“And I didn’t die” is something I’ve started adding to the end of my posts in my mastermind groups.
We’re supposed to share our accountability and of course I’m working on this whole brand expansion thing which means I’m running around terrified pretty much every minute of every day.
But thanks to my mind-body healing journey, I know something BASIC about how we’re wired that helps me a great deal with that terror. And now it’s gonna help you.
First, some context: There is only one priority higher than “do no self-harm” in the human brain and that’s “don’t die.” That means *every* time we do something that falls in the self-harm category (which many of our interactions with our bodies fall into), it’s because on some level we think we will die if we don’t do that self-harm-filled thing.
Eating things we know our bodies don’t process well.
Drinking to excess.
Depriving ourselves of enough sleep or proper nourishment or healthy sex.
Staying in loops of anxiety or OCD or chronic pain.
Engaging in harmful self-talk.
All of this creates enough momentum that it becomes a part of who we are… all because we believe, in primal places in our brain, that we will die if we do not alleviate the pressure that has built up in us. And the way we alleviate that pressure is through something that is a form of self-harm.
Think about that.
When we do something we KNOW isn’t good for us, it’s because we believe the alternative is that we’ll die.
Now, of course on its surface, we *know* better. I’m not eating that donut because I think I’ll die if I don’t. But there’s enough messaging in my system — built up over enough years of running very consistently up and down those neural pathways — that says the discomfort I am feeling over the stress in my life, the anxiety over things I cannot control, the pain of loss or anything else that’s 100% natural in a modern human life is SO GREAT that I *could* die from it… that the donut gets eaten.
I do the self-harm-filled thing because I’m now very well practiced in experience that the only way to get relief from the part of my brain that is sure it could die is to do something that I know causes me harm.
So what’s the fix? How do we Superpower Sunday this situation?
It’s with that wee breath we take before we do the damn thing.
No, that doesn’t mean we WON’T ever engage in self-harm ever again. Sorry, folks. Awareness of a problem (or even a solution) is not all it takes to cure said problem.
But in adding that SPACE between the primal instinct, “This discomfort is so great that I might die,” and the doing of the thing our evolved brain knows is *not* the kindest choice we can make for ourselves or our goals, we begin to do what’s called pattern interruption.
EFT is pattern interruption. Bilateral stimulation is pattern interruption. You’ve experienced both of these things in Get in Gear for the Next Tier and The SMFA Vault, respectively. Come chat in the comments of the April course page at the dojo if you need a refresher. I’ll get you links to the appropriate days.
Pattern interruption is also snapping a rubberband on your wrist. It’s holding your breath when you have the hiccups. It’s adding a breath of awareness and intention to the mix.
And with enough practice, what’s beautiful with this is that you’ll realize you’re not going to die and therefore CAN make a kinder choice. No, not every time. Seriously, sometimes when I’m too terrified to work on the brand expansion I play Words With Friends for hours nonstop. While eating donuts.
But then I soak in the tub. I listen to some Abraham-Hicks. I read encouraging words from my dearest friends who support me in this terrifying discomfort of growth… and then I post in my mastermind group about the ONE thing I was able to inch forward and I end my report with, “and I didn’t die!”
What can you add a breath to so that you change the level of stakes you may be completely unaware you’re bringing to the seemingly simple situation?
Whether it’s a food/drink/substance you can’t stay away from or a toxic relationship (whether with a human being or with all of social media), consider that there’s some place in your brain that is certain the alternative to NOT having this presence available to you is death.
And work to soothe that sweet, little space that learned to be really afraid a long time ago for reasons that adult you, today, knows aren’t REAL.
When we learned things *that well* that long ago?
The work to unlearn ’em is a little sticky sometimes. So go easy on yourself, be super gentle about this, celebrate *any* tiny bit of progress, and remember to dismount with, “And I didn’t die.” Because that reminder? It’s seriously powerful.
See you in the dojo for more on this, of course, you glorious creature!
Also, your May Aligned Hustle Calendar is waiting for you at the Welcome page! Woo HOO! It’s a packed month of hands-on get-shit-done-ness, so let’s be sure we make the most of it, okay?
This is big work.
But you’ve got this. And we’ve got you. 😉
All my love,