Chances are, we have all at times asked ourselves, “Why do I do that? I don’t want to do it . . . but yet I still do.” Human behavior is one of life’s greatest curiosities. To this date, we have learned much about it, but there is still yet much to be discovered as well. Why do we do the things we do – for better or for worse? Sometimes we know exactly why we do them and we do them intentionally. You may hug your child to show him or her how much you care. You may use a potholder to lift a hot casserole from the oven to avoid being burned. These are examples of choices we make and behaviors we exhibit with conscious understanding. But how do we explain the behaviors we don’t understand – the behaviors we may even feel are out of our own control? Do any of the below examples sound familiar to you?
- I smoke, but I know it is unhealthy and I want to stop.
- I get angry a lot, and sometimes for no reason. But that is making my friendships suffer.
- I am terrified of dogs, but they are everywhere around me and I don’t want to be afraid.
- I feel anxiety and panic when I have to speak to someone new. I just can’t do it, but it will be important in my new job.
- I really want to stop drinking too much alcohol, but every day I just can’t resist it.
- I want to join the new book club at work, but I am too scared to because I am not good enough at reading.
- My doctor says I need to eat more healthy foods, but I can’t stop eating the unhealthy ones.
- I wish I could stop biting my fingernails, but even when I try really hard not to I still keep doing it.
These are just a few of the many, many possible unexplained behaviors. In cases such as these, the conscious mind may not be fully aware (or have any awareness at all) of the reason for the particular behavior. Yet it keeps happening as if it must be done, and this often finds the individual at a loss or suffering…especially if the behavior is a dysfunctional or negative one. The degrees of suffering can vary from minor annoyances to severe life debilitations. However, Yagerian Therapy teaches us that no matter the degree, it is possible to alleviate or completely eliminate the behaviors even though we do not have conscious understanding of why they occur.
To understand how this is possible, we must first understand why we don’t have that conscious understanding of why we do what we do. That answer lies in conditioning. Behavior is determined by life’s conditioning. Whether it is constructive or destructive, it is the way you have been conditioned to behave. Beliefs and values form the basis for much behavior, and they too come from conditioning. If not, then where do they come from? A belief that stealing is wrong comes from being taught that it is wrong. A belief that stealing is right (and some would teach others it is), comes from being taught it is right. Moreover, unless you are a rare exception, you did not have anything to say about any of the ways you were conditioned to be.
When we sometimes find ourselves doing or saying things that are inappropriate, it is important to understand they are learned behaviors. To illustrate, select some behavior of your own. Look at its beginning and you will find that it began in some situation, at some specific time, for some particular reason. You were not born with it – it was learned.
As we mature, we learn all manner of skills, values, and beliefs. We learn what is right and what is wrong. We learn what we can do and we learn that there are limits to what we can do. Sometimes the limits we learn are false limits, limits that are based on false information or on misunderstanding, and those limits become just as real as other limits. Such false limits may relate to physical strength or endurance; they may also relate to mental capacities such as memory or intelligence.
Conditioning is learning even if there is not awareness that the learning is taking place. So sometimes you are taught something even though you were not aware it was being taught to you. Yet it became embedded into your mind. As we mature, most of what we learn is positive. We learn to walk and talk. We learn to love and to cope with life in productive ways. Yet, sometimes we learn false, negative, or dysfunctional behaviors. We may have learned to get our way by a display of temper, and we may have internalized that as a way of coping as adults. We may have taken solace in smoking during a difficult time in our lives, and now cannot quit despite best efforts. We may have learned to fear something irrationally or to express our emotions in physical ways that have become the physical dysfunctions we now identify as negative behaviors or even illnesses.
Whether we express an emotion in a functional way or repress it and then express it in a dysfunctional way depends upon how we learned to express it in the first place. When we learned to express the emotion, it was logical that we would have learned to do so as we did, even though it may appear irrational and dysfunctional in our present life. For example, if we learned to fear the dark, it was in circumstances in which it was logical to be afraid; it was logical that we would have formed an association between fear and dark. Similarly, if we experienced pain and gained attention because of it, we might later continue to experience subconsciously generated pain for that learned (now subconscious) reason. And we might do so despite conscious desire not to feel pain. This explains why we may not know why we do the things we do, and why we may feel powerless to stop them.
The Yagerian Method’s foundation in conditioning provides us with a solution for changing that conditioning. If we are indeed conditioned creatures – then we can also be reconditioned creatures. Although we may feel powerless about some of these behaviors, we still possess the ability to change with the motivation to change.
We have no choice about the way we were conditioned to be; however, under certain conditions we can influence our future. If it is true that decisions, values, and behavior are determined by conditioning, and if it is also true that we had little (if any) influence on what that conditioning was to be, we are faced with the question of whether or not we had choice about our behavior at any point in the past. We must look to the future for choice. We may have choice about the future; we can introduce new conditioning into our lives through new life experiences that will move us in the direction we wish to go. By learning from past mistakes and from past victories, we can choose (make decisions) about our future.
If it is true that you had no choice about your decisions, values and behavior, it follows that you should not be blamed (or blame yourself) for them. If you made the best decision it was possible for you to have made – as you were conditioned to have made – the words “blame” and “guilt” cease to have meaning. Freed from the burdens these words impose, their negative consequences are avoided.
We can change our unwanted behaviors in the future by meeting three conditions. First, having defined the change to be made, we must be open to the possibility that the change can be made. Second, we must know how to make the change. Finally, we must be motivated to make the change. That is all we need in order to free ourselves from unwanted behaviors – seems quite simple, really. Therefore, although you may not at this point know it is possible to make the changes you desire, there is little to lose and much to gain by being optimistic!
Yagerian Therapy is evidence-based, revealing it to be the most effective and efficient therapy available to accomplish change. The Yagerian Method guides us to discover understanding of the dysfunctional conditioning we could to find on our own, and then helps us to recondition it for the better. It satisfies the “how to” requirement for change to happen. The motivation to change must come from your conscious reasoning. Is your level of motivation sufficient to prompt action? That is all you need to get started on freeing yourself!
What behaviors are troubling you? Are you ready to make a change with Yagerian Online Therapy?
If you find yourself troubled by behaviors you don’t understand and are ready to take control over them, the Yagerian Method can show you how. You can discover the root causes of those mysterious behaviors, recondition them, and then the behavior will cease to exist. You have the chance to be free and in control once again! And. . . .you can even carry out the treatment yourself from the comfort of your own home with the online version.
Several conditions are now treatable with Yagerian Online Therapy, including behavior-related afflictions. Explore solutions for chronic anger, dyslexia, addiction, anxiety, irrational fear, and more. Yagerian Online Therapy even offers a risk-free trial period to explore and check these out for yourself – click here to try it FREE for 2 hours!
If you would like to learn more about the Yagerian Method, check out our other blog articles as well!