I’ve been saying this a lot lately, because it seems people mistake a single instance (or handful of instances) of something for a way of being.
Hmmm. That sounds about as clear as mud. Let me explain.
- You can do something good, and still be a buttnugget.
- You can do the right thing and still have the wrong reasons.
- You can say “I’m sorry,” and not mean it.
The list goes on.
And on the flip side:
- You can think mean and snarky thoughts (even say them), and not BE a mean and snarky person overall.
- You can eat a fast-food meal followed by fro-yo and a half pound of Jelly Bellys and not be a pig.
- You can treat someone badly and not be an asshole.
There is a difference between behavior and personality.
You may eat healthy and exercise today, and not yet be someone who eats well and exercises, for example.
Let’s say that personality is the word for individual differences in the way people tend to think, feel and behave.
How you behave is ONE part, a symptom, if you will, of your personality. And sometimes behavior is a reflexive response to stress, not an indicator of your thoughts…
Because you weren’t thinking.
You were just feeling and reacting.
Sometimes, like eating healthy and exercising, your behavior is symptomatic of how you WANT to be, even if you’re not there yet. It’s not ingrained. It’s not a habit.
So, you say that nasty thing in the middle of an argument, because you’re hurt and you want to lash out.
And if you’re the type who would normally say mean things, but you don’t, because you’re trying to impress a new love interest, you are changing your behavior, but not your thoughts or your feelings.
If you’re the type that is normally quite nice and considerate, you’ve simply made a mistake in behavior.
So, what to do?
If you fuck up: Be wrong. Own it. Apologize or fix it. Move forward.
If you get things right: Be right. Enjoy it, and decide if you’d like to do more of this. Don’t think that rightness applies to everything you’ve ever done or said, ever. It doesn’t. You could still be the idiot who got this one thing right. Or the dieter that just got through your first day.
And when possible, be right, for the right reasons often enough that it becomes a habit, so instead of learning to “pick people up,” you learn to be the person who others flock to.