Copy Cat Behaviors

I was in the grocery store the other day and I noticed a woman with 3 kids.
My heart instantly felt compassion for this woman who struggled to walk through the store. I could see her struggles. I could see the pain as she pushed the cart. She was breathing heavy and there was extreme grimace on her face. She looked sad, frustrated, worn out.
As I strolled through the store, I noticed her 3 kids had similar facial expressions, demeanor, and struggles. As we nearly ran into each other several times, smiling and nodding at each other, I noticed that her cart looked a little bit different than mine.
I also noticed that she struggled with extreme obesity and struggled to walk around the store. I couldn’t imagine facing the struggles she was living. The last thing I noticed was that her three kids, all under the age of 15 from what I could see, battled obesity as well.
The defeat in their behaviors and facial expressions was overwhelming. The interactions were not very positive and there did not seem to be much joy happening around them. People stared at the size of the woman and her kids. I could feel the judgment each time I was near them.
Life seemed to have knocked the woman down and it seemed as though she struggled to find the personal commitment to a healthier, more positive life. I also noticed the impact her choices were having on her kids’ lives.
It made me think about life and how life can be hard. I thought about how life can test us. Sometimes we are challenged to our brink. Sometimes there is no one to help. Sometimes we don’t help ourselves. Sometimes life knocks us down. Life can be hard.
And along the way, we all need help, we all need encouragement. We all need “pick me ups”. Fueling our bodies with positive, healthy, and supportive lifestyles help us reach goals, dreams, passions. Ridding our lives of the negativity helps us get to those dreams and goals faster.
Making choices that keep us from those goals impacts not only our life but the lives of those we have in it.
I too struggled for years with an extra 35 pounds I lugged around. Life made it hard to make decisions that would be in my best interest. It always seemed that when I would get on the right track, something or someone would derail me.
Through prayer, practice, positive affirmations, personal changes and lifestyle changing commitments, life changed.
Suddenly life wasn’t knocking me down. Life was presenting new opportunities and experiences that helped me love more, live more, and learn more about myself and everyone in my life.
As we passed each other, the difference in our two carts was significantly different.
The difference was that my cart was filled with vegetables, lean meats, less processed foods and more Whole Foods.
Her cart was filled with items you could pop in the microwave for a quick meal, boxes of starchy foods, fully loaded sugar drinks, pizzas, and other frozen delicious naughty foods, as well as a solid supply of candy snacks.
It got me thinking.
The behaviors we teach or demonstrate are important.
Some of these behaviors we teach can have consequences.
Some of these behaviors we teach can have lasting effects that can affect our health, our mental wealth, our careers, our relationships, our EVERYTHING.
These behaviors can destroy lives if we aren’t careful.
I had a student, during my first years of teaching, who wrote a paper about me.
Tiffany turned the assignment into her English teacher who thought it was important that I read it.
The paper was so heartfelt and talked about me. I know, scary right? 😂
But what I got out of reading that paper was that we are always being watched by those around us.
People notice our behaviors, our language patterns, and everything we do.
They notice when we are mad, sad, disgusted, disappointed, happy, pumped up, whatever, they notice.
They really notice what we say to them as well. They notice what we do to them. They notice how we treat them.
All the while they are noticing these things they are learning from us. Good and bad.
How each person filters that experience and whether they adopt it into their belief system or not is a personal choice.
When I saw this severely overweight woman who could barely walk through the store, I couldn’t help to try to put myself in her shoes to see how she felt, to see how tough her journey may be and what it would take to lose the weight and make all the necessary change to course correct her health as well as her kids. Overwhelming I am sure.
From working with thousands of people over the years, I could only imagine how she felt, how helpless she felt, how much pain she was dealing with, how much disappointment she was living, and how low her self-esteem may be.
I sensed this from her physical behaviors, her facial expressions, the way she talk to her kids, and the overall demeanor she displayed.
More alarming was what I noticed on two of the kids.
Two of the kids looked at the ground most of the time when people approach them, their shoulders were forward, and they had very little energy to them.
They looked sad and embarrassed and I could tell they did not have positive self-esteem.
The behaviors the mom was displaying were passed down to her kids.
The choices she has made for herself have been passed down to her kids.
These choices are creating repeat patterns of low self-esteem, low self-worth, and poor health choices that contribute to our mental health and our overall well-being.
When I make choices, those choices don’t always just impact me.
I have to consider those I’m closest to in my life who it may impact as well.
If I don’t do this, it causes frustration, anger, disappointment, and all those icky feelings we don’t like to have.
And the choices I make every day from the time I get up in the morning have a tremendous impact on how my life turns out day over day.
If I make a bad choice, that bad choice can impact me for the rest of my life if I am not careful.
Because of the choices this lady is making for herself and her kids, it is creating a lifetime of negative behaviors that will influence them the rest of their lives.
It’s funny how when we don’t like something about our life, we make excuses, rather than making a positive change to improve and to become happier, healthier, a better version of ourselves. We continue to choose to be miserable, sad, lonely, depressed, and full of negative emotions.
If you want to make change, stay with me and ride this journey with me to help you find a different perspective in life that will help you create change and belief in yourself.
If you are looking for positive change, here are 5 things you can do right now to move towards your goals.
  1. Gain awareness of the choices you are making
  2. Pick one negative choice you would like to change
  3. Replace that negative choice with one positive choice.
  4. Post your positive choice in the place you will see so you can read it every day.
  5. Once you replace the negative habit, repeat the entire process with the next negative choice you would like to change
And don’t forget to reward yourself with something positive that will make you happier, healthier, and more confident in yourself.
Make your change now.
Be your change today.
Love yourself and those around enough to make positive change.
Be better.
Do better.
Treat people better,
Especially YOURSELF.

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