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The Conditioned Brain

As human beings, we are wired to be creatures of habit. Drawn to do the same things repeatedly because of it. This is how habits are created. The brain will always follow the path of least resistance. So basically, what you teach yourself (or are taught) you will do and follow. When the brain becomes conditioned with these habits (good or bad), it's very difficult to change course or pattern. It can be altered but it will always try to revert back to what it knows - its habit. The only way your conditioning can change is to create a new pathway so your brain will now see "the new way" as the path of least resistance. In essence, out with the old and in with the new.

Growing up I always thought that "tooting your own horn" about anything was wrong. That saying positive things both to yourself and about yourself wasn't cool. People didn't go around spreading positivity about themselves - it just wasn't done. Those types of people were frowned upon. They were egotistical and conceited.

I grew up in this world. My brain was permanently conditioned to negativity and not thinking much about myself. Even my parents (God love them because they are fantastic) were never really the complimenting and praising type. It wasn't in their DNA. They just loved us and provided us with anything and everything that we needed. But, this is generational. Their parents certainly never complimented them, so they grew up never knowing that their parents were proud of them, or had any big gestures of " I love you's" so neither did we. They were never taught that this was important.

To date, I have never been one to even know how to take or respond to compliments. It always felt weird or embarrassing to hear. I mean, what do you say? Having the spotlight was never my cup of tea; it's funny because I always dreamt of being the center of attention, but would probably die from anxiety if I had it for too long. Heaven forbid that I ever looked in a mirror and spouted out "Damn girl, you're so sexy/beautiful" Never!!! It not only sounded stupid but insane to say things like that to yourself.

Today, we are always told that self-love and positivity toward oneself are paramount - especially when trying to alleviate stress from your life. Never speak ill or negative of yourself. Always present yourself as a winner. Millions of social media influencers and motivators spend most of their time and energy trying to get you to manifest goodness and say positive things about yourself. But, it's tough to do when all you've ever known was keeping quiet about these kinds of things. You are no longer going to be looked at or considered full of yourself if you speak incredibly highly about the person you are. In fact, all you hear today is how "badass" people are. Great things that for the most part are spoken about yourself, to yourself. So, why weren't we taught this at an early age, along with algebra or chemistry?

I really wish I came from a world where I was always told that I was good enough, worthy enough, that I was always told I was loved, and that I could be anything or anyone I wanted. That I was smart and strong. That I was fearless and that no one could influence me unless I allowed it. That other people's thoughts of me or words meant nothing because I knew how great I was. That God created me flawless and perfect - regardless of what others said. Maybe if I had, I wouldn't have spent my life looking for all these things. Continuously feeling that I was not enough. I would have known that I was all these things, within me. That I didn't need to look for compliments from others. Perhaps things would have been very different.

What I've learned in abundance this year is to let go of the past. All the things that weren't said or done that should have been. Saying goodbye to old ghosts - good and bad. Thanking people for their role in my life - however long or short-lived that it was. To count on me for all things and being so incredibly proud of who I saw staring back at me in the mirror. To give back to everyone as much as possible. Making sure that my loved ones ALWAYS know how incredible they are, how special they are, and how much they are cared for - especially the little ones. The little ones around me are at a very fragile stage in their life when they should be taught how wonderful they are and most importantly that they are seen. Nothing is more important than this! You can give your kid all the money in the world but nothing will make them richer than to know their worth. Self-love, mindfulness, love, and care for yourself and those around you, and mental health - THIS is what should be taught at home and in schools. It's quite sad that it isn't ( nor ever will be ) part of the curriculum.

It's hard to change how your brain is wired later in adulthood. Personality and self-perception are conceived at a very young age. If you are taught or shown that loving yourself is taboo or not proper, chances are you will be searching for it aimlessly throughout your entire life. So if this sort of positive language isn't instilled early on, it may never be.

Our brains were designed to see negativity first, in a way of protection - but it can be altered with the right conditioning. Something to think about.

If you're out there, and you come from a world like mine, there is hope in forming new habits for yourself, in order to condition your brain to think a different way. New habits are made every day and none are more vital than changing the way you see yourself. It takes a lot of work but you can do it. You only have one mind, one soul, and one body, and it is your divine right to take care of them.

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