Learned behaviors are what we have decided is our best strategy for getting our felt needs met in the circumstances we have found ourselves in. They are not necessarily the best strategies we could have come up with, but they are the best we have come up with and most of the time were somewhat reasonable choices at the time we adopted them.
Again most of this occurs on a level deeper than our cognitive mind and when I say chose or decided here I do not mean that we thought of the various options and chose or decided on one. Rather I mean that given our inherent tendencies*, felt needs, visceral beliefs, emotional programming, and environment we followed what seemed like the best path.
If whatever we decide upon seems to have generally fulfilled the felt need we had for it, we tend to use that same or similar strategy or behavior for a variety of issues.
Now this happens on both a fairly simple level of responding to certain situations with a certain type of response or learned behavior, and it also happens at a more generalized level with us adopting broad patterns or approaches to life. All the examples of how our feelings or emotional programming (EP) drive our behavior from the last post are examples of learned behaviors.
Additionally, just about any injurious (to ourselves or others) behavior turns out to be a learned behavior that seemed like the best option at the time we started it, and still seems necessary or we would not keep doing it. Generally we cannot see this though until we develop another way to get the felt needs fulfilled that the injurious behavior fulfills. Once we develop or even just believe in viable alternatives for those felt needs we will be able to see the injurious behavior for what it is and often drop it.
This is often how religions can be so helpful. If we can really believe what they are telling us, that treating others well leads to what we are looking for, and we can join a group actually practicing that and therefore where those rules work, then we can often be free of our injurious behaviors and even the desire for those injurious behaviors. Unfortunately, in reality the people in those religions (like us) often struggle to believe what the religion teaches and continue to practice their injurious behaviors, which often prevents us from believing. At the same time, if we can deeply believe and practice it, no matter what others are doing, we will find it to be what we are looking for and we will be free.