Identity versus behavior

   How many times did we all judge ourselves based on a particular behavior in a particular situation? For example, I like to cook, but there were a few times I f*cked up the dish. My automatic thought was: I’m the worst cook! I’m never going into that kitchen! So I just ignored all my previous delicious dishes, I generalized my failure and I judged myself based on that failure.

   We often do things like this. We find “excuses” for the things we do great and we dwell on things we do bad. Whenever I find myself in this situation I think about this: Whooo brain! Hold on with that negativity! A person is more than a behavior. A person is a complex entity made of thoughts, emotions, behavior and ideas which combine in unique ways. The fact that I scr*wed it up now means I did something wrong, not that I am wrong. Maybe I haven’t study enough or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. We as humans can be so easily distracted and influenced by everything. One bad situation cannot define a person.

   It is interesting how easily we’re defining ourselves by our failures without taking into consideration the intention which I believe is the key here. We are defined by intentions even though they cannot be easily seen by other people. In my example, did I want to make a sh*tty dish? No, of course not. I wanted it to be perfect. I could define myself as a sh*tty cook only if I want to make a sh*tty dish and I succeed doing it.

   Let’s take another example. A mother yells at her kid for taking a bad grade and the kid starts crying and the mother defines herself as the worst mother ever. Did she want to make her kid cry? I don’t think so! She probably wanted to make him understand that she was disappointed by the result, not by the kid himself, but when we’re ruled by emotions we cannot find the proper words to express ourselves.

   I believe the core problem here is that we often don’t really know who we are. When we’re letting ourselves be defined by some random bad behaviors while we might be ignoring the good ones, we just don’t know for sure who and how we are. We just need to analyze the situation and find out why we scr*ewed things up.

   There are also people that do a few good things and they think they’re awesome. I’m not saying they’re wrong, but when we think we are the best and we cannot get better, we’re getting stuck in our own ego and we’re just gonna stop evolving.

   As always, there needs to be a balance. We cannot be great at everything because we are not prepared for everything so it’s normal to s*ck at something. That’s where we can grow if we want to.

   What do you say to yourself when you scr*w things up?

24 thoughts on “Identity versus behavior

  1. Too many people beat themselves up for screwing up or not achieving what they originally set out to achieve.
    The best way is to accept you screwed up, take 100% accountability for it, analyze why you screwed up and then move on.
    Thanks for the post! Keep it up! 🙂

  2. It’s so easy to let ourselves be defined by that whole CBT triangle of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. I agree with you, not having a strong sense of identity makes it much easier to fall into the trap of judging based on a single behavioural outcomes.

  3. I have a three strikes rule. If i mess something up three times in a row i get to be upset about it. But usually i get to fourth strike before giving it up.

    I got the idea when making chocolate pudding (the boug bag powder kind). I never ever messed it up. But i did two times in a row (days apart) . The third time i did not mess up 🙂

  4. If I do something that would normally make me feel bad and I know it was an accident then I try to tell myself it will be okay. I’m not perfect but I’m not a POS either. I can fail without being a failure. I logically always knew this, but it took a very long time to believe it.

  5. It depends on what the error is. I made a dessert; and it really wasn’t as good as we’d hoped. Next time, I pick the fruits for it – and cut them smaller. Lesson learned. I hurt someone’s feelings, speaking without thought. Oh – there’s an apology and understanding that it’s okay to think a response through. That doesn’t mean I’m a terrible person, I just had an “off” response. Screw ups are part of life, learn from them.

    1. Yes, I agree. Trying to learn something from that particular situation and not identifying ourselves with the negative behavior is a way to get over anything.

  6. Reblogged this on RobertMcQ and commented:
    Good article here. I’d like to share it. Notice that the comment on my blog is disabled. To comment on or discuss this article, please go to their blog.

  7. I know many people who are stuck because of the stone and sharp necklaces they wear. They are stuck in self pity because of the negative labels they put on themselves. I know well..because I used to be one of them.

    Fantastic article! Reminded me that years ago, I made promise to myself not to be defined by my mistakes and that’s one of the best things I did ’cause I’m now able to help others do it as well.

    1. It is awesome that you could do that. What else helped you move on besides promising to yourself not to be defined by your mistakes?

      1. I believe when I developed self-love, things got easier for me. ” I would manually write journals every weekend so I am aware of the self-destructive habits I have (can’t do it every night but hopefully, I will). Being truly aware and making a commitment to myself and God helped me. It may be weird but every single morning, I would also talk to myself (like her best friend giving some reminders) so whenever something happens or when there’s a trigger, I AM conscious instead of getting swayed by my emotions.

      2. That’s very interesting. So writing in your journal helped you getting aware of the thoughts you have and being aware of them helped you do something about that. That’s great! Thank you for sharing!

      3. You are welcome. You could try it too!
        By the way, you really have a great perspectives on things. Keep on writing with your unique ink!

  8. I think we’re all our worst enemies. The key is self-awareness — understanding ourselves and being aware of what we’re doing. Thank you for stopping by and reading and liking several of my blog posts. I love your title “Pointless Overthinking”! How many times do I do that???

  9. Behavior is complex indeed so the normal person unless they’ve been sensitized to how we think vs. how we should think don’t go into those complexity. It’s just bad or good and no in between. The balancing is a learned concept.

    1. As long there is a balance, we’re all good. The problems can appear when the balance is too tilted in one way or another.

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