For this idea, think back to an old conversation that went wrong. Think about an old argument that you wished you handled differently or think about the time when you said something and wished you hadn’t. Think about a phone call that you wished you never made or a call you wished you never missed. Meanwhile, although this is all in the past and although this can never be changed or altered, we somehow relive old conversations or old decisions and rehearse what we wished we said.
Sometimes we play this out. Sometimes we carry on a conversation in our mind and try to relitigate the past. But no. There is no changing the past. There is no changing the outcomes. There is nothing more than an internal conversation that replays over and over. And what’s the result? It’s emotion. It’s assumption. The result is thinking gone awry.
I once learned a story about a man who lost his leg in the war. At first, the soldier was in disbelief. After waking from surgery, the soldier thanked the nurse for saving his leg to which, the nurse was faced with the unpleasant task of explaining the soldier lost his leg from the knee down.
“But I can feel it,” he said.
“It’s still there. It still hurts a little.”
There are cases where amputees discuss the loss of their limbs. For example, the soldier who lost his leg might have dreams where he is healthy and whole. He might dream of running or walking through the woods or up a mountain. He might dream of old memories. Perhaps, he might dream of a high school dance or walking down the stairs of his childhood home. However, at the moment the soldier awakens, it is as though he is faced with the news of losing his leg all over again. And therefore, he re-experiences the energy and the loss of his leg.
As a specialist, I have worked with mothers and fathers who lost their children. I have listened to stories about their dreams of their children, only to wake in the morning to realize this was only a dream and as a result, they face the tragic loss all over again. They take on the energy of their tragic loss and suffer the same outcome.
The mind is an interesting thing. The emotional mind does not differentiate between past or present, opinion, memory, reflection, assumption or reality. Instead, the mind senses the emotion, which in this case is pain; and so chemically, the mind responds.
Going back to old conversations or the stressor of an assumed conversation that is yet to come; take a second to think about this. Think about the energy and think about the emotional response. We tend to take on the emotions of our emotional atmospheres in which case; we are similar to the soldier who lost his leg. Each time we relive our personal catastrophes, we re-feel our old catastrophes and yet, we never heal or advance. This becomes part of our programmed structure. This can be buried or at the surface. This can be simple or more complex, and yet, all of this has an impact on our usefulness.
In the earlier ideas and in the case of both personal and interpersonal synergy, understanding our energy is the pathway to personal balance. In the previous idea: The Dangers of Comparison, I mentioned that we are always the square root to our own equations. Everything we do starts and ends with us.
The way we think, the way we feel and the way we behave is a direct result of our mental health. This impacts the way we live, love, laugh and learn. Our mental health is the way we process information. This is our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Our mental health is how we handle stress or relate to others, especially in the workplace or in social atmospheres. However, in common environments, we see signs that remind us to be careful. We see signs that read caution or warning. We are told ideas such as “Safety first,” which is true. We are taught a lot about physical safety measures. However, we spend little time discussing psychological safety.
There was a suggestion given to me that made sense. At the time, I was handling a big loss. There was a downfall and the assumption of others involved. I struggled both personally and professionally. It was suggested to me by a good friend to address my thinking.
He said, “Don’t play the movie out in your head.”
“Those movies never end well,” he said and then we discussed the problems that follow along with depressive thinking
“I think, therefore I am.” is entirely true.
My friend was right. This is exactly what I was doing. I was playing the movie out in my head. I was assuming the opinions of others. I was assuming the worst. I jumped to conclusions. I was taken away and carried off by the deception of my perception and therefore, I was lost to the inaccuracies of my insecurity. At one point, I stirred the anxiety machine to an overload; all because I continued to feed my irrational thinking.
Essentially, my emotional response was no different from the man who lost his leg; and each time I relieved the downfall or allowed my thinking to unravel, I took on the chemical reactions of emotion. I took on the energy of my losses and relived the same emotional response as I felt when the downfall took place.
The mind is an interesting machine. Inside this place are many rooms, like a storage house with old tapes and old videos, letters, songs, smells, sights and sounds. The mind files this under an emotional sense of alphabetical order from the time we are born until now. In fact, there are studies that discuss prenatal memory.
Dr. Jon Nijhus, a co-author of the study and obstetrician at Maastricht University Medical Center in The Netherlands has shown studies of neurological development of humans before birth – and again, I go back to my original thought; the mind is an interesting machine.
Our perception or the deception thereof is often tricked and led astray by emotional or irrational concerns, fears, biases and misinterpreted experiences. This affects our decision making abilities and performance. Self-talk and the damage of our internal narrative can degrade our best levels of performance. Or better yet, and at the simplest point; our internal narrative and self-talk can literally ruin our day.
In order to “Be the Better and Embrace the Culture,” we have to think better and become the culture. It is often said that the mind is a record of the past. Therefore, if this is so then the mind can also be the map of our future. This all changes once we change our perspective.
In a study, there were two plants. One plant was nurtured with kindness and another was admonished and shamed.
Guess which plant flourished and which plant wilted.
If our energy is linked to the chemical circuitry of our emotions then we have to mind our emotional output. Of course it is always easy for people to say, “Well, just don’t think that way. “
It is simple to suggest, “Just think differently.”
However, the truth is we have been trained and programmed to think and feel, process and react. If in fact, we have memories back to prenatal times; this would mean we have subconscious programs that are older than our actual birth.
Thoughts are thoughts. Feelings are feelings. Opinions are opinions and with all of them, neither are true or false; they are only true to us. By understanding this, we can learn to decipher between rational and irrational thinking. By understanding our energy, we can improve our personal efficiency by recreating and retraining our thought patterns. We can create a sense of neuroplasticity which is the capacity of the nervous system to develop new neuronal connections. This can change our connections with our pasts. This can help us improve from problematic thinking and direct us towards logical responses instead of irrational or emotional assumptions.
To be the better, we have to learn to be at our personal best, which is possible for us all. We have to become the culture, we have to embrace the culture because at our best; we are not intimidated, threatened or uncomfortable. Therefore, items such as cultural competence and interpersonal relationships run smoother because our personal machine is running smoothly. Think of it this way, when our energy is at its best, so are we and thus, nothing is so challenging that we cannot learn to work or overcome.