THIS ‘PAYING ATTENTION’ THING
is a lot of work!
PREVIOUS: CDs & the brain (#3)
OUR BRAIN Gathering Info (cont.)
6. OLD is still VALID
a. EXPECTATIONS: The brain will continue to ‘understand’ & interpret the present based on the way things were when it got the last piece of info about something familiar, no matter how long ago that was. Therefore, it won’t know that its previous info may no longer be correct or relevant now, ie. obsolete.
✓ Think – going to a school reunion. We automatically expect old classmates to look & act the same as they did when we last saw them (10, 20 years ago), especially towards us! & are often shocked at the changes in them. Of course this is not logical, but…
b. ACTIONS: The mechanical brain cannot alert us to which memories (experiences) are still valid as a basis for present behavior & which ones are out-dated. So, our current reactions to circumstances are often founded on useless info. Obsolescence has 3 main sources:
— things that change frequently, like prices & styles
— things that change more slowly, but steadily – like aging
— things learned a long time ago, like in childhood. The further back the input, the more likely it’s not viable in the present, ✶ altho’ this doesn’t apply to everything, like moral values or spiritual truths
PRECAUTIONS against Thinking Errors: Because the brain assumes all completely new input is legitimate, it’s especially important for ACoAs to consciously double check all new experiences whenever possible, since incomplete or blatantly wrong info can have severe consequences in the future – especially when making important decisions
❧ Identify your CDs: write down recurring beliefs & upsetting thoughts. Match them up to the list of CDs, & notice the ones we favor. This will give you info about your family’s beliefs
— Instead of automatically blaming yourself for difficulties you experience, identify external factors which may have caused or contributed to a problem. Even of you did have something to do with the outcome, self-blame keeps you from figuring out options & helpful ways of coping or solving the problem.
— do a cost-benefit analysis to identify the advantages (Negative Benefits) and disadvantages of using CDs & nurturing your S-H
❧ Check the evidence: see if your assumptions or new info from someone else is valid – ASK, read, think. Most of our inappropriate reactions to life are not simply from our damage and inherent lack of knowledge, but rather not making the effort to search out readily available information to supplement & correct our knowledge base
Re. YOU: As a counter-measure to your negative thinking, list the times you’ve been successful, have reached a goal, accomplish a task….
— double check your thinking with people you trust – who have your best interest at heart & who have proven themselves consistently reliable & ‘sane’
Re. OTHERS: gather as much info about how to deal with a problematic or scary person or situation that is making you uncomfortable or which may be potentially very important to your life. Go over what you already know & get help to NOT overlook something you may have originally assumed to be irrelevant, since that could actually be the very thing —
— which is causing the most problem OR
— which is better or most useful, in providing a solution!
❧ Smart Listening: develop the daily mental habit of not automatically accepting any important new info or experience as legitimate until you can check it out (“Don’t believe everything you hear & only half of what you see or read”!)
— label each new unproven item with an identifying source “My teachers says…” , “I recently read in…” – to indicate it’s not yet verified. Once you’ve confirmed it, you can own it without a tag. “I don’t like Sam because…”
— notice that insulting name-calling (inferior, loser, a fool, chicken, crazy….) is about your person-hood. Check what happened just before that unkind comment & most of the time the label is related to an action or situation, rather than about you – the person as a whole.
❧ Smart Talking: notice & then write down your harsh thoughts or the ones you hear from others. Put them aside & read them again a few days later. If you hears a parents talk like that to a child in a store or in a bus – how would you feel?
— Emotionally: talk to yourself in ways opposite to your mental habit – be gentle, kind, patient, supportive – what you would’ve liked to hear as a child
— Mentally: talk to yourself & others in ‘shades of grey’’. This is not a compromise – but allows for variations, options & possibilities you have not considered
ALSO – add a qualifier then sharing ‘helpful’ facts, or your personal beliefs, opinions, advice, knowledge: “I think you might…., I heard a rumor that…, In my experience…., I read somewhere that…., This is just my point of view….”
a. Sometimes we hear or read something ‘healthy’ & our head says it’s true, makes sense, the speaker / writer knows what they’re talking about… BUT we don’t feel it. This usually means that we have a layer of defense against taking it in all the way because the unconscious knows it’s going to be painful, & it goes against our family’s messages.
b. Other times we hear or read something & it ‘rings a bell’, not just in our head but also in our gut. We know it’s RIGHT. It may be quite contradictory to our earliest training, but we can feel that it’s right for us – it resonates down to our toes! This is likely because the healthy info we’re receiving now is something we (secretly) knew in our hearts a long time ago, but had to suppress & it’s finally being validated. Sometimes the healthy info is so clear & relevant to our true self that all we can do is cry in relief at finally getting what we need!
NEXT: CDs & the Unconscious (Part 1)