Why Do I Do That?

Over time I have come to realise that I engage in the same or similar behaviours that I judge or dislike in other people. I am also becoming more aware of where and when I do this. The next question that arises is, “Why do I do that?”

Coming out of the arrogance of “I don’t do that!” to the curiosity and humbling of “Where do I do that?,” into the understanding of “Why do I do that?” helps me get on top of my judgment of others by addressing what it is within me that needs to be looked at.

This process is a great step towards self-responsibility as I learn to understand myself and others more deeply. Asking myself these questions allows more intimacy to develop in my relationship with myself and others, which over time cuts out any comparison, judgment or competition and clears the way for me to see where I also engage in the same unloving behaviours that I was once judging others for.

For example:

When I find myself judging another person as being ‘needy,’ I have noticed just how much ugliness and vitriol I have been capable of verbally throwing their way or even worse, thinking about them, that then taints every single interaction I have with the person I have judged so harshly.

This is the arrogant “I don’t do that!” stage.

The more I connect to my body and listen to how it feels as a result of my choosing this kind of judgment and ugly behaviour, the more I can feel it taking its toll on my body and this awareness is what starts to break my defences down. This is when the question “Where do I do that?” comes into the picture.

Over time, having repeated this behaviour I have gained a greater awareness of where I act in a needy way and have learnt that it is by going back and connecting to myself that I am able feel how these behaviours are affecting my body and other people.

This is the part that eventually allows me to ask myself the all-important question, “Why do I do that?” In this space there is an invitation to be deeply honest with myself, and in the case of being needy I have come to realise that it has stemmed from a deep hurt of not being seen as a child for who I had innately felt myself to be, and the feeling of a deep sadness in disconnecting from that knowing of myself at an early age. I have come to understand that the neediness is a seeking, but the connection that will truly stop the search is the connection within myself. I left myself and then sought others to fill what I refused to fulfil within myself.

While this is a work in progress in reducing my need of others and connecting deeper within, I find that this understanding of myself wipes away the judgment that then gets dumped onto others and taints all relationships.

I often ask myself questions such as: “What responsibility am I avoiding?”… or, “What is my responsibility?”… because underneath all my unloving expression is a divinity that I am responsible for showing and shining into the world. These behaviours are never about uncovering my rotten core, for there isn’t one. They are the consequences of me ignoring and rejecting the divinity that can be found equally within each and every one of us. So, if I live, holding my divinity as precious beyond words, I am communicating to others… “This divinity is acceptable and accessible and the truth of who we innately are and how we can live”… and it is this I have come to realise that I have been avoiding – the holding of this inner knowing of who I truly am for all to feel.

So then… why do I do that?

Coming to this answer I have to be honest, connect to my body and go deeper and feel the depths of self-rejection, as a way of understanding why I do what I do. It could be that I have held onto a hurt from a past expectation not being met: I could be holding onto a belief that I, others or life should be different and thus I am trying to make it into what I believe it should be over and above what the truth of the matter is at the time.

All this rejection and avoidance is foreign to that which is within me; it is not naturally a part of me. Being open and honest in this way helps bring an understanding to my own and others’ behaviours, for when I am not acting from who I know myself to truly be I tend to take things personally – which hurts me – so to come to this understanding feels liberating as I no longer feel held in the cycle of berating myself for something that is not even truly from me in the first place. It exposes where I have lived in a false light of who I am and not in accordance to the divine light within me.

Asking myself “Why do I do that?” and other like questions comes in when I have chosen to be honest, raw and real with what is truly driving me to do what I do in life. It is a great tool of self-reflection and helps bring a greater understanding to myself, others and life situations.

By Leigh Matson, Learning Disability Support Worker, UK

Related Reading:
The Science of Reflection – what is it reflecting to us?
Reviewing, reflecting and appreciating our choices
Is change possible? Understanding the choices we make and why!

183 thoughts on “Why Do I Do That?

