Here’s How To Rewire Your Brain and Get Out Of Your Own Way
You may know or have heard that there are always underlying reasons as to why we do the things that we do; both good and bad. We know why we the good, but why do we continue to do the bad that hurt us and ultimately those around us? Have you ever took the time to come face to face with those reasons?
Psychiatrist Richard O’Connor wrote an entire book about this titled “Rewire” he believes that Carl Jung’s concept, Shadow self: “the parts of ourselves that we deny but that still influence our choices” would best describe this behavior. Self destructive behavior, I might add.
“When we don’t face a reality that will eventually hurt us, that is by definition self-destructive behavior. And repression rarely works perfectly, so the feelings we’re trying to stuff can leak out and affect our actions unintentionally.”
Throughout the book Mr. O’Connor talks about our two minds the conscious self (how we reason and make thoughtful decisions) and the the “automatic self” (the unconscious it basically does the opposite of the conscious) it doesn’t reason, and it’s the “self” that we operate through most of the time whether we believe it or not.
Some of us aren’t aware that experiences in our childhood and adulthood such as disappointment, abandonment, being in an unloving environment, rejection, failure, and so on influence our relationships, our day to day decisions, beliefs, how we view people and the world, and our overall life.
And most of the time these experiences (unconsciously) bring about in us self destructive patterns: fear, guilt, hopelessness suppression of feelings, isolation, defense mechanisms, anger, procrastination, and many more. He did, however, mentioned that some of these feelings are natural for us to feel:
Remember that guilt, shame, fear, and anger are important messages from your unconscious. There’s a biological reason why they’re unpleasant; they’re meant to call our attention to something going wrong. Don’t try to stifle them, but figure out what they mean.
In the beginning of the book Mr. O’Connor stated that we will recognize some of our own self destructive behaviors as we get further in the book. I doubted that I would, but I was wrong. I did, and some of them were hard for me to accept and some of them I was already kind of aware of—thanks to introspection—but hadn’t done anything to correct them. You can read about one of them here.
The other ones ( I’m just going to focus on two) I recognized were and I’m still “combing through” as I write this are
I fear taking chances.
After I graduated college I put in over 20+ job applications and no luck on any of them. I got tired and the rejection started to make me fearful.
Fearful of putting forth the effort because the “no’s” started to attack my self-esteem I got into a hopeless, blaming, and “what’s the point?” mindset. I felt inadequate. I eventually stopped filling out applications and got comfortable with what I had in front of me.
Although my feelings were legitimate I allowed them to get me point of complacency and procrastination.
Not for long....
I’m considering going to back to school and doing it all over again. This is where the fear comes in. I’m fearful of going through the same thing I mentioned above due to my experience and wonder will it even be worth it, but at the same time I know I can’t stay at this point in my life forever....so why not?
The fear may not go away but it won’t stand in the way.
I forgot who said that.
I fear(ed) love.
Not love itself, but getting close to people; building relationship that would lead to it.
I dealt with the absence of my mother and father a period my childhood, so I didn’t see love being expressed. I didn’t know what a healthy friendship or relationship look like. I didn’t know what love meant. So I didn’t know how or was able to give that to another person.
This in turn, I believe, molded me into not being an expressive and affectionate person, which resulted in unsuccessful relationships. Once I was aware of this I avoided them altogether at one point.
I know now that I can’t survive in this alone. I mentally, spiritually or physically can’t...I need people.
When I was around seventeen or eighteen I remember writing in a journal for the first time. I wrote about feeling like a slave to my emotions because I was hoarding them. I got the urge to write what I was feeling because my spirit was heavy and writing was the only way I could talk about what I was feeling at that time. It was one of the best things I could have done for myself.
I thought that keeping things to my self was natural for me — I was introverted —until I realized it wasn’t. My spirit being heavy was a sign. In retrospect growing up in an non-communicative household resulted in me not being expressive which caused me to repress my feelings.
I went from writing what I feel to forcing myself to talk even when it’s uncomfortable. I rather a brief moment of discomfort than to walk around with a heavy spirit over the course of my life. And, yes, it’s hard for me but keeping my feelings to myself doesn’t serve me.
Look...I believe that you don’t have to or need to tell every single little thing. I’m just talking about those things that would eventually hurt you in the end.
Mr. O’Connor stated that, “You can’t stuff feelings; they always find another way to express themselves.”
No one....the real us, the conscious us, the us that exist deep down inside of us want to hurt ourselves, those close to us, or engage in repetitive habits that do not benefit us.
Thankfully the human brain is malleable, so we can replace our destructive habits with constructive ones. Mr. O’Connor suggest we do this by practicing
Mindfulness: the ability to look at yourself calmly, objectively, and compassionately. It means stepping back a little from disturbing thoughts and powerful impulses and emotions—fear, anger, guilt, shame, blame—so that you can experience them a bit without acting on them in haste.
With mindfulness, daily practice, awareness, and patience, I agree, we can rewire our brains from habits that don’t serve us to the ones that do.
If you don’t think that you don’t have any self destructive habits a wise man once said: Our habits are so ingrained in us that we think that they’re apart of who we are.
I highly recommend everyone the book Rewire