Let’s Act Like We Are Until We End up Being

July 12, 2017

Let’s act as if all the good will embrace us, because then it will reach us. Let’s act as if we are already happy so that our emotions can convince us that we are. Believe with strong conviction each day that we deserve what we desire, it is not an act of egotism, in fact, it is the first step to personal growth.

Let’s think about it for a moment: if we don’t convince ourselves that we can and that we should get out of our depression, an unhappy relationship or a job that infringes on our rights, no one else will. The real hero that has allowed you to get out of the many black holes in which you have found yourself in has been you, and the way you have done so has been with an iron will and a clear thought process keeping your objective in mind.

“You deserve the best, the very best, because you are one of the few people in this lousy world who are honest to themselves.”

-Frida Kahlo

In all actuality, it is very common to see jobs, books and interesting publications that encourage us to become the CEO of our own brain. They emphasize that we all have to understand how our brain functions so that we can have more control over its processes.

In fact, if there is something that we have all known for a very long time, it is that humans are complex beings guided and dominated by emotion. Our brains take charge, guide us, get us drunk on dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, and join us, on occasion, in this chemical shipwreck that drown us in a permanent state of sadness and defenselessness.

Now, sometimes it is also necessary to rise up to the CEO of our brain, to take control and guide ourselves toward change, toward well-being. We will explain how to do it. 

Emotional Kidnapping Prevents us from Growing

Overcoming our brain’s negative bias to promote positive neuroplasticity is not easy. First of all, it isn’t easy because many of us have an “executive director” in our brain that is an addict of self-criticism and that has great influence, time and again, on the same ideas and limiting attitudes that turn us into a small hamster going round and round on the wheel.

Many experts on human behavior call this common practice “child logic.” That is to say, there are moments in which we simply allow ourselves to be kidnapped by our negative emotions until we reach the extreme of absolute immaturity. To understand this better, reflect on a simple example: we have made a mistake at work, as a consequence to that carelessness, others have suffered. 

Our mind does not stop repeating over and over, “I am an idiot. I’m not worthy of this.” In turn, the brain intensifies by reminding you of past mistakes and all the times someone has told you how clumsy you are.

Your emotions have you trapped on the hamster wheel where the negative sensations intensify until you are blocked, until you sink into a state of feeling completely defenseless. Instead of telling yourself “I have made a mistake, I am going to learn from it and do things better tomorrow,” you have opted to apply the descriptive adjective of “I’m an idiot” to yourself. 

This type of negative bias that characterizes us at different moments in life, is guided by very concrete processes. It is our mood that takes control. 

Now, to turn ourselves into the real CEO of our brain we have to take the reins of the mental processes as if we were true leaders and not a subordinate who allows ourselves to be steamrolled.

Act As If Ae Are to Convince Ourselves that We Can

Neuroscience helps us understand why, at times, we allow ourselves to be taken in by negative emotions. For example, a hyperactive amygdala also likes to corner us, again and again, in our fear. In fact, according to recent studies at Harvard University, the cerebellum, which is closely related to our motor skills, can also be connected to our emotional stability.

“When you allow yourself what you deserve, you will attract what you need.”

As we can see, our brain is an entity where emotions have power and the mental processes, many times, flow based on these. Having a passive attitude in these cases can encourage self-neglect and a clear incapacity to be responsible for our own happiness.

Later we will see how to foster a positive neuroplasticity, that is useful and that will help us reach vital goals.

Four Questions to Help us Build a more Resilient Brain

Thinking we are happy until we are. Is that a fantasy taken from a cheap self-help manual? In reality, no. This phrase encompasses profound internal mechanisms that we can reflect on with the following four simple questions:

  • “Am I really?”: every time you tell yourself that you are an idiot, that you don’t deserve to be loved, that you are a failure or you don’t have the ability to reach your dream, ask yourself if it’s really true. To take full control of our thoughts there is nothing better than telling ourselves, “right now I feel like an idiot, but I am able to better myself and be who I deserve to be.” 
  • Who or what is stopping me from reaching what I most desire? When we ask ourselves that question, we need to be completely honest with ourselves. Most of the time we are the only ones responsible due to our limiting attitudes.
  • What type of emotion do I feel right now?
  • Is that emotion helping me get what I want?

The last two questions are closely related. If I feel scared and insecure all day, it is very clear that I will never get out of the black hole that I am in. However, if I try to convince myself that I am strong, capable, and that I deserve what I desire with just strong thoughts, then day after day, the doors to second chances will open.