generation. Instinctive behaviors are considered to be those that originated from genetics while learned ones are influenced by the environment.
So, it is understood that the behavior is not static. Although some of the most striking traits of our personality persist for a long time, change is guaranteed and inevitable. Therefore, the phrase “I was born this way and I will die this way” is not entirely correct.
How Does Behavior Affect Our Lives?
To “fit” better in environments, we can modify certain attitudes. When we interact with family members, we express specific behaviors that we are sure will be accepted by others.
With friends and co-workers, the case is the same. This is how we survive in different habitats. Consequently, it can be said that behavior is intrinsically linked to our success or failure in various situations in life.
Most of the time, people don’t stop to think about their attitudes and verbalized words. They live on autopilot. Criticism or praise is made about how they behave and few are those who take this opportunity to reflect on who they are.
Thanks to custom, we are often prevented from identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities that cause us harm.
It is very common for people to claim that they do not understand their actions. Soon, they make purposeful but unwanted mistakes, and they immediately regret them.
Some become addicted to self-destructive habits without knowing why. Others hurt others and feel remorse, but they can’t stop. The result of this confusion is frustration and impotence in managing one’s personality.
When we actively cultivate positive behaviors, we move between our social circles and commitments without stress. For this, however, awakened consciousness and emotional intelligence must be developed to promote change.
How to Get Awareness?
Have you ever received a lot of criticism about your way of being? If so, have you ever stopped to think about them?
Are you fighting with your relatives? Or are you stuck on a project at work? Nothing seems to go right and you are constantly sad?
Our instinct, when faced with judgment, is to look for blame and be defensive. With this attitude, however, we miss great opportunities to grow and learn from others.
To multiply the moments of happiness in your life, you need to do a self-assessment and believe that it is possible to take control.
To advance in our careers and win over supervisors and bosses, we can apply certain attitudes and values in our daily work. Respect, proactiveness, cooperation, communication, and organization are some of them.
To cultivate our bonds of friendship and family, we need to exercise empathy, patience, good humor and not take everything personally.
Can you see yourself practicing the virtues above? Whether yes or no, why? It is through constant questions that we become more and more awake.
How Can We Change Behavior?
We can change it through emotions, feelings, and thoughts. First of all, we need to be in a new mindset to face the challenges that arise along the way.
Some people need to feel before they act. They analyze the situation for a long time and get carried away by their emotions to make decisions. Others are more focused on action. Therefore, there may be a difference in the methods and time that generate the change.
However, even with these distinctions, it is common for a person to change only after a major event in their life. This serves as a “drawing of the curtains” that made her blind to her conduct.
People often complain about how they are treated by others or that they wish they had better lives. They don’t realize that they need to change their attitudes to have a better relationship or to get the accomplishments they want; that everything is possible if we just adapt to the present situation, be it good or bad.
Of course, change is not easy. It’s uncomfortable, difficult, and complicated for our emotions, regardless of the occasion. That’s because we get used to our lives and embrace both positive and negative factors.
The trick is to replace the old with the new slowly to give our brain time to get used to it.
3 Steps to Change
Defining positive behaviors is not an easy task. That is, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the situation, our failures can be very useful and positive, and not necessarily bad. A quality can quickly become a defect in different circumstances.
For example, extroversion is considered an enviable virtue in our society. But it is common for extroverted people to feel agitated in situations where they should be more focused and calm, such as at a work meeting. In this case, extroversion becomes an obstacle for those who always want to fill the silence with words.
A meticulous person can cause conflict by wanting their way and being disgusted when others change their environment. In a profession that requires extreme concentration and attention to detail, thoroughness is well accepted.
In summary, we can consciously use our flaws and qualities to improve our personal life and professional career. As the environment directly influences our way of acting, we can “counter-attack” the influences when we learn to use both factors.
Set a Goal
For you to be able to do all this, you need to have a goal. This must be positive. “I want to be more courageous and do things with confidence” instead of “I want to be less fearful”. The more specific, the easier to implement.
Behavior change happens in repetition. The important thing is not to give up in the face of failed attempts. As soon as you try to change, resistance arises because you are blind within your comfort zone. It is easiest to remain in inertia, but not the most rewarding.
Choose a feature you want to develop. Preferably, specify the reason for doing so. If you need more patience in dealing with your partner or children, practice this new approach until you feel you’ve achieved success.
You will fail thousands of times until you achieve success. Your mistakes will be valuable teachers on this path. Learn from the lessons they will teach you and keep moving forward, repeating the process until you get it right.
This article is an invitation for you to discover yourself. Everything in our life, whether good or bad, is created by us or can be transformed by us. Even if all seems to be lost, we rarely enter a path of no return.
When we are having a lot of problems in our lives, one after another without rest, we need to have honesty to say that maybe we are the cause.