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We are copycats, compassionate copycats

I carried out an experiment to prove how much happier we can be when we become compassionate copycats. A very good friend of mine had started about a year and a half ago, to get on me, to criticize me, to talk behind my back and to point out my failures in front of the whole group of friends that we share.

About six months ago, I remembered an old psychological theory that states that we copycat the people around us, we feel better with people that act like us , because we feel a rapport with people who mimic our moves. This happens naturally and frequently, we do mimic people around us all the time without even realizing it.

So I came up with a plan that I strictly followed. I promised myself that instead of getting mad at her I would begin praising people that we both know, making her aware of the good things they do. I would also praise her in her back, making sure our friends would tell her what I said about her.

Believe it or not, the change has been enormous. In six months she got to be fond of me again. She is another person! She copycats what people around her do. I realized that she was in the middle of very stingy people who only looked at the bad things that the rest do, they were stingy with praise.

I felt she was envious of me before the experiment, and she became very empathetic with me after my little experiment. Whenever she had a bad remark about me, I would maintain a neutral, relaxed seated position, but at the same time I would mimic her posture, movements and mannerisms, crossing my legs or twirling my hair when she did. I did this because I wanted her to feel more empathetic with me, I wanted her to find me more likeable.

Now we have smoother interactions and she seems to have learned how to love me again. She does not remark my failures and she calls me again on the phone. Imitation became a sort of social glue, truly the sincerest form of flattery.

I was very cautious though, that she would never be aware that I was mimicking her, because I know that when people realize they are being mimicked, they like the mimicker less, it backfires. I think what helped me do this right, without going overboard, was that I forced myself to be more compassionate. When she was being mean and rude to me, I forced myself to feel compassion and change the subject to praising a good thing from one of our mutual friends.

I am writing about this because I found a solution for a problem that I had, that can easily be the problem of so many of us. I see this as one more proof that we can solve our everyday troubled relationships through non violent methodology. We just need to do some research, work on the relationship and be patient.

I wonder if this experience is valuable for you, my dear reader. I would like to know if anyone else in the world would take the time to follow this example, because it is important to DO THE WORK. Human relationships are not easy. We need to have an approach. We need to learn how to make them work. It is hard to learn new patterns of behavior, it is easier to copycat new behaviors. Let us make sure that they are the correct ones.

The importance of this is shown in families, where little children learn behaviors that make them good or bad people when they grow up. It is also shown in countries, where the majority of inhabitants accept and follow violent behaviors they copycat from other countries, or even the movies and television. Very sadly, it is also shown in the leaders of the world, who copycat strange and dangerous behaviors from other leaders of the world.

We need to copycat the right behaviors. We need to copycat with compassion. Do not vote for leaders who copycat violence, because you will end up being violent yourself. Watch what happened to our brother Kingsley from Jos, Nigeria. The violence he faces comes from leaders who copycat knacks and contrive better than their teachers, and from grassroots people who copycat a survival strategy (involving violence) that ends up killing them.

See what I mean? Women who learn and take the time to work and use new non violent behaviors, can do it easier by being compassionate copycats. Their families will then acquire new non violent behaviors, and someday, somehow, men will follow the lead.

Get started right now in your own life. The change comes one at a time.

Comments

Nusrat Ara's picture

That is great experiment

That is great experiment indeed. I think all of us can learn from it.If practiced it can be quite beneficial.

Thanks for sharing.

Nusrat

jap21's picture

Thanks Nusrat

I wish I could know when someone copycats the experiment because it would be nice to know about the viability of it in terms of replication. This means that if more people can imitate the experiment and be successful, we could claim tha use of it as a social improvement tool.

Love,
Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

olutosin's picture

CHECK OUT THE CHILDREN TOO!

Did you ever think of the way our children copy one another? Watch and see!

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

jap21's picture

sure

This is why we must learn to educate our children not only with our voice, but with our bodies. The way we move, we dress, we have our meals and we shout or not shout, are teaching them more than we usually know.

