What You Make it Mean

By: Kristin Martineau | February 1, 2019

Your brain is designed to interpret the world around you and create meaning from it. Sometimes it creates meaning that’s necessary and useful and sometimes it creates meaning that isn’t useful or isn’t true.

If you are walking down a dark street and a man starts running toward you, your brain might make that mean you are in danger and you should run away.  Helpful.

If it’s Valentine’s Day and your husband doesn’t bring you flowers, your brain might make that mean that he doesn’t care about you.  Not Helpful.

What does it mean if your husband is running toward you on a dark street on Valentine’s day without any flowers? I don’t know. Why did you even think of that? Weirdo.

This is what’s relevant: If you don’t learn to question the meaning that you assign to the things around you, you are at the mercy of your lower brain.  Your lower brain is still stuck in survival mode. It hasn’t caught up to the fact that we don’t have to hunt for food anymore. It still thinks everything is dangerous.  Stay inside. Eat chocolate. Watch Netflix. Don’t put yourself out there. It’s scary.  You’ll for sure die.  Have some fries too.

Lower brain is sort of like a toddler. With a knife. And an ice cream cone.  Means well, doesn’t question itself, causes havoc.

You have to learn to question your own brain.  Most people don’t do that and end up believing whatever their lower brain offers them.

You must learn to ask yourself: What am I making this mean?

One of my clients once told me about a fight she got into with her friend.  From that moment on, the friend wouldn’t speak to her.  It was understandably painful for her.  I asked her what she was making it mean.  She realized she was making it mean that she wasn’t worthy of being a friend and that other people wouldn’t want to be friends with her.

Being sad you lost a friend serves a purpose.

Making it mean that you aren’t worthy of friendship creates pain. Not useful.  Not true.

See the difference?

The meaning we create is optional friends.  Question it.

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Today I wrote about extinction bursts and how to deal with them.  What’s that all about? Wouldn’t you like to know.  😉

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