Behave yourself

The photo in the exhibition of student work took me by surprise. There I was! Snapped while walking and talking in a place I often pass through, on a day I don’t remember. It felt very odd seeing myself, for a moment, as a stranger might.

So what did I see?


We don’t often see ourselves as others do. It made me think of another moment that shifted how I’d seen something familiar. I read “be have” and read it again before realising that a line break meant I was actually reading “behave”. Turns out the word could have come from Old English meaning to contain. How we behave could be how we be with what we have.

I’ve received a number of positive comments recently on my professional response to a tricky work situation. My reaction has been that it’s nice my colleagues noticed, but more fundamentally some surprise. After all, what did they expect? How we respond when things are difficult should be consistent with the way we carry ourselves whatever the circumstances. Heightened by the situation of course, but still consistent. And any significant gap between the “good times” me and the “difficult times” me would point, I think, to a lack of authenticity.

How do you be have?

  • Jaimee Young is the photographer, undertaking undergraduate studies at the University of South Australia. The image is reproduced with her permission. The reflections on the glass are a result of my (lack of ) photographic skills not hers!

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