Updated: Jun 20, 2020
Have you ever wondered how one person can have a consistent positive reaction while others have a consistent negative one? That’s what I call Brainguage. The basic definition of brainguage is the learned language of the brain. It’s a habit formed signal.
Understanding how the brain actually works is well beyond my educational level (I’m no brain surgeon) but I do know that there are signals that are sent from one path to another within the brain and from the brain to the body telling you how to react to a stimulus.
For example, if a stranger gets upset with you because you unknowingly cut in line and they begin to aggressively yell at you, your brain reacts with either fight or flight. If you stub your toe the brain sends the pain signal to your body but it also sends a signal of how to react. Some people cuss and scream and others just hold their toe and cry. I know there are some signals my brain has lost all together like the ability to remember where I parked my car, but I’ve discovered that my brain does have the ability to change other signals with a little encouragement.
You’ve all heard the expression that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind? I change my mind more often than I change my shoes and I have a lot of shoes. I’m not just talking to women though. All human beings have the power to change their minds. I’m not talking about “I wanted pizza for dinner and now I want tacos''. I’m talking about an epic, life altering change of your mind. I’m talking about changing your brainguage.
Thought patterns are learned early on and if something can be learned, it can be unlearned. I unlearned the habit of sucking my thumb so I know it’s possible. Unlearning the negative was a good start but that alone wasn’t enough. I couldn’t just take away the bad and leave a void in my brain. God knows there are enough of those already. I had to replace every negative thought with a positive thought.
There are two types of negative thought patterns that I struggled with.There is one where I tell myself that I’m not good enough. It has me apologizing for just existing. I don’t need any special circumstance or situation to have these thoughts. They are daily and they can be overwhelming.
This one is really hard and I have to work at it everyday. I have to tell myself that I’m beautiful. I have to tell myself that I’m smart. I have to tell myself that I’m worthy of taking up space. I am worthy. I have to do this daily.
The other type of negative brainguage for me is unrealistic optimism and I used it as a coping mechanism when trying to deal with events or situations in my life but mostly when dealing with rejection. If I gave a speech and received constructive criticism, I would tell myself that I rocked that speech and those people just don’t know a good thing when they hear it. But I would beat myself up on the inside about the sea of mistakes that I made.
I had to learn to be realistically optimistic. That meant I had to tell myself that even if I fail at something it’s OK as long as I try my best and I learn from it. Now I’m able to take constructive criticism and grow from it instead of drowning in it.
I used to think I was surrounded by jerks. Jerks at my work, at my gym, in my family. Once I began to work on my brainguage and tried seeing things from a different perspective, then I began to think I was a jerk. I realized I was in survival mode and was lashing out at those around me or internally blaming others for my pain. I’ve now come to a place where I don’t think anyone is a jerk, including myself. We are all just humans having human experiences and reacting to them according to our own brainguage.
How did I do it? How did I change my thought patterns? I had to tell myself the opposite of what my brain was telling me over and over again in order to reset my brainguage.
I still have to work at it but it does get easier with time so if you decide to try it don’t give up. It takes doing something 30 times in a row to make it a habit. That means if you forget to do it just one time, you have to start over. There were so many times I had to start over and so many times I wanted to give up but I’m so glad I didn’t.
If you think your brainguage is set in stone and you feel stuck, try something different. Step out of your comfort zone. Let your brain work for you instead of against you. Learn a new brainguage.