Do you notice that your brain comes up with stories?
You’re having lunch with a friend and theres a couple at another table getting into a heated conversation. You can’t actually hear what they are saying but… their faces and body language says it all.
Your mind automatically fills in the blanks.
It begins coming up with stories about what the couple could be arguing about.
“Maybe she caught him checking out the waitress…”
“Or maybe she spent a little too much of their money on those heels..”
No matter how ridiculous or unlikely the story we come up with is, our minds are willing to create it.
Our Brains Are Meaning Making Machines!
Our brains are designed to close loops. It fills in the gaps of missing information as if it is fact.
They label a story as either positive or negative.
But, do you notice….
Our brains lean towards labelling the negative, more catastrophic side of things?
Our Brains Are Designed to Help Us Survive, NOT Thrive…
The brains key function is to keep us safe and out of danger.
This kept us safe when days were simpler….
“Oh snap, that lion is approaching me with hunger in his eyes, I must escape…”
These days, it has definite downsides….
I watched a video recently by Alex Hormozi who perfectly explains the downsides of labelling situations as positive or negative – especially when it comes to our Mental Health…
We See Experiences As Two Opposing Sides of a Spectrum
We label moments in time as either:
- Good or Bad
- Happy or Sad
- Relaxed or Stressed
The problem is, when an experience isn’t ideal, our brains label it as a “negative experience.”
It kicks into survival mode. It tells us that this negative experience is “bad or wrong.”
It wants us to escape it – often by taking medication, or finishing off that 6-pack in the fridge…
The thing is….
These “negative experiences” aren’t bad at all….
They’re What Makes Us Human!
It is okay – in fact – normal to experience both highs and lows.
It’s part of the human experience.
It is a blessing to feel so many emotions – We need not condemn ourselves when we are feeling low.
So, Is Being Human The Problem?
Not at all!
Feeling a range of emotions – ups and downs – is human nature.
Just like it’s our brains nature to help us survive – even if that means telling us irrational explanations to an experience.
It’s up to us to decipher if the labelling going on in our brains is rational or not.
(Hint: most times… its not)
Man’s Search For Meaning
Alex Hormozi ended off his video by sharing a little piece of advice from this book by Viktor E. Frankl…
Viktor E. Frankl – for those who do not know – was a Holocaust survivor. He survived the Auschwitz Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany. His family did not…
In his book, he shares his experiences as a prisoner and the revelation he received about life and suffering.
Viktor’s message is simply this:
“Between our circumstances and our responses, there is always CHOICE.
Suffering is OPTIONAL.”
This is coming from a man who has been through the worst of the worst.
Even he can find meaning in suffering.
The key is not eliminating emotional distress or negative experiences, but accepting it as a part of being human.
And being able to find meaning in the madness.