The Meanings you Choose Create your Experience
Your brain is constantly taking in information, analyzing it, and creating meanings out of it.
It’s one of the amazing ways our brains are always working for us on autopilot – keeping us safe and keeping life ticking ahead with ease.
However, that doesn’t mean this system is without its pitfalls.
Today we are talking about helping your brain make meanings of things that support your growth instead of keeping you trapped in the same old cycles.
Don’t get what I mean?? Read on, it gets clear, I promise!
A few years back during my first coaching certification, one of the key lessons was that the things people are going through aren’t as important or influential as the meanings they make of the things they’re going through.
Humans are designed to make meaning out of everything. Like computers, we are always analyzing things and taking in information to be processed. Then we make it mean something.
But how does our brain know what to make things mean?
Humans are programmed through experiences, lessons, and the examples that were set for us very early in life. You received the majority of your programming before the time you even started to form clear memories.
This is all subconscious, but what that means is that a story you learned when you were 2 or 3 years old might still be dictating your beliefs and reactions regarding events happening today.
Yes. And also annoying.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be functioning as an adult. Taking responsibility, learning, growing, and adapting.
So when your brain is on auto-pilot from 3 year old you, it’s time to become aware and take charge!
These stories dictate the meaning we make of circumstances in our lives.
To give you an example, let’s look at weight gain.
You step on a scale and you’ve gained 10lbs (or about 5kg). Now that by itself doesn’t actually mean anything. It is a fact. An experience. But your brain will make it mean something!
For many people, weight gain is considered bad or wrong. You might get a narrative in your head of “I’m so lazy”, “I’m ugly and disgusting”, “I need to get to the gym more”, or “what’s wrong with me?”. The story is that gaining weight makes you undesirable and wrong.
Alternatively, if you’ve struggled with a low weight much of your life and you’ve been trying to gain weight, if you stepped on the scale and saw that you’d in fact gained 10lbs you’d be ecstatic! You are successful, moving toward your goals, and it would be cause for celebration.
Can you see the difference?
The event itself is neutral. The same 10 pounds. It’s your brain, your experiences, and your beliefs that make the meaning.
The same is true of so many other circumstances.
Think of getting a raise at work or signing a new client in your business.
It could be cause for celebration!
Or it could be cause for crippling anxiety because you feel like you can’t measure up and are bound to fail.
If you took an hour every weekend to go to a spa and really indulge yourself, you could feel horribly guilty because you don’t feel you’re worth it, or that you’re taking money and time away from more important things.
Or you could feel yummy, nourished, and on top of the world. Period.
Understanding that it’s the meanings behind circumstances that dictate how we feel and not the circumstances themselves is HUGE!
This is a fairly simple concept, yet it’s so profound because it impacts literally everything in your life.
Your body image
Your internal dialogue