I would never behave like that

When we see behavior we don’t like, it is tempting to write it off. “I would never behave like that” or “how could he/she do that?” might feels appropriate.

But, is it?

Would you really “never” behave like that? Given the same upbringing and an identical situation, you probably would, too.

Instead, a better question is – “what would it take for me to behave like that?”

There always are a few situations that might result in behavior you didn’t like. Perhaps if you felt out of luck and stressed? Or, if you felt desperate to find a job? And, what if you were in financial stress? Or, if that behavior was rationalized because of good results in the past?

Asking the “what would it take?” question inspires more empathy than the write off. It is also a lot less hypocritical.

We are only as kind to others as we are to ourselves. One way, then, to be kinder is to learn to be kinder to ourselves. But, the other approach works, too. As we learn to be kinder to others, we learn to be kinder to ourselves.

Also, as a rule, it is good to be careful with “always” and “never.”

6 thoughts on “I would never behave like that

  1. As my amazing mother always told us as children.. “never say never” and “never say always”
    Wishing you a beautiful day

  2. I use the question “what matters be true for them?” What must be true for him or her for them to behave or react in that way? It allows me to bring more empathy to the situation.

  3. “What would it take for me to behave like that?”

    Giving me the better question to ask enables me to actually change the dialogue in my head. Thanks Rohan!

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