It's a common thing in self-help and in therapy today to offer a variety of ways to be better - which actually boil down to not 'being' better so much as just 'doing' better. "Chose!" "Decide!" "Manifest!" "Line Up!" are all about doing better.
If you pick up a book to help you out with your desire to change, it might tell you that you 'are' a certain way. For example, maybe you'll be labeled a victim, a reactor... as opposed to a leader, an owner. You are encouraged to choose the better of the two and chose quickly. Don't 'be' this way any more!
Yet, how can you not be what you've just identified yourself as being? This behavioral change is going to take a lot of managing and you are going to need to keep a close eye on your daily picks, managing what you think and how you act, watching what you do in order to measure how you are doing.
In my time working with people, coaching people in wellbeing and peace of mind and training coaches to work with others, I've become exclusively interested in another kind of change. A change that is easy, natural, positive and sustainable -- precisely because it does not take effort to sustain.
That doesn't seem possible for some things does it? You, me, we've all had experiences of trying to change and failing. People around us have too. So I'm going to suggest that it's not that changing behaviors isn't useful; it's just the hard way.
What I've learned, especially through my work with the Three Principles, is that our behaviors follow our emotions and our emotions are the direct product of our thinking.
So whenever we are doing anything; we are only ever as good (behaviorally-speaking) the quality of our own thinking in any given moment.
In this paradigm, victim-hood is a outcome and not a personality type. It is the outcome of a decision that is based on the quality of my thinking at any given time...
For example, if you call me and I answer, "Hello?" and the first words out of your mouth are "What the hell is wrong with you! Why do you do this to me everytime?!!!"
I might react in a number of ways.
Indignant, angry, and reactive all spring to mind! After all, I'm being victimized here. I've done nothing. Except answer my phone. Right?
Well, this DID happen to me and I really learned something. I heard the words and the anger and I was surprised and curious to see that my reaction was ... connection. "Oh my," I thought, "he must be having a really bad day today."
Now, I'm no saint. I'm perfectly capable of all the reactions under the sun. Ask anyone. So why did I see this differently? Had I been practicing thinking new and better thoughts? (I hadn't, just so you know.) Was I having a particularly good day? Was I meditating at the time and deeply serene? Was I really, really, trying to behave like a better person?
None of the above. I just heard differently. I heard a human being speaking to me and it was obvious: He was in pain.
This is no behavioral change.
It is a change in behavior brought about by a new level of 'beingness' in me. At that moment.
This feeling of connection did not come from my advanced training in 'listening and reflecting back'. It did not come from my positive affirmations.
It was a simple moment when, literally without thinking, I was simply part of the dance. I was witnessing the ups and downs of all humans when we are caught up in our thinking and it was fine.
I understood we are only doing as well as we can, given the quality of our thinking in the moment. That is a place of deep, natural connection.
And I realize this is our most natural state. Not a learned one.
So all relationships improve, not when we choose to behave better, but when we focus more on our own deeper understanding of the nature of life for ourselves.