How can we better understand our own behaviour? How can we learn to 'behave' differently?
As I have outlined previously, 'behaviour' is our best attempt at getting our needs met. This means, the behaviour being displayed, is the current solution for that person.
For example, a person is chewing their fingernails when anxious to the point of having no nails left.
This is a solution. A way to self-soothe. It helps them 'feel better'.
A child hits her brother when he takes her doll. Another solution - hitting him is a way of releasing anger and showing him how she feels. All behaviour is an attempt to solve our problems. We just need to get to a place where we can come up with 'better' solutions. So how do we do it?
We need to find out what lies deep beneath the behaviours. If it is nail-biting for example, what is that doing for me exactly? When am I feeling the desire to bite or chew?
What does nail-biting 'do' for me? You may be able to answer these questions yourself, or you may need a therapist or coach to guide you. If nail-biting is a way of releasing anxiety, the question I need to ask myself is, 'what can I do that is as effective as nail-biting but is a far healthier solution?'
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We will only ever give up a bad habit if there is an option available that gives us as much or more satisfaction than we get from that bad habit.
The child who hits her brother needs to find as good a solution to hitting before she will give it up. In this case, she may need to be taught that it is okay to feel angry and not okay to hurt someone. She needs to be taught to find new solutions to her problem.