Your brain’s job is not to make you happy or to help you achieve your biggest goals and dreams. It literally is wired, neurologically to keep you safe, and that means…alive. It’s sole mission is to keep you literally alive and breathing.
This is literally why stepping out of your comfort zone is such a challenge. Your brain will quickly remind you that you aren’t in familiar territory, there are things your need to watch out for, that you are getting to the edge of your know and comfortable space, and will throw all kinds of self-sabotaging thoughts your way! So in order to be able to evolve and grow into the person you truly desire to be, you have to know that your previous wiring for safety is going to be tested, and that you will need to re-program the old and familiar wiring with new information. Your old internal subconscious patterning, which is the internal map that your brain is operating on to keep you safe, will only is only comfortable with what it has known in the past. And for many of us, that old programming is keeping us stuck in patterns that we learned and used to survive the conditions we were brought up in, but that aren’t healthy, or serving us well now that we are adults. And the more chaotic or traumatic your younger years, the more those ingrained patterns are entrenched. So how do you re-wire your old programming so that it will allow you to grow and expand into the highest version of yourself you can now imagine?
The first step is to recognize that whatever your younger years were like, you can have the things you most want in life. You get to choose. As an adult, the goals for your life are up to YOU!! No matter what society says, or family members say, the choices that you make in life are YOURS!! I remember growing up my Dad had a very strong personality. He made the rules!! He had many amazing qualities, but his desire to be in charge of everything wasn’t a healthy pattern for me to learn. I remember thinking that I had to follow the rules, and didn’t feel like I had any choices, that I had to fit into what everyone else needed at all times.
It was a revelation to me much later in life that there were things I could choose. I spent most of my life trying so hard to please everyone, and then realized that it was completely impossible to do. I was burning myself out trying to please my ex, my family, society in general. I didn’t use even an ounce of my energy to do what I wanted to do. In fact, I hadn’t even realized that I could think about what “I” wanted, hadn’t even considered it! I was listening to a business associate one day telling me all of his dreams, all of the personal and professional goals he was envisioning, and it dawned on me. I didn’t even know what “I” wanted. I had been working feverishly for decades, to the point of workaholism to fulfill what I thought everyone else wanted me to do.
As a recently divorced single mother, I realized that I needed to start over to build a vision for what my life would become. I had to start at the beginning. I didn’t even know what I enjoyed, or how to have fun. I just knew how to work hard. That was the only thing I knew. Relaxation was not even something I could do. I had friends that meditated and got so much joy from that. I tried. I felt like a miserable failure. I hated it. My brain was telling me what was familiar. “There’s work to be done. You can’t just be sitting around doing nothing!!” It took me ten years of trying again and again, and trying different forms of meditation to find some things that work for me. Paddle boarding at sunset is an active meditation that I love. Guided meditation where you are listening to music and someone’s voice helped me a lot. Dancing is a form of active meditation that gives me incredible joy. I can dance to a few chosen favorite songs, and feel energized and alive. I recently discovered Qu Now that I understand that my brain and thoughts only knew what was familiar at the time, it makes sense that trying to relax and meditate was so far out of my workaholic comfort zone, that it wasn’t going to feel comfortable doing that. It took time to develop a vision for my life, to create a new map and slowly take actions that felt like a step in the direction to my dreams: more joy, more peace, more freedom, more connection.
The most important lesson I learned from all of it is that we need to love ourselves where we are at now. And to keep searching for what works for you. You are unique. The experiences you have gone through, no matter what they are, make you the person you are today. And you get to determine how your life proceeds from here. Moving towards more joy and connection to the things you desire most, or away from them, the choice is yours.
I invite you to really think about these questions:
What do I most want in life?
What do I love?
What have I always thought about doing, but haven’t started yet?
Think of an action step that would get you closer to one of these answers today. And actually decide and do it! Right now.
I would love to hear what your answers are, and what your first action is…