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Creating a Global Joy Community

Meet Amanda

Amanda Gore
For as long as I can remember I have been talking! A lifelong friend of mine used to call me motor mouth when I was in my teens! Little did he know it was prophetic! LOL I studied physiotherapy and psychology after school and practiced for a few years, then taught at University before... Read more

Depression Busters 2

The Joy Project 
Depression Busters 2

How do you behave when you don't get your own way?  Most people never take time to think about the consistent patterns of behaviour they demonstrate under consistent circumstances.

Think of the last time you wanted something from someone else.    And you didn't get it - no matter what you did or how hard you tried.   How did you respond?  Do you notice that it's that same way you respond every time you don't get your own way!  If so this is called a pattern of behaviour.

Does this pattern of behaviour usually get you what you want?  Probably not!  Would you like to be able to stop behaving like a spoiled child?  And have a range of behaviours that may be more useful and help you to find a win/ win situation rather than just 'losing out'?

If so, read on!   There is a great way to facilitate behavioural change that is easy and not physically taxing.  It is called 'present to desired state'.  It's a simple technique and skill that is very useful.

Find yourself a blank piece of paper.  Recall the last time you were in a 'I'm not getting my own way' scenario.  On the left hand side of the paper make a column headed 'present state'.  On the right hand side of the page head the column 'desired state'.

Between the two there is a gap which is for writing down the skills/ attributes and attitudes you need to behave for the desired state.

Having recalled the last time you behaved in a way that was inappropriate, be as descriptive about that behaviour as you can.   How did you look, sound and feel?  What were you saying to yourself?  Or what pictures were you imagining? What did the people around  you look and sound like as you were 'performing'?

Step two.  Move to the other side of the page and describe very specifically how you would rather behave.  See yourself handling the situation brilliantly, behaving in a way that the person you most admire would behave.  Hear yourself saying all the right things (or not saying anything if more appropriate!)        Þ  Write how you would feel if you were behaving in this way.

Step three. In the middle column, write down all the skills you would need to behave in this different way.  You may need a sense of humour; to say different things to yourself about the scenario; to see different pictures of the situation as you are in it; perhaps you need more courage (how would you know you were being braver?) ; less fear (what would you be feeling if not fear?) ; more balanced posture; a greater sense of calm (how would you look, sound and feel if you were calmer?);  you may need to 'borrow' behaviours from friends or people you admire and pretend that in the movie you direct of how you would rather behave, you have miraculously acquired these skills or attributes.

To give you a concrete example of how to use this - lets take situation where you want your partner or friend to listen to you NOW, this second.  And they are watching the TV and they want you to wait till after this programme.  Whenever this happens, you immediately 'see red'  and start shouting, accusing the other person of not caring for you and being selfish and ignoring your needs.  (Or you could respond with the dreaded 'cold shoulder'/ sulks) .  This of course, consistently gets you nowhere!  In fact, it usually makes the other person more determined to fixedly stare at the TV and have greater deafness.

Take a moment to list that behavioural pattern and how you are feeling.  Describe it fully.  For example, As soon as I open my mouth I know this is going to happen and sure enough, he/she tunes out and I start shouting.  I feel so angry and I tell myself he/she is a selfish pig and doesn't love me/doesn't care.  My blood pressure feels like it goes through the ceiling and my stomach churns.  My breathing is laboured and my chest feels tight.

Now think about how you would rather react?  Perhaps you would like more perceptiveness so you will ask them to listen at a more appropriate time.  Or would you like to stay calm and have more patience?  Or put a brick through the TV?  Or the person? (Just kidding with this one!)  And now describe the new, 'improved' state.    EG - I would rather initially notice it's a bad time o talk and wait until a more suitable moment;  or if I must talk about it then I would like to ask in a different tone of voice; be calmer and more tolerant or patient; demand less and maintain rapport with them.  I would be saying to myself phrases about how pleased I am that this person is listening to me and cares enough to allow me to interrupt their favourite programme.  (Do not start throwing up at this point readers!  I'm just trying to help you with an example!)

Then in the middle column, list the different ways of thinking/ talking to yourself you would need for the new behaviour. I would need to say positive things about the other person; be kinder to myself rather than berating myself for being an idiot; I would be more aware of the facial features of the person and read their body language more effectively;  I would keep breathing and maintain a sense of humour and laugh rather than stab them.  etc.

Finally,  you need to mentally rehearse the new scenario.  In other words, play a movie with full surround sound and emotions of the new situation and the new 'improved' you.  The more you play this in your mind's eye the more chance you have of this behaviour spontaneously occurring!  Elite athletes use this technique.   It sounds bizarre, but is very effective!  If nothing else, at least it starts you thinking about your patterns of behaviour and you may realise that the behaviour is NOT you - it's just a behaviour and can be changed.  But only if you want to have an easier life and more successful outcomes! 


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