knowledge is power!

i think that avoidance is a trick our brains use when we’re young to protect us from scary things, things we can’t yet handle.  maybe it’s not necessarily centered in youth, who knows.  as a shrink i think everything is centered in youth!  but i was thinking yesterday about my own brain.  as i’m trying to curb bad habits and cultivate new ones, i go through this process of changing my mind.  i’m still working on understanding the process because eventually i’d like to bottle it and sell it and become filthy, filthy rich!  but in the meantime, it’s a rough sketch. 

i think that in bad habits i use avoidance tricks in my brain (i mean like, my brain literally shuts down into nothingness/blank slate/auto-pilot/plug my ears shut my eyes la-la-la-la i can’t hear you) to keep from facing that i’m doing something that i don’t like, something in that is not serving me but i’m not yet willing to change.  the first step is to commit to noticing the brain process, the patterns of behavior, slowly becoming aware of the exact point in the process that i learned to check out.  only after giving myself a chunk of time to notice what it is can i begin to understand it.  after that, i can decide if i want to keep going with the beliefs that fuel that behavior or decide to change my mind and create something new.  it takes time.  it takes deep breaths and a willingness to put auto-pilot on pause many, many times, and a big willingness to look at myself.  gently. 

for some reason in those moments before i’m ready to change i realize there is a fear of examining my patterns and behaviors.  that’s why i say avoidance.  i’m uncomfortable at best, terrified at worst, to begin to look at myself.  i’m not sure why.  is everyone that way?  but once i commit to gentle self-reflection, it’s not scary anymore.  maybe it’s old tapes of harsh criticism that scare me.  i try really hard not to do that anymore.  and when i allow myself the knowledge of what is going on before and during old habits, that’s when i gain the power to change. 

so today i’m thankful for that moment when i have allowed knowledge in, and can see my world crack open with the possibility of freedom from bad habits, and the inevitability of positive change. 

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4 thoughts on “knowledge is power!

  1. i’m with you lola. a while back i realized that i like everybody because i think we are all “victim” to our mix of nature and nurture… so when people are mean, or criminal or rude or arrogant or awesome or whatever, it can likely be explained by their up bringing. not breaking ground, but good to acknowledge.

    in the same vien and along with your pursuit of being super super rich… i think it’d be cool to take that book that you study when you have nothing to do and make it a webMD type deal… i’d have to imagine that exists already… but it’d be cool to have something to search based upon symptoms… like avoidance.

    we’re all crazy in one way or the other and have a minor (or major) form of some kind of “disorder”… so it’d be cool to be able to identify what those are and why they exist and how to start taking baby steps in the right direction to help ourselves with a click of a button.

  2. i think what you’re suggesting is some kind of free device where people would be able to diagnose themselves rather than pay me to do it. that is counterproductive to my master plan. keep brainstorming, i’m listening.

  3. i woke up still thinking about this so i guess i’m not done. in all honesty, one of the first things i thought in deciding to become a therapist was that i wanted to bring what i learned in my own therapy to people who don’t have access (whether financially, or because of pride, social or cultural stigma, whatever). some kind of therapeutic social justice (?!) type thing. just because i ate therapy like candy as a recipient doesn’t mean others have such an easy time with going for help. so yes, i do like this webshrink.com idea. i feel like with all the people i know who have a passion for social change, healing, teaching, creativity, all that good stuff… there is definitely a therapeutic empire in the making here. complete with clinics, publishing, websites, schools, workshops, community connections, everything! #dreamingbig (did you see what i did there? eh? jt?)

  4. yeah… i go both ways on the webshrink.com idea… and i can understand why it’s a really bad idea… but so is webMD in that sense.

    i think it’d just be cool to have the disorder book expanded to talk more about every day stuff and not just stuff that is classified as a disorder so it would be possible to diagnose people based upon their behavior. as much as it could be dangerous, i think it could be really helpful for step 1 of making people realize that they can improve or whatever and then they can pay you the big bucks to really help them through it. like mild diagnosis therapy… preventative.

    i agree the work to do this would require us starting our own university, but i thought you and lisa were planning to open a school anyways, so that a university is just a natural extension of the plan.

    #nicehashtag.

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