Imagine a life of reduced stress because relationship dramas are rare. It is possible, but it requires work and the hardest type of work… work on our selves. Work most of us don’t want to do. That’s why change doesn’t happen often and we can find ourselves back with the same patterns and problems circulating. But when we choose to dig deeper and find our courage and determination, life opens up to greater opportunities and more fulfillment in relationships. Where energy goes energy flows!
This work requires an open mind and a willingness to understand at a deeper level how your brain and psyche work and how it can, and does derail us. For example, being a victim for any length of time is your brain trying to take short cuts and not use energy to think of a more creative way to look at the circumstances. Your brain thinks it must conserve energy to cope with any threat that may be coming around the next corner.
Why does this happen? Our brain, like all organs have evolved over millions of years increasing in complexity and capacity. As newer abilities came online, they didn’t necessarily replace older systems so our brains work in multiple layers. Some of these we are aware of, and some of them operate behind the scenes.
I like to look at it in three separate stages. The first stage was laid down when we emerged from the sea as reptiles. Often referred to as reptilian brain. Clinically it is known as the unconscious. It is the largest most powerful part of our brain and it controls about 95% of all our thoughts and actions. Its prime function is to ensure our survival. We can sometimes recognise it as instinct.
Our ‘reptilian brain’ influences all our behaviour, beliefs and thoughts. It governs every motivation and emotion we have. It affects everything from relationships to our success in life. Yet most of us are unaware of its presence, let alone its power, because it operates below the surface. It doesn’t have the ability to rationalise; instead it is reactionary and initiates extremely fast responses, which serve us well in our bid to survive. This part of our brain is working when you instinctively jump at the sight of a snake, only to realise a few seconds later, it was actually a harmless piece of black gardening pipe! However, the reptilian brain is up to much more than we realise.
The next level in our brain’s evolution was our ‘horse brain’ or limbic system, which controls our emotions. The last and newest part of our brain is the neo cortex, that’s our conscious thinking part, which we mistakenly think of as the part we use all the time. And if we did our relationships would work much better, because it is rational, logical and self-aware!
We get into strife because our unconscious reptilian brain generally runs our show and causes havoc in its bid for survival. When we really understand how this part of our brain works we have greater control, so we don’t lose our temper so easily and say stuff that we often regret later.
The next stage of understanding why relationships go wrong is realizing how this reptilian brain gets programmed. Believe it or not we are all programmed from the time we are born by our parents, caregivers and early environment and this programming continues to run throughout our lives. The way we think and what we think is usually laid down before the age of 5 or 6, before our rational logical brain develops. Often the thoughts you are having about a situation are not even your own thoughts; they originally came from your outdated and antiquated programming laid down as a young child.
So ask yourself, do you really want a 5 year old running the show? I didn’t think so, the good news is, the brain is exceptionally ‘plastic’ which means we can mould it, change it and improve our programming to be more in line with who we choose to be, we can be more conscious, strong, rational and resilient. We can have happier, more fulfilling lives.
Scary stuff but knowledge brings empowerment. That is what I aim to bring you.
It’s my job to be your guide and help you navigate that change and set down a new blueprint. Together we identify when and where your programming is taking you awry and overwrite it. At times it can be tough and scary, but remember, knowledge brings empowerment and this is one journey that can sincerely change your life for the better.
Words: Sarah Beetham