When Lisa and I have “discussions” 😉 I have a tendency to either go directly to overtly shaming and beating myself up, or subtly doing the same to her. Likewise, I can teach a yoga class that’s 99% fabulous, but I’ll ruminate on the 1% that didn’t go great. Can you relate? Isn’t that “interesting”? I have a hunch a major reason I/we do this, is also why we shun, belittle, and demonize “other” political parties, spiritual/religious beliefs, sexual preferences, races, and such. The good news is, we don’t gravitate toward the negative because we’re bad people, but because of our survival instinct.Often without consciously realizing it, people, ideas, etc. who are different from us trigger our fight/flight/freeze response because our biology perceives them as a threat.
In short, studies show negative things in our lives stick with us like Velcro (because remembering when to “protect” ourselves keeps us alive), while the positive ones slide off like Teflon (unless we choose to “savor” said goodness for 15 seconds or more).
The thing is, while the reactive part of us literally cannot differentiate between, say, a person in the other political party, a computer we can’t get to work, or a partner we’re having a “discussion” with, and a tiger trying to kill us, the conscious part of us can! This is why the even better news is: We can rewrite our brain’s operating code to shift from our prerational instinct to fight/fly/freeze, to kindness/curiosity/love.
How? You know the phrase, “you are what you eat?” There is SO much truth in that. On the metaphorical side: We are what we “eat”, in that the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors we cultivate via what we read/watch, who we spend time with, and the ideas and stories we repeat in our brains, greatly influence how we show up in the world. I know I can use a diet and detox in some of those areas, how about you?
You’ll never go wrong putting it positively, because while negative energy does not lead to lasting change and pushes people away, affirmative energy spurs long-lasting growth and draws people in. With that in mind, I invite us to: Exclaim the positive, while listening to the negative (as every once in a while, we really are in danger, and at a minimum it can show us how prone we are to overreact to things different from us).
Hugs & Love,
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