These are weird, tough times and I believe that what many people are experiencing is a form of stress. When we’re stressed or anxious, we don’t think or act rationally. We all react in different ways – and many of these patterns of behaviour we learn as children.
These aspects of our personality are called our “Drivers.” They can be useful, but they can also make us more stressed and anxious if we’re not able to fulfil the driver behaviour that we’re programmed with.
Perhaps a few examples would help you to understand your own drivers and how they might be impacting right now. Here’s a list of the 5 most common ones, see which you think feels most like you – there will probably be one or two that feel most familiar.
The “Be Strong” driver tells us that it’s not OK to show emotions and we should tough it out OR get on with it. Whilst A “Be Strong” driver is good in a crisis situation; it might mean that you don’t feel that it’s OK to express your feelings or ask for help.
The “Hurry Up” driver tells you to do everything fast – you’re probably rushing around and barely have a minute to relax. You’re probably getting a lot done, but that might be making you feel tired and unable to sit still or relax.
The “Try Hard” driver pushes you to have a go at things, but you often feel that you haven’t completed them, or that you take on too much. If this is you, it can be easy to feel frustrated that you’re not doing enough and that you’ve failed if you don’t do more.
The “Be Perfect” likes everything to be just so. You put an enormous amount of effort into the detail and like things to be exactly right. This can mean that what you do is to a really high standard but you’ll have paid in anxiety and time to get it that way.
The “Please People” driver likes to keep everyone happy often at their own expense. You’re probably great at looking after everyone else, and not that great at getting your own needs met, which can leave you feeling angry and resentful.
Spotted yourself yet?
Our drivers are like programs that run in our heads that can have an impact on the way that we think and act. There may well be times when your driver behaviour serves you well. However, they’re not always helpful and maybe right now there are aspects of your own driver behaviours that are adding to your sense of stress or anxiety?
For now, I’d suggest taking the time to notice which drivers seem to resonate, and how they MIGHT be adding to any sense of anxiety or stress that you’re feeling right now.
Next week, in the second part of this article I’ll discuss the antidote to each (driver) so that you can find ways to practise putting these in place.