Well, kind of. “People are not their behaviours” is a pre-supposition of NLP which took me quite awhile to grasp. Before I learned about this, my husband was told he wouldn’t rise any further in the organisation he was working in despite eighteen years of stunning performance appraisals. I was pretty upset at the guy who delivered the news, the same guy that had given all of the stunning performance reviews. In fact, I vowed that I would never speak to him again. He wasn’t even allowed to step foot in my house.
At the time, I couldn’t separate his lack of congruency from him the person. I really hated his behaviour, so therefor, I hated him. It wasn’t helpful because my husband didn’t seem to have a problem with him at all. That made me even more angry and bitter.
Along comes NLP and this presupposition and even though I understood the concept of separating people from their behaviours, I still didn’t like it and I didn’t really practice it. It took me quite a number of years of playing with seeing a person’s actions as just that, an action, not a reflection of their human-ness. I learned to forgive the man that ruined my husband’s career (or so I thought) even though he was no longer in our lives.
Fast forward several years and my husband has his dream job all because of that guy…you know, the one I wouldn’t let in my house. I’ve had dinner with him, I’ve had him over at my house and continue to be friends with him to this day. My husband never doubted the man’s integrity like I had. For the two of them, and for me, it all came right in the end.
Now I’m faced with other people in my life that have behaviours that go against my values. Do I separate the action from the person? Yes. I do. Do I necessarily let that person stick around in my life? No, I don’t. I can forgive the person and separate the action and still not choose to have that behaviour repeated around me time and again. This is what I mean by “kind of”. People are not their behaviours AND you don’t necessarily need to have the behaviour following you around.
I believe in boundaries. I believe in telling people what behaviours I accept and which ones I don’t. I’m very clear on that. And when they demonstrate an action that doesn’t work for me repeatedly and I’ve communicated my dissatisfaction repeatedly, I cut them loose.
Who has a behaviour that you need to separate from them as a person? Who needs to be told of your boundaries? When will you start doing this? Now, maybe?