The Perspective from Here
Our Words and Our Behaviour
During a recent Professional Development session, valuable insight was introduced that can be applied beyond the work environment. We explored what brings us energy and joy and what depletes us. That may sound straightforward, but through it, we gained the language and the understanding that often, negative behaviour is an unskilled expression of a need not being met; that our words and actions are saying so much more.
Like Dr. Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages and the Serve and Return
, we encourage communication between parent and child; clear communication is vital. Understanding where we are at with our own needs being met influences our behaviour and communication toward others. We don't necessarily take the time to acknowledge our energy level and what is causing our depletion and, therefore, our behaviour; we say we are tired and carry on.
We respond to an infant's cry as a signal of need. We check their diaper and their need for food or a cuddle. They can't articulate their cry with words, so we use other cues to assess their needs. As the child grows, a cry can indicate an injury, so we check their environment, look for an injury or try to get them to explain. As their language develops, we respond with "Use your words."
From here on out, we are expected to know how to express our needs and wants, but we may not have the language or the understanding to do so. We know we are frustrated or elated and can't explain why. Often we haven't been taught about the relationship between our behaviour and our sense of being fueled or depleted.
Many of us can probably reflect on a time when our behaviour resulted from other factors that just happened to align at a time that resulted in a poor response to our partner or child. We may see how another is parenting their child and quickly judge their childrearing skills when we are not feeling competent as a parent that day, and it was easier to deflect our deficiency to someone else.
Like so many things, our daily actions and interactions are a culmination of many variables, and unless we check in with ourselves to see what lens we are looking through, it can lead to negative results. If we are not feeling fulfilled, perhaps it's easier to point to someone else and view them as doing a poor job. If we are feeling fulfilled and fueled, maybe we are a bit more gracious and willing to lend a helping hand.
I know there have been times over the past two years when I have complained or gossiped, only to realize I was feeling isolated and lacking that sense of belonging. My words and behaviour resulted from being at home alone too much. Understanding ourselves helps us articulate our own needs, and sharing this with others helps us in filling each other's cup.
Take a few moments to consider what fuels you? A sense of belonging, security, freedom, achievement and or making a difference? Once you determine what fuels you, don't be afraid to ask for what you need.
That's the perspective from here.
Pam Rennie, BA, BEd, RECE