One day I was in a restaurant with a friend and we were talking about relationships. She was telling me about how hard she can be with her husband sometimes. Being the curious type, I asked her for some examples and asked her why she was acting this way with him.
Her answer was interesting. It sounded something like: "This is the way I am so he needs to learn to deal with it". I then asked her if he did the exact same thing to her would she accept the same action and answer from him. Her answer this time was to blush and slowly turn her eyes away with an uncomfortable smile.
This article will explore the idea of your way of being and why you should become more aware of it.
I struggled with this question for the longest time. The best answer I came up with is that your way of being is how you interact with the world around you. Among other things, it gets shaped by your life experiences, core beliefs and your way of seeing the world.
You may not be aware of our way of being but it is definitely there and it has an impact in your daily life.
The first challenge that I have for you is that you begin to take notice of your way of being. To do this, try this simple exercise. Over a week or two, take a moment in the evening to reflect on your day. Ask yourself the following questions:
These are very basic questions but the idea is to build some self-awareness. After a week, what are some of the patterns you can see in the answers to these questions? What does it tell you about your way of being?
This is an interesting question because you may see some of this as black and white. I do this behaviour and this is good — but THIS behaviour of mine is bad.
The point is not to keep score or make drastic changes. Trying to change "bad" behaviour without understanding why it happens is not useful. It will come out in different ways instead. Think of water leaking out of a barrel. Plug a hole and you may discover a new hole leaking right next to it.
Changing your way of being means learning new habits until they become your new default ones. You do this by practicing new behaviours over and over in safe spaces. At first it can be uncomfortable, but the more you practice, the easier it will become.
If you are an introvert that keeps to yourself at work, here is an exercise you can try. Every morning for a week, when you get to work, say hello to at least 5-10 people with a big smile and a handshake. After a week, what can you notice in your relationship with these people? What can you notice that is different within yourself? What was different between the first and last day doing it?
So tell me, what are you aware of in your way of being? How different could your relationships be if you practiced new behaviours?
This article was originally published on wellness.com in June 2018.