There is a piece that is so vital when working with clients in a therapy setting: the idea of truly being able to separate the “person and behavior” within a human.
To avoid being vague, this is what it truly means. It is an attempt to distinguish a person’s actions from who they are inside. It is a nearly impossible task, but I say nearly impossible because it is doable. I have struggled with this for so much of my life, and continue to struggle even now.
When I was in nursing school, I behaved so badly for so long that I lost the ability to distinguish between external action and internal character. I was so deeply entrenched in my behavior that it didn’t even occur to me that behavior and being could be separate. To me, they were one. I was a person that was so in need of control that my actions were just a reflection of who I was on the inside.
It went on this way for a long time, and caused me to marinate in shame and doubt. I couldn’t see that those actions were not really who Greer was. They were reflective of a fear of mine.
Only now, because so much time has passed, am I able to see those behaviors for what they were. They were not Greer, but a manifestation of an internal unrest.
But isn’t it a difficult process to distinguish action and being? Because each time we act poorly, how can we not relate it to who we are? For me, I had a problem with cheating. How could I not see that as part of who I am when I was the one facilitating it? There is an element of burden that we place on ourselves when we are so attentive to our actions. In the same way that thoughts are just thoughts, actions are just actions. And how easy is it to say that whenever we do something positive, it isn’t coming from an innate place inside of us that directly reflects our inner being?
There needs to be a clear distinction between how we behave and who we are. Our behaviors can be an expression of a current state of mind or emotion, but they do not reflect our deeply rooted character. So here, for me, I see my course. I want to be aware of my actions and how they affect the people around me and myself. Act for yourself and be true to who you are at the core.
Greer Van Dyck, M.A. appreciates the quiet of the early morning hours. Proudly representing herself as a “realistic optimist,” she thrives on challenging herself in the workplace and on the playing field. She works for a startup company called TherapySites, who specializes in providing web based solutions for mental health care practitioners and gets geeked out over riding her single speed mountain bike. The work keeps her stimulated and always tests her creative edge and business savvy.She references the words of Kahlil Gibran often and appreciates the wisdom of his words. One of her favorite quotes “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” Game on. Providing therapeutic services in and around Boulder, CO. Please feel free to call at 706-714-6500 or email at [email protected]