Why are some horses and people mean?
What leads people to be mean, unhappy, cynical or positive, light hearted, enthusiastic? – nature vs nurture the great debate. No two siblings have the same upbringing, and they come into the world with different personalities. How we become the people we are today is very complex. What I find useful when I am faced with people who are less than positive or downright mean and moody is to:
Not take it personally, frequently it is about them rather than me – while still taking responsibility for my part of the equation
Step into their shoes, attempt to understand their map of the world
See the person behind the behaviour. When I do this I can usually start to connect with them and not get caught up with the ‘games’ being played
On the occasions when I hear about a person’s upbringing or their current circumstances, their behaviour often makes total sense. And having grown up around horses I know the same is true of them!!
Do you have someone in your life that you have difficulties connecting with? What can you do to step into their map of the world to better understand them?
‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.’ Ben Furman
Self-fulfilling prophecies – the trouble with labels is that they tend to become self fulfilling prophecies both in terms of how we see ourselves and how we see others.
Labelling others – What happens when we label others? Research has been carried out in education in terms of how teachers respond to children who are labelled bright or below average. They end up teaching to the standard of the label.
What do we do when we are told someone is bright, dull, aggressive, generous? Even before we meet them we can start to form impressions, beliefs that will affect how we interact with the individual, often creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, which we can then believe has proved the label correct. Rather than it was our perceptions and behaviour that might have triggered the behaviour.
If everyone treats an individual as if they are ‘mean’ and interprets every silence or comment from that perspective and responds accordingly, the person is likely to encounter a less than positive world. This is likely to make them pretty defensive and maybe mean, even if they were not that way in the first place!
When we run in-house programmes, especially team working events, the managers sometimes want to fill us in on the individuals who will attend. Which often comes down to a long list of labels. Our approach is to go in with a blank sheet, get to know people as we find them, allowing them to be their true selves.
‘If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.’ Goethe.
Being labelled - I used to be known as Moody Melanie when I was growing up, perhaps an accurate description, as I was a pretty unhappy, under confident girl. However, I carried it onto adulthood and started to believe that was just me. Having done a lot of personal and professional development and having mastered my inner critic, I am now a very different person and the label certainly no longer fits and has been caste aside.
However, I’ve heard so many people who have hung onto and believe in these labels even if to others around them they are patently untrue. People who were told they were the ‘bright one’ or ‘the pretty one’, implying you were one or the other. Or that they were clumsy, not academic and so forth.
Are you carrying around any labels that are no longer, if ever, relevant for you? Are there labels that you use for certain individuals that are hindering your relationships with them?
Want more Inspiration? If you want to break out of the labels that have been put on you or overcome your own stereotypes of people around you we can offer consultancy advice, 1:1 support, and group workshops to assist you in doing this. Just call 01865 377334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to speak in confidence. For more information about Grovelands visit our website: www.grovelands.org.uk
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