In processing my own behavioral patterns I've acknowledged culture, childhood, and worldview. All factors, and significant ones. But lately I've been looking more practically than philosophically at this issue.
For all my good intentions and attempts to respond thoughtfully, it seems the reactions just spill out before I get the chance to think and make a conscious choice about how I'm communicating, verbally and non-verbally.
And this is why. My neurons are firing down well-worn pathways and I can't stop them.
Of course bad habits are broken all the time, and though my neurological physiology plays a role, I'm not its victim. Those neural patterns don't define me. They don't have to anyway.
The problem is that in trying to move away from coercive communication and discipline strategies - the ones ingrained in me through culture, childhood experiences, and an absorbed worldview - I've forgotten to move toward something else.
I can't just shut down neural pathways. Attempting to move backward is as effective as remaining static. I have to re-route them in a positive direction.
I can't focus on restraining coercive communication, I must focus on injecting love and acceptance into my communication.
Avoiding or attacking the negative, only brings more negative energy to my life and my relationships. But welcoming and actively pursuing a positive alternative creates change in a positive way - through forward motion.
As I work toward peaceful and loving words, they will eventually crowd out their judgmental and confrontational counterparts.
So my goal for the upcoming week (and beyond, of course) is to move toward, not away. To let go of the things I want to extinguish and center my attention on what I want to establish. Because the only way I want to move is forward.