We are the creators of our children and grandchildren’s futures through our own behaviours
By Psychotherapist Mertha Mo Nyamande
In the past few weeks, we have explored beliefs, norms, values, emotions and how our children are caught up in all this.
What is seen, though not very well understood are the behaviours, actions or inactions of individuals and communities at large. Such behaviours are the products of beliefs, thoughts and emotions.
Our behaviours are never random nor accidental, they are learnt from what we see regularly.
Learning behaviours rarely happens through a single event, they are often formed from repeated scenarios that validate their acceptability as “normal”.
So, when we hide, become confrontational or violent during an argument, this is because we would have seen/heard it somewhere as effective, or rather an avoidant way of dealing with situations.
Our behaviours need to be adaptable to the situations we are faced with, hiding may be effective when taking time away from the situation while strategizing a mutually beneficial response.
Trouble is most people hide until they think the problem has gone away, and when it re-surfaces, they feel like life is unfair or someone is out to get them, when the problem just needs a solution.
Often we focus on the behaviours without taking time to think about what might have been behind this behaviour like, whenever we see a guy drinking his life away or a girl selling her body for money, we rarely think of what may have driven them down those self-destructive paths but are often quick to judge the behaviour, especially if we think we may have been through some hardships ourselves.
Repeated behaviours that go unchallenged are what amount to habits and whether we are conscious of these or not, they contribute to whatever life situations we find ourselves in.
We often look outwards to others’ behaviours; what the other people may have done or may be doing and feel victim to the circumstances, but we neglect to look at how we got to this lying friend or cheating partner or even bullying boss in the first place.
We are always at the centre of our scenarios, and if we ever want things to change, we need to look at our own behaviours for it is this that we have control over and/or can change.
Whenever we feel like we have no control over our behaviours, chances are we would have become submissive or surrendered our power to others who now use that advantage to make us behave as they wish.
The only way to regain that control is to understand our role; belief and behaviours that would have led us to whatever scenario.
Screaming and shouting about how others may be bullying us or treating us unfairly will not change anything for unfairness stems from dependency not independence.
We may have someone else (a teacher, a friend, etc) come to our aid, but fact remains, we remain under the control and input of another, thus we remain helpless.
There are always opportunists in this life who are constantly seeking gullible others to prey on.
The longer we behave in a certain way, it becomes habit; a part of us, our identity or character.
While most behaviours are exhibited by individuals, how we respond to them as a society dictate whether such behaviours are acceptable or not.
For a long time, we have lacked the courage to challenge certain behaviours around us, and this behaviour becomes intertwined in the character of who we are as a people.
Life is a long-winded process that whatever environments we are brought up in inform how we will behave in future situations.
Our behaviours are informed by custom, but what is underlying all this, is how we think as individuals and as a collective.
There are certain beliefs/mindsets that we hold as a community that perpetuate certain behaviours and our regular practices.
Just like how we look at Zimbabwe as a christian country, and it is this christian belief that maintains the church-going and other associated practices based on the belief in God and Jesus as taught to us by the missionaries.
No doubt there would have been different beliefs and practices seen in the behaviours prior to the colonial era.
There has also been the belief that Zimbabweans are peace-loving christians, educated and hard-working, which has sustained job-seeking, conformity and migratory behaviours in search for work, while having different beliefs would see us creating our own peace, employment and opportunities than enriching all else but ourselves.
Our behaviours directly amount to our successes and failures but must emphasise to interrogate the beliefs that uphold them.
To change our destiny, we ought to change our beliefs, which are the foundation of all that we become in this life and beyond, and the behaviours that we teach or allow, we pass on to the generations that come after us.
We are the creators of our children and grandchildren’s futures through our own behaviours and those that we are complicit to.
This reality that we now believe in has been created by those before us, why? We need to reach inward, not outwards and re-establish who we are as a people and thereby establish new behaviours that work for us, not simply maintaining those that have been passed on by others.
While such behaviours may have worked for them, they will not necessarily work for us. We need to re-establish who we are as a people and behave accordingly.
By Psychotherapist – Mertha Mo Nyamande @InsightWellbeing Ltd #Monya-Mental February 2021. Feedback firstname.lastname@example.org
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