Just a little bit ago I got up in my dark office and headed toward the kitchen. Suddenly I tripped on a package of boxes that someone must have knocked over and BEFORE MY FOOT EVEN HIT THE FLOOR, I was looking for someone to blame.
That got me thinking, why do we do that? Why, the second ANYTHING happens to us, do we rally to point the finger at whose fault it is?
Well, maybe just I do that. It very well could be part of my conditioning – what I saw and experienced growing up.
But really it goes a little deeper than that – right to my reptilian brain. That reaction is awful fast to go through the filters of my conditioning. It was kind of a scary event, right? Scary enough for my brain to enter fight or flight, aka, the stress response.
I mean, it was dark and I was about to die in the dining room.
So I believe this must go back to needing to know where the threat was coming from so we could either run from it or attack it.
This part of our brain exists to keep us safe from things like saber tooth tigers or rattlesnakes.
These days, we just have boxes in the dark, biscuit cans, trolls on Facebook… no REAL threats.
But still, the brain wants to know who to attack or how fast it should tell you to run.
The power is in stepping back from that part of your brain and activating your prefrontal cortex; looking for your part in the co-creation of the event:
1. Why am I walking in the dark?
2. I noticed the boxes earlier, why didn’t I pick them up?
3. Why am I even awake anyway? Go to bed woman!
4. We’ve used one of these boxes once in the past year – store them elsewhere!
5. Just give everything away – simplify! Do those boxes spark joy??
I could probably keep going, and going…
That’s why Dr. Shefali talks about the power of the PAUSE.
When your brain enters fight or flight, PAUSE. Unless you’re actually like out in the jungle or something, there’s no need to REACT.
There’s no need to blame. There’s no threat. Take a breath. Assess the situation. Examine your role in its co-creation. Take appropriate action. Moving on…
What threats have you neutralized today?