How to Get Your Brain to Cooperate

Did you ever notice how people beat themselves up? You hear things like "I always screw things up," "I'm such a fat slob", or "I'm such an idiot." You even see people hit themselves on the head when they say such things.

Puppy Training

Imagine trying to train a dog this way. A new puppy will teeth on just about anything - your finger, your glasses, your favorite pair of shoes.  Sure, hitting the pup or yelling at the pup may eventually create some obedience. That will also create an anxious, confused dog. He'll still be eager to please, but unsure and likely to mess up. It's hard to learn when scared. There is more focus on not screwing up than doing it right. Learning what the angry, two-legged critter wants can be mixed up with natural instincts, and hard to tease apart.

Dog Whisperer

A large part of our brain is wired just like a puppy - eager to do what is best, but sometimes confused about what this would be. A puppy can't be blamed for living in a screwed up household, just like your inner mind can't be to blame for being confused by some of the messages you received and integrated growing up. Rather than yelling at yourself, berating or hitting yourself, try some brain whispering. You know, like the dog whisperer Caesar Milan. He can take fearful, aggressive  impossible dogs and turn them into great pets. He does this by being in charge in a calm and assertive, non-aggressive way, and the by training the dogs' owners.

Brain Whispering

So, I believe our minds are somewhat like these eager to please puppies. The key to getting them to cooperate is to use the same techniques. First, be in charge in an assertive, not aggressive way. This means, observe yourself and notice yourself putting you down. You may be surprised, and even wonder how can you expect any better with all that bad-mouthing.  Once in this non-reactive observer mode, you are ready to increase more of when you are not screwing up. You know there are times you're just fine, you can't be screwing up 24-7! Just like a puppy isn't teething all the time. Notice these other times, and play and be nice. Reward!

For a puppy, you'd keep as many valuables out of reach as you can. Then when he begins to teeth, you'd replace your finger or your shoe with a toy. Praise him for chewing the toy!

Realize that your inner mind is always trying to to is what is best. Its wired to keep you safe, tells you when you're hungry, tired, etc. We all know this gets screwed up though. We live in a culture that feeds confusing information into our inner mind. We are essentially taught to "control" ourselves through shame and fear. Then, we do this ourselves.

Granted, this approach has produced many kids that submit to "their place" in their families and schools and the like, but they are like those puppies that have been yelled at, berated and hit. Unless they stop beating themselves up, they are never going to get their mind to cooperate they way they would like.

So try communicating with your mind that you "got this." Notice when you get things right. Focus on what you want more of. Reward yourself, be kind to yourself, and be open-minded. If you screw up, no big deal, that may happen. Just notice and redirect. This is "mindfulness" and will turn you into a brain whisperer.