How often have you had a negative interaction with someone and wondered why that person is the way they are? Why are some people so kind and accommodating and others so combative and nasty? Where does bad behaviour come from? Is it the result of poor upbringing? Is it because life sucks more for some than others? Is it in the genes? What about your own bad behaviour? We are all capable of being periodically unkind, judgmental, angry, untrue, self-absorbed, self-destructive, self-defeating, or just plain inappropriate. Feel free to add to that list. There is a rather extensive list of bad behaviours available to all humans. Certainly, any of us could be as negative as we want to be any time we like. After all, we do get to choose our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Why is bad behaviour sometimes so compelling to us?
The root of all bad behaviour is in the mind.
All bad behaviour is the result of negative thoughts and corresponding emotions around a particular circumstance. The longer you hold onto your negative thoughts or beliefs, the more powerful the emotion will be and the uglier and more frequent the resulting behaviour.
I have come across a number of people whose communication style is especially combative. They are great while people are in agreement with them, but the moment they are challenged or feel threatened, they start yelling and screaming and firing accusations all over the place. They are very hard to calm down and most people can’t stand being around them for any length of time because they are so much work. At the core of all of it is someone who is especially insecure, and do you know what? That’s pretty much always the case with maniacs like them. They get these crazy ideas about what people are thinking based on their greatest personal fears and their erroneous beliefs about who they really are and off they go in full flame on an emotional rocket that has everyone running for cover.
Bad behaviour doesn’t always have to be so dramatic, though. It can be very subtle.
A cutting remark, an extra-marital affair, petty theft, social manipulation or even a white lie. At the core of it all is the belief that you are somehow not enough (or some other negative belief) and that your behaviour will help you regain your equilibrium. While the immediate result may seem to be good for you, your habit of bad behaviour will continue to resurface until you address the problem at its core. That is why most people apologize for their bad behaviour and then repeat it at a later date. It’s not that they don’t know better, it’s that they never fully explored why they do it or cared to solve the entire problem.
So, who is to blame?
The excuses we carry with us for the inexcusable things we do only hold us back from having productive lives and healthy relationships with others.
Don’t bother blaming your bad behaviour on the wine you drank, your negligent mother, your bastard father, your poor upbringing, your stressful life, or the guy who beat you up in third grade. It is about none of those and all about your relationship with yourself. The excuses we carry with us for the inexcusable things we do only hold us back from having productive lives and healthy relationships with others. Now, some people never want to be better or different because the thought of taking responsibility for their behaviour would mean having to take an honest and critical look at themselves. It is so much easier to blame others and tell yourself they deserve what you dish out. Here’s the thing you really need to know. You don’t actually have to beat yourself up over your shortcomings. We ALL have shortcomings. Yours are not any more special than anyone else’s. It’s all in the narrative you create for yourself.
Is there a cure for chronic bad behaviour?
If you are disturbed by some of your behaviour then you can certainly change it for the better. The first step is to acknowledge your mistakes and take full responsibility for the decisions you have made. I don’t mean pay lip service to taking responsibility. Anyone can say they are sorry or that something is their fault. That doesn’t make it heartfelt. We’ve all gotten hollow apologies for bad behaviour and of course, the behaviour only gets repeated later. Be sincere.
After issuing your heartfelt apology, take the time to explore what you feel about yourself at your core. That may be difficult, but you can transform your life by making a list of opposite attributes and positive affirmations and reciting them daily. I prefer morning and evening and if you are under particular stress, then recite them more often.
Here is a video to get you started on making positive affirmations.
The third thing you need to do is to raise your consciousness through daily meditation. Start with just 15 minutes of deep breathing in a quiet environment. People tell me they can’t meditate because their minds are too busy and they can’t sit still long enough. I call BS on that one. Anyone who wants to meditate can practice getting good at it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It simply has to be a regular practice. Feel free to use a guided meditation, or to use some of the meditative music on YouTube with frequencies that elevate your consciousness. That may sound silly to you, but it is a scientific thing. The sound frequencies cause your brain waves to change and eventually you will form new neuro-pathways that will lead you to become calmer, happier, and more focused, which is a by-product of regular meditation anyway. Either way, you win.
I really like meditating to this brain-changing music.
After you have established a habit of regular meditation you will notice many pleasant changes in your life. Your stress and anxiety levels will decrease considerably, you will feel balanced and carry a sense of perpetual well-being about you, and your bad behaviour will become a thing of the past.