Your Brain Is Sabotaging You (And How To Get Its Help, Instead)
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
If you’re wanting change in your life or love life, please, my friend, be onto YOUR BRAIN. It’s a rascally trickster when it comes to change.
Not intentionally, of course. It’s just doing it’s job of protecting and keeping you safe.
And by safe, I mean the SAME…
Your brain, by default, is programmed to keep the status quo.
That’s how it’s efficient at its’ job.
It uses less energy to keep on with the way things have been.
It feels easier for it to keep doing what it’s always done.
Even if, weirdly enough, what it’s doing isn’t working out so well. Even if the way your life is going feels bad.
What this looks like is, for example, at some point you decide you’re sick of your relationship feeling less-than-wonderful. And you say to yourself, “Alright, I’m ready to do something about this!”
So you read some self-help books, learn some new things you can do to help your relationship improve (like reading this post).
You understand the concepts!
You get excited about the possibilities of trying them!
You resolve to implement them!
And then, the next time your partner says something in a curt tone, or isn’t home on time, or doesn’t follow through with what you agreed on, guess what? You, disappointingly, react the same way you always have.
But it’s worse this time, because now you’re not only feeling angry and upset at him, you’re angry at yourself for STILL doing what you’ve always done.
You tell yourself, "I should’ve known better since I read about it, learned about better ways to handle this, why the heck can’t I DO it that way?!?!"
You beat yourself up in your head about it, or cry a little over it.
Maybe you also start thinking the advice you read about will never work for YOU, that you and your situation are uniquely hopeless.
But hold up a minute. Nothing has actually gone wrong here! This is, actually, exactly how it’s supposed to go. This is what your brain is supposed to do: keep operating as it always has— even if it has some new information.
See, taking in information is NEVER EVER the way we change.
We change through application.Through trying and failing.Through incrementally changing our brain. So finally we experience a new way of being.
This will never feel easy. But we CAN change our brain’s habituated ways of operating, since the brain is malleable. (Want a mini simplified neuroscience lesson on this? I made you one here.)
One of the ways to begin to change your brain in the direction that you want is to take a bold action that goes against what your brain’s protective instinct is telling you to do.
It won’t feel good. (If it did, we’d all be magnificent at making the changes we want to!)
It won’t feel safe.
EXPECT it to be uncomfortable.
In fact, your brain might tell you to run the other way anytime you get interested in trying to change something big in your life in a bold way. (But then your life will stay the same.)
Anxiety is a natural response to making a decision to grow and claim what you really want for yourself and your life.
But the only path to your dreams is paved with discomfort.
(When my brain freaks out about this, I tell it, “you’re already uncomfortable —that’s why you want change— so why not be uncomfortable as a means to being way MORE COMFORTABLE soon enough.”)
So if you have something vulnerable to ask of your partner, but you find it easier to complain, don’t…Instead, make the request, with a willingness to feel uncomfortable.
And if you really want to improve your marriage, but your brain says it’s too scary to talk about your relationship with a professional —then reach out to a professional and talk to them!
And if your brain says, it’ll be less risky to just work on your relationship on your own without help, and that’s what you’ve been trying, it’s time to take a totally new approach—one that feels more bold —and yes, scary.
Put your energy, time, and money where your dream is— not where it’s easiest, or safest.
This kind of courage and commitment has true magic in it, speaking from my own experience. When we commit to something we want— even when it feels scary, even when we think it might take too much energy, time, effort —we are telling our brain we mean business…
That’s when we get the full energetic resources of our brain on board with our desire to change. And so finally make our until-now-elusive dreams come to life—often in the blink of an eye.