Being aware of this will make our kids copycat the best from us.

Love you honey,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

JaniceW's picture

So powerful

Jackie,
I love this! As long as such negativity goes on unrecognized and unchallenged, it will continue to provide a powerful modeling of behaviors that others will mimic in their interactions with those people. You came up with a forceful counter behaviour to her negativity and as a result, created a harmonious relationship with her again but also created an environment for her to feel safe in expressing herself honestly and not mimicking the stingy people around her. This is a great lesson for all of us. Thank you.

Big hug,
Janice

jap21's picture

Hi Janice

It is very challenging to keep your mouth shut when someone is mocking you for instance. She was mean to me and it took a lot from me to stay calm and mimic her moves inadvertedly. This is why I would like people to try it out, to see if it works every time, and what are the odds of making this work for most people.

Good having you around sweetheart!

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Victoria Vorosciuc's picture

So familiar...

Dear Jackie,

it is great what you have written in here. Naturally we are all copycats of good or bad manners...Either we know it or not it makes us easy to follow tool and small conflicts can arise easily. You described the situation with you friend which I deal with every day in here. And in many ways confronting such friends with positive attitude they loose the interest in doing what they did.

Each of us is a reflection of what we see around. And probably, we must learn from those who provoke us. And indeed, keeping the balance and not answering with anger makes one a winner.

Love,
Victoria

Victoria Vorosciuc
Project Coordinator
"Empowering women to participate
in community life"
WorldPulse Media Corresspondent

jap21's picture

Hi Victoria

I was missing you girl! Thanks for reading this. I know you will somehow try it out, so let me know how it goes for you in the future.

It is so true that we are a reflection of what we see around! I have this theory that people are different from other animals not because they are rational, but because they can change their environments in drastic ways. The funny thing is that depending on the environment we choose to mimic, so will our actions and lives be. For example, if we mimic TV shows that show abused people, we may end up mimicking the body movements of abused people, without being conscious of it.

So, in my theory, we must use our brains to begin choosing which environment we mimic and how we change it. This choices will lead us to leave poverty and abuse behind.

What do you think?

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Sagiia's picture

Thanks for sharing this.

I have heard that you can make someone fall in love with you by breathing in rhythm with them.

Thank you for sharing your experiment. I do this a little bit already with the 3,4,&5 year olds I work with. Being compassionate, mirroring their voice, face, mannerisms when they are sad or angry let's them know you understand what they are feeling. Once they know you understand, then they are ready to look at the next step of solving their problem.

I will be experimenting with this a lot more in all parts of my life. I expect great results. I am excited to try it.

Wishing you Blessings & Balance,
Sagiia

jap21's picture

Hi Sagiia

First of all, welcome to the World Pulse community. I hope you will find a lot of new friends here who will share your vision, voice and feelings.

I am excited to know that you will experiment with this. Please keep us posted. I didn´t know about breathing in rhythm... I may try that out with my husband so he cuddles me better, hehe.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Sagiia's picture

I was wondering has your

I was wondering has your friend, the subject of your little experiment read this, and if so what has been her reaction.

Please let me know if that works with your hubby.

Love, Sagiia

jap21's picture

No, she doesn´t know about this

As I said in the article, people like mimickers less, so I would not let her beware she was copycatted, hehe.

Will tell you of any changes with my husband.

Hugs,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Mauri's picture

An experiment worth copycatting!

Your said an important thing!

Empathy "can" be activated in others! Even in people who, in the moment, are distant, even adversarial.

I wonder what would it happen, would your experiment be repeated systematically.
Not to "test" it (I feel most people would obtain results similar to yours). Rather, just to see what happens!

I'm thinking to my social life, but also to the tribal conflict we often have in Europe.

A suggestion, for real peacemaking on a global scale?

