Over the years, I have come to realise that we are not who we think we are, we are much, much more.
How we define ourselves, dictates how we experience reality. Reality is not a fixed thing. There’s much more flexibility in how we experience what we call reality than we might realise.
Napoleon Hill once said: “What the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve”’
Scientists are very aware of the flexibility of the brain, the plasticity of the brain, and how the brain can literally reinvent itself. What we experience in any event is dictated by how we see ourselves and how we see the other person in the context of relationship.
Factors that shape us
Psychology has always been aware that there are many factors that form personality. There’s genetic factor, there’s environmental factors, particularly in our key developmental years; things that happened to us, decisions we made, things key care givers told us about ourselves, what we can do, what we can’t do, things that we told ourselves about who we are.
Psychology is very aware that the entity that we call our self is not fixed and static, but a construct. We’re aware that there are many sub-selves in the personality. Some call them different ego states, Transactional Analysis for example, categorises them into Parent, Adult, Child Ego.
At one time I can be very fearful, I can be closed, not trusting. At another, I can be very angry and attacking. I can also switch off, go cold, criticize, be demanding, or dissociate from feeling anything. On the other hand, I can be playful, passionate creative. Or wise and insightful.
I remember catching up in the year 2000, with a friend who was a clinical psychologist. As an eminent PhD researcher in the brain, she shared her excitement about research that showed that highly emotive experiences, both positive and negative become embedded in neural pathways. These experiences, can become Life Scripts or decisions, that can have a massive influence on subsequent behavior.
The brain is very receptive to the messages that it’s been given. When the conditions are right, this can be hypnotic. The brain gets the message and that message is embedded.
For example: “I am loved unconditionally. You are there for me, no matter what.”
“I’m a good person, and people like me” “ I’m supported and cared for”; or, on the other hand: “I am alone;” “People you love end up hurting you;” “No matter what you do, you will fail;” You can’t trust men;” “Women control you.”
Our brain does what it is told to do. It is a very willing servant.
Many of us think that this thing that we call our self is limited to our physical body and our brain. On the other hand, some of the traditions in our cultural history have told us that we are not a body, we have the use of the body; we are not a brain, we have the use of a brain. What we call our self is not limited to our body.
What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”
And some streams in psychology state the same thing in different ways. They tell us there are many factors that influence who we are, who we think we are. The scripts we give ourselves, the scripts that we give our brain, have an enormous impact on what happens to us, because like the genie in Aladdin’s lamp, the brain simply responds to what it’s told to do. “Your wish is my command. “You tell me it is a fearful world out there. Well, I can make that happen,”
This amazing high tech piece of meat that we call the brain goes ahead and creates what we tell it to do. “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.
The good news is, that as a result of new insights, new technologies, we can actually change those messages. If we want to, we can change the way we see ourselves. We can give the brain other messages about who we are. We can ‘delete’ in a sense, the destructive messages that have been given to the brain.
How can we heal and change life scripts?
Firstly, we identify the wounding or damaging messages and scripts we’ve taken on. Then we can take you through processes of speaking to the brain in safe ways, so the brain is not being re-traumatized.
That tiny almond shaped part of our brain called the amygdala is probably on high alert already. So the last thing we want to do is retraumatize it.
Our job is to calm the amygdala so that we minimize the release of the stress hormone cortisone. Then key sections of the brain can relax and be receptive to new information and healing.
Through specific processes like Comprehensive Resource Model CRM, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming (EMDR), Clinical Hypnosis, using breath and various brain based procedures, we can actually tell the brain how to behave, how to perceive experience and to be open to other ways of perception, and other ways of experience.
That way, we can help remove the barriers that are stopping us getting the love we want. Having a richer, fuller life becomes a possibility by changing our perception and experience of who we really are.
And the good news is, we’re here in 2019 and 20 and beyond. As a result of what science has discovered about neuroscience and what we’ve learned about technology as well as the whole digital computer age, we’ve had much deeper insights into how the brain functions, how it works.
There are psychological, psycho-therapeutic modalities available, so we don’t have to re-traumatize, we actually calm the brain and give it messages that it’s going to absorb without activating shutdown, dissociative mechanisms that normally would kick in, to protect the brain from unpleasant realities.
Is every distressing event ‘Trauma’?
Not every distressing event is trauma. But on the other hand, many distressing events, particularly in our earlier developmental years are traumatic. Not being listened to as a child, for example can lead to very destructive behavior in later years.
There are various levels of trauma. It doesn’t have to be huge, huge trauma to be destructive. We don’t have to have post-traumatic stress in our life to have been traumatized.
And there is good evidence that trauma in our parents and within our family genealogy can be passed on to future generations. You don’t even have to have personally experienced that trauma personally, for it to be active in your life. But that fascinating topic is the subject of another Blog. Stay tuned!
Are we stuck with the effects of trauma, and negative life scripts, or is there something we can do to heal and move on?
The good news is, healing is possible. There is much we can do to address destructive and traumatic experiences. We can redefine who we are. We can come back to experiencing our core self. As Shakespeare said: “to thine own self be true. Then canst thou be false to no one”.
People can and do use evidence based psychotherapeutic modalities to speak to the brain in calming, effective and satisfying ways, to remove barriers that prevent them from having happier, more loving and fulfilling lives.
When is now a good time to take action!