  1. We do it because we are not connected in that moment to our soul, we do it because we are aligned to an energy that gets off on comparing itself with another, awesome Leigh you noticed this and called it for the imposter it is.

  2. At work, if I am not paying attention to my movements, I can easily get caught into reactions. If I am together in everything I do, then I can observe and not absorb.

  3. Awareness. Such a truly awesome awakening as when we have more awareness of how we live including of our thoughts, actions, movement … basically all forms of expression (like you shared about being aware of judging others) that is when we can change them 🙌✨❤️

  4. While there is much simplicity in these last steps I must say, sometimes getting past the “I don’t do that!” can take a while. Connecting to the body repeatedly is the only way to chip away at that arrogance.

  5. Great to ask the question why we do things as it allows us to take a step back and see the root of it and I love what you share about first coming out of the arrogance and into the honesty in order to be able to get to this point.

  6. This is a very honest blog that shows how we project onto others what we want to see, rather than checking in with ourselves and asking the question what’s going on for me. It’s fascinating how the desire to blame other is so strong in us, rather than checking in with how we are and what we are contributing to the situation.

    1. It also shows the science of reflection and how it can be a powerful supportive tool. That which we see so clearly in others is actually what we need to look at within ourselves.

  7. Oh we humans can be so arrogant, choosing to be blissfully unaware of our imposition on others, very freeing (and exposing) it is when finally choose to be honest and look at our own behaviours.

  8. When we can recognise that everything before us is a reflection that supports us to develop and evolve, especially when we are in reaction to it, we can deal with the reaction very quickly and receive the blessing of the learning.

  9. Catching the crazy-ness of judging another, this comes with the obvious that we are also then judge-mental of ourselves – thus the earlier we catch these thoughts then the sooner we heal the underlying issues that is causing our contriving ways we thinking.

  10. “Asking myself “Why do I do that?” and other like questions ……… It is a great tool of self-reflection and helps bring a greater understanding to myself, others and life situations” Self-reflection is an invaluable tool for learning, deepening and evolving.

    1. I agree sueq2012, I am now fascinated by what is presented for me to look at within myself what is being shown to me so that I can learn and grow from the experience.

  11. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Over time I have come to realise that I engage in the same or similar behaviours that I judge or dislike in other people….

  12. It’s a very constructive and purposeful way to work with the reflections people offer us, to examine why those particular behaviours unsettle us and then be honest about why we are judging or reacting. It’s a little too easy and comfortable living with a finger pointed at others, when the only person we can change and have the responsibility for is ourselves. It reminds me of a saying I heard “When you point a finger at someone three of your own fingers are pointing back at yourself.” Thanks Leigh, great to read this again.

    1. I like that saying, it’s relatable. In my job often me and my client are subject to judgmental stares from strangers. Having not slept well for the past 4 days I’ve been pretty cranky and found myself silently staring and judging others on the bus today. I caught it and reminded myself that my poor choices that led to feeling cranky doesn’t give me permission to scowl at people!

      1. Thanks Leigh for what you have shared here, I have those days as well where I am completely out of character and it’s a supportive point you’ve raised about it simply being a signal to check where our choices have been, and go back to increasing self care and love. It takes the criticism and judgement of self out of it as well.

      2. I used to have so many days like that Leigh! Tiredness brought on much of my cranky behaviour, but as you say, it doesn’t give permission to scowl at others! These days I cant even recall feeling like this! getting sufficient sleep supports us so much – but isn’t always possible, depending on your work situation…..

  13. I got to understand myself on a deeper level recently, I had an expectation of someone and as they did not fulfill my expectation I became frustrated and resentful. I have to say I then hated having these feeling because they were so hurtful to my body but the strength of these thoughts coming through me felt overwhelming. I tried all sorts of methods to support myself and in the end I just had to say something if I didn’t I felt I would explode. So I sat down with the person and we had a chat and it was amazing because it actually supported me to go deeper with myself by expressing in full no holding back. And this supported our relationship to deepen as the other person completely understood why I got so upset and we both agreed to communicate more with each other. Bringing understanding of why we react to situations rather than brushing them aside and getting on with life is so beneficial because it then can introduce harmony which nowadays is a very rare commodity.