Hugs

(I'm smiling - imagining possible applications)

Mauri

jap21's picture

Hi Mauri

You, more than any other gal in the community, know how hard it is for me to make people feel empathy towards me. So you know that doing this needed to be systematized. If I did it correctly, for every person who follows the instructions on how to copycat carefully, without letting the other person know about the experiment, and maintaining a calm attitude when you would rather explode, there will be five more who will be interested on following this new behavior.

So, if we spread the word about it, who knows, this might end up being in the agenda of politicians who act like reckless and naughty spoiled children. Then the world will be really, really better.

Dreams, dreams, dreams. hehe. Dreams are the seeds of reality!

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Jackie, dear!

I know, yes. I had so many experiences similar to yours.

It was difficult, and sometimes still is in my adulthood, to find yourself on an edge of the species, questioning yourself whether, "technically", you're inside or outside. No fitting established role example may come from society. With time you grow and even understand yours may be a privilege, in a sense - facts gift you a freedom to explore new ways many others do not enjoy.

I feel you felt the same, as soon as you left the usual, and tried your own way in the Uncharted Territories of existence.

But I also realize how difficult was for people to empathize with me, too. I say "empathize", but just barely "understand", and then "accept", would be of importance.

I too have seen people who qualified as "friends" then turning their back. It's hard, really.

What then I had not made, was the experiment you attempted - with success. I just felt in rage, and tried to get my vengeance.

The point is, this was never effective. I know of people who says you feel better after a rightful revenge. But it did never work for me (this is one of the reasons I'm totally lost in any form of patriarchy, even the mildest :-) ). You just get a broken link in your hands... You know: hit someone, and you will feel twice h** pain.

Reflecting, retrospectively, I discovered some of the turning-back people just had no way to predict my outcomes - nor I made any effort to ease this, expecting they "had" to understand, because from my standpoint all seemed so clear. How stupid I was! (Still am ;-) )

In more recent times, as I aged (not much, not much!), less and less searched for vengeance. I just cut the ill links temporarily. Not completely, of course: just retire intimacy, while maintaining professional or family connections. But you know how hard this is. In many cases, time healed all wounds, and intimacy recovered. But how much time!

So, I'll try the trick! ;-) It tastes effective!

(With Italian politicians, things might be a bit harder - I guess they enjoy too much yelling and pretending to fight. But, why not to try?)

Love

Mauri

jap21's picture

Please do

Go ahead Mauri, try it out and keep us posted!

Hugs,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Tina's picture

Spreading the Word

Dear Jackie,
I read this article when it first came out and decided to try the principles you stated. It really does work! And I think it is because we are giving space for the other person and reminding them of a more positive way of being. You have mentioned before that violence breeds violence,s o bad behaviour breeds bad behaviour also. By modelling anew way of being you serve to break the cycle.

On an additional note, I believe this experiment helps because we are also giving space for the other person to be their better selves. It is not easy to be on the receiving end of any kind of violence, verbal, physical or even on the other end of someones bad mood, yet that person doing the hurting is hurting themselves, and isn't always conscious of how their behaviour is also affecting the people around them. I remember someone saying to me a while ago that only hurt people hurt people and I have seen that. Beginning to understand that the person who has hurt you is hurting themselves can help us forgive and move on. This however is no excuse for their bad behaviour, but it does aid us in our own healing and compassion for others.

But back to this experiment!!! In that moment when we mirror good behaviour to the other person, we are in effect showing that person we have not given up on them. We are showing them compassion, but in a way that also shows exactly how we wish to be treated.

I think there is alot more to learn here. This was very interesting. Thanks Jackie
Tina

jap21's picture

Awesome Tina!

I think this also involves "taming your own demons", which has proven to be the hardest thing to do, because it is always easier to be in the comfort zone, and somehow blame others a bit. With this technique, we realize we are able to introduce a new behavior not only for the other, but for ourselves.

Thanks for the feedback, I will spread the word that you also had good results, just as I did.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

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