HomeNeuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)You are not your behavior…

“You are not your behaviour!


Complex Equivalence yet another potentially unresourceful pattern.

“Because I do ____, means I am a bad person” or
“Good people don’t do _______”

Your behaviour is not who you are.

Your behaviour is simply your behaviour.

It can be crappy being around you, or maybe there are times that it is crappy being you. However you are not stuck, because your behaviour is not you, it’s how you choose to interact.

Behaviour can be changed anytime you are ready, you simply need to be ready to change it.

Behaving poorly doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you a person who made poor choices. The simple solution is make better choices.

Sometimes, some people have been behaving a certain way for so long they actually start to believe that’s who they are.

When my father gets really passionate about something, or concerned about something he starts to raise his voice and often will begin to yell and criticize. He absolutely doesn’t mean any harm, it’s just how he learned to communicate when he was looking for a specific response. At some point in his life it was getting him the result he wanted, so under specific circumstances he automatically repeats the behaviour. He will continue to do so as long as he is getting the desired response.

When I say to him “Dad you don’t need to raise your voice” he responds most times quite simply with “I know Jacqueline, but it’s just who I am.”

In my father’s case (and by the way I’ve also learned this not so tasteful way of circumstantial interaction, I’m changing it as you read this) his statement “it’s just who I am” clearly indicates that he has taken that unresourceful behaviour all the way to an identity level. In other words, he actually believes he is powerless against his own behaviour.

Sometimes behaviour has become so ingrained it has moved to the point of “unconscious competence”, where the poor behaviour becomes an automatic situational response.

Don’t be fooled, It is nonetheless however still a behaviour and behaviours are learned and behaviours can be unlearned.

I heard of a Vietnam veteran who was absolutely stuck in self-loathing and self-hatred because he had killed people.

His core belief, or in NLP terms complex equivalence “people who kill people are bad” was literally destroying him. He was completely unable to function and was well on the way to killing himself.

One day he was introduced to “people who kill people are bad, unless they are sent to war and are forced to protect themselves”.

Putting your own judgements aside, consider what happened to the man, as he accepted this new belief. It changed his entire life. He no longer was a “bad” human being, he was a human being that did “bad” things to survive, and sometimes that’s ok.

As Neuro Linguistic Programmers it’s our job to help people lead happier, more fulfilling lives. It is our job to keep our own opinions and beliefs out of it. Recognising impoverished Meta Model patterns in everyday conversation is a skill that takes practice, but it’s well within your reach.

If you’re feeling stuck, dedicate some time to noticing your own complex equivalence…your self-judgements, limiting beliefs whatever you want to call them.

You have the skills to change it up…

If your response to the above paragraph is “But I’m stuck and I can’t figure it out, I’ve done everything!” then I would say

How do you know you’re stuck? What specifically isn’t happening that makes you think you’re stuck? CAN’T find it? Where haven’t you looked? I mean have you tried everything, absolutely everything?…hmmm….perhaps you’ve just given up because somewhere in there you believe that if that happens…then that means this…and this equals stuck, and stuck is giving you permission or at least in the past it did to do…..”

Remember “Freedom is everything, and love is all the rest” – Richard Bandler

Be Well,


One thought on “You are not your behavior…

Paul Cilia12 years ago,

Oh Crap!…..that’s why my life tastes like that…


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