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Accept Others’ Behavior As Is

Expecting ideal behavior gives rise to frustration

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

People’s behavior towards us is dependent upon their own subconscious programming. In some societies, they are programmed to treat women with extra respect as compared to men while in others men are given greater respect. We do not have control over others’ behavior. If we formulate a belief that behavior towards us should be in accordance with our belief then in all likelihood we would become frustrated.

Reasons for non-acceptance

Every individual has a set of beliefs that is formulated in his mind based on societal influences. Some of them try to change those beliefs after doing a lot of inner work. But these people face quite a lot of problems when they do not receive behaviors in accordance with their new belief system.

In most cases, unwanted behaviors from others trigger a past memory in a person where he felt hurt. This hurt in the past was due to the presence of false or ideal beliefs.

Example: Valentin grew up in a liberal society where in love affairs women were given an upper hand. As a man, Valentin was supposed to woo women. Valentin had not questioned his belief system which was a result of societal programming. Hence he went along with the flow and didn’t mind him given a backseat as far as formulating relationships was concerned.

John on the other hand grew up in the same society as Valentin. He had worked a lot on himself and brought about quite some changes in his belief system. He valued himself as a man and was of the opinion that men too have a say in formulating relationships and that it need not be the case that only they have to woo women. A woman who wants him also has an obligation to woo him. Another belief that John formulated was that if a relationships break then both men and women need time to heal. Men are not supposed to be the tough ones who do not need any love and support from others.

Now amongst Valentin and John, it is Valentin who would not face many behaviors from others that go against his belief system. He would approach many women and if they disrespect him, he would still be fine as his belief system considers such disrespect natural.

John on the other hand would face quite some situations where he would become frustrated. He has to face the brunt of women who would be interested in him but would not like to make the first move. Most of his friends too would act roughly with him and consider him egotistical.

Thus, we see that if a person has brought about quite some changes in his psyche then there is a high chance that some of the changed beliefs would go against societal programming. This would lead the person to face situations that would trigger his belief system and make him frustrated.

We only control ourselves

It is good to change our belief system so that we forego some of the bad beliefs present in our society. But doing so we should be cautious that if some newly formulated beliefs lead us to expect so-called ideal behaviors from others, then in high likelihood we would be frustrated.

We only have control over ourselves. In case we are receiving some behaviors that go against our belief system then we should simply accept it as is and make it a point to later remove that expectation. There is no point in fighting with the other person for the way they behaved with us.

“The other person behaved the way they did base on their subconscious programming and forcing them to adhere to our standard would in fact create a drift.”

The above advice is true especially when we do cannot manipulate the other person. In some cases, we may need to put forth our needs and the other person may change his behavior. One great example of this case is the parent-child (or boss-employee) relationship. There may be some behaviors of the children that the parent does not find acceptable so they can act in a stern manner and ask their children to change their behavior.

Apart from the above-mentioned few relationships, in most other forms of relationships, we should simply accept the behavior as is. In case we try to bring about a change then it may not go well. We may also become frustrated.

It’s a challenge

Actually, it is a challenge to accept others’ behavior as is. In case we feel discomfort upon receiving unwanted behavior then it means there is something within us that is causing the uneasiness.

Any unwanted behavior acts as a stimulus and takes the train of thoughts in those areas of our subconscious mind where we felt hurt or fearful.

The challenge is to apply the process of catharsis and refinement of the inner child to remove the emotional charge associated with those fearful incidents from the past and then change the belief.

The newly internalized belief should free us from being dependent upon expecting an ideal behavior from others.

Example: John received many rough behaviors from his classmates, who considered him egotistical for expecting women to woo him. He then applied the process of catharsis and refinement of the inner child to those incidents from his past where he was hurt. John used to be the topper of his class and had formulated a belief that he need not bow down to anyone. He also belonged to a well-to-do family where he was inculcated with a belief that they are superior to others.

When his classmates behaved roughly with him, it would take the train of thought to incidents from his past where he would become frustrated when someone from not so well-to-do family would disrespect him. He also feared that the disrespect would be known to his parents who would scold him for not responding back with fervor to the other person.

John removed all the emotional charge associated with such incidents from his past and then formulated a belief that society does treat men in a certain manner. He cannot expect others to change their behavior towards him. The only thing that is within his control is to be firm in his approach. If he feels that both men and women are equal in relationships then he need not go out of his way to woo women. But as far as imposing his belief onto others is concerned, John removed that expectation from his mind.


To have a different set of belief systems from the society where one lives is actually a good thing. It means that the person has done quite a lot of inner work. But if the newly formulated beliefs are dependent upon others then I believe they are going to be a source of frustration for the person. A belief should only concern with your behavior and not have any expectations of others.

In case one does get frustrated by others’ behavior then he needs to apply the process of catharsis and refinement of the inner child to remove the emotional charge associated with the earlier stored powerful impression and then bring about a transformation in the belief system. The newly formed belief should not have any expectations from others. Only then one can lead a life on one’s own terms without being unnecessarily bogged down by unrealistic expectations of others.



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Utpal Kumar

Utpal Kumar

Interested in the psychology behind human functioning. I write on a variety of topics with most of them dealing with personal development | MS in CS from UCSD