Saturday, March 10, 2012

Personality versus learned behavior

I figure if this concept is worth talking about to two different friends for two different reasons, it's probably good enough for a post.

Both of them were telling me about the strides they've made in overcoming what they believed were character weaknesses. In each instance, I had to disagree.

I have to say, Situations Matter has really stuck with me, and the reason I disagreed with my friends.

One spoke about overcoming his obstacle to asking for and accepting assistance. While he was pleased with this, he also addressed it as a "hang-up" he had. When we spoke about it more, we realized where his resistance had been learned. He'd had someone in his life that offered help with major strings attached. That experience taught him to resist help.

Another was wary to talk about a new man in her life because of past relationships gone wrong. She spoke about having closed herself off for so long, and learning to open up again. I countered that maybe she needed that time. And she's also been putting herself out there in other ways, keeping incredibly busy with other extra-curricular activities in addition to working full-time. She didn't shut herself down, she just went after other things.

Some of the best people I know spend far too much time beating themselves up and working hard on themselves...and there are others I know that would never think to look inward that really should!

Of course, we want to learn from our mistakes. Of course we should all strive to be better people. The difference, I think, is in understanding that our reactions are usually based on learned behavior.

"The big picture" is seeing all the moving parts; the who, what, where, when and how does indeed tell the whole story.

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