    1. Amazing that you expressed how you felt with the other which in turn supported you to go deeper and in turn supported the relationship to deepen. Very cool. Expression really is everything ✨

  14. “….. understanding of myself wipes away the judgement that then gets dumped onto others and taints all relationships.” When we bring understanding to a situation we reduce the chances of judging others. Could it be that we judge ourselves more and we then reflect this out onto others? Dealing with my own inner critic supports me to be less judgmental of others.

  15. Absolute honesty with ourselves offers an awareness of why we do what we do and an understanding of why others do what they do.

  16. Thank you again Leigh for this super wise and supportive article. I know that I cannot get close to the question, ‘Why do I do that?’ without a great big developing foundation of self acceptance and care. Because without that the ‘Why do I do that?’ comes laced with the poison of judgement and self condemnation. So asking the question and feeling how open, honest and understanding I can be with myself is in itself a great marker and revelation.

  17. What a great lesson in psychology you have offered here Leigh. I was inspired by your willingness to ask the questions of yourself in such an objective way, and I get a sense of how liberating and loving this process can be.

  18. When we don’t understand ourselves and don’t have that connection with ourselves we are going to judge others, develop a strong acceptance of ourselves and the mightiness we are and we are going to also have that same acceptance of others.

  19. This is great Leigh, I too notice how sometimes I can have hideous thoughts about people, sometimes strangers and sometimes those very close to me. I started to ask similar questions as my reactions didn’t make sense considering I either didn’t know them or love them dearly. Asking why or what on earth is going on here has allowed me to realise my judgements on people and ultimately myself and begin to let them go.

  20. Making our day to day about understanding instead of pushing on regardless is a huge shift. Just asking the question ‘why?’ is a bridge away from reaction, hurt and blame.

  21. Asking ourselves why is always a good question following with then allowing ourselves to feel what is going on in the body. For example why do I not feel true settlement within me? This is something I have been asking myself lately and allowing myself to feel what is going on in my body and … why.

  22. There is often an ease in seeing what another does but a denial or fogging up of what we do so as to avoid the responsibility that is offered back to us.

  23. We can learn so much about ourselves whilst observing and living with others. If there is a reaction that we have, something that another does that triggers us this is instantly an opportunity for us to learn and deepen our understanding of another and hence ourselves too.

  24. Those are great and simple questions that offer us the opportunity of coming back to us. Simplicity and honesty are the gate/door to the understanding in that journey.

  25. It is so easy to make a judgement about another, but what are we actually avoiding to see about ourselves that we don’t want to see? By avoiding seeing the truth of the reflection being offered to us, we are avoiding our power and evolution.

    1. I agree and it is not necessarily something not great we don’t want to see about ourselves it could instead be something that we are not appreciating.

  26. When I make judgements about others I need to turn my finger round and ask myself where do I do that too? It’s all too easy to get frustrated and then blame and criticise others but we need to attend to ourselves first.

    1. Absolutely. I agree. In our judgement of others we are abdicating responsibility for the part we play in everything. It is totally passing the buck and feeds the dysfunction that is our blame culture.

  27. ““What responsibility am I avoiding?” Such a great question to ask ourselves – especially when I find myself going into old habits that I know no longer serve.

  28. When there is a behaviour in another to which I react, dislike and/or judge It is because in most cases it is a reflection of a behaviour in myself I do not like.

  29. It is such a great observation you have come to Leigh, learning about yourself and what most people do without even thinking about it or noticing that it happens. Observing our behaviour is the first step, only then can we see what is going on and then decide if or when we want to change.

    1. Spot on Gill – without realising what it is that we do, there is no next step in making a change. Observation is key. Thank you for this reminder and super valuable step!

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