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  • MIchele A. Aeck BS MS PhD

Seven Ways to Change from a Human Doing to a Human Being

Man looking into sky

The use of the phrase “human doing” may invite some questions: What’s a human doing compared to a human being? What do human doings look and act like? Are you a human doing? You can morph from a human doing into a human being.

What's a Human Doing?

Human doings only feel good about themselves when they are accomplishing things. To prove themselves, they use some measurable criteria which can range from financial or professional status to seemingly trivial things, such as how many steps they take in a day or the cleanliness of their households.

Human doings live in a constant state of discomfort. Having internalized their perceptions of being a human doing from their parents or culture, they have self-love only when they achieve success, and experience self-loathing when they are not doing, or they fail at doing.

What’s a Human Being?

Human beings believe that their self-worth is defined not by their accomplishments, but rather by their values, attitudes, and beliefs; their determination and effort; and how they treat people. Human beings gain satisfaction and validation from being honest, considerate, and responsible, among other things. They also have control over what primarily affirms their self-esteem, so the fluctuations of achievement (i.e., the inevitable ups and downs of life) don’t have an outsized impact on how they feel about themselves.

Because human beings don’t feel a relentless pressure to do, they are capable of just being. They can feel peace, calm, and contentment, even when they are surrounded by the spiraling of a doing world. Human beings can also enjoy aspects of life that have no purpose beyond the immediate experience, such as reading, cooking, walking, being with friends, all without regard to the outcomes of those experiences.

Unfortunately, human beings don’t, in human doings’ eyes, do enough. But being a human being doesn’t mean that they don’t accomplish anything. To the contrary human beings’ achievement efforts are an affirming expression of who they are. So, not only can human beings be successful, but just as importantly, they can be happy.

How to Become a Human Being

Accept Your Humanity

Part of being a human being is accepting your basic humanity, that no one is perfect!

  • Human doings believe that they must “do” things (exceedingly well!) to be valued by themselves and in society.

  • Human beings believe that their self-worth is defined by their values, attitudes, and beliefs.

  • To shift from being a human doing to a human being, you must first change the way you view human beings.

  • Accept your humanity, redefine success, create more balance, reduce your to-dos list, become more flexible, lighten up, give self-love.


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