Our brains are incredibly powerful. According to Ashley Feinberg's article An 83,000-Processor Supercomputer Can Only Match 1% of Your Brain, “You've undoubtedly heard over and over again about what an absurdly complex entity the human brain is. But a new breakthrough by Japanese and German scientists might finally drive the point home. Taking advantage of the almost 83,000 processors of one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, the team was able to mimic just one percent of one second's worth of human brain activity—and even that took 40 minutes.”
Given how our brains are able to handle such a high level of speed and complexity, it seems that learning how to control our brains would be important. Sadly, teaching children and adults how to use their brains well has not been a part of the school system until recently.
I liken this lack of 'brain training' to driving a Lamborghini on a windy, mountain road without knowing how to drive. Careening off the road is par for the course when you're moving at a high velocity, you have an engine that is extremely powerful, and there are no guard rails. Imagine how much better it would be to develop basic skills about how to handle your Lamborghini before you drove on mountain roads.
The self-talk we engage in throughout the day is one way to begin to train our brain so that we can stay on the road. The negative self-talk that most people hear ad nauseum is tantamount to careening off the road. It is well worth developing a new habit, learning how to speak to and with your self (or selves—all those internal characters) in a positive manner. Positive self-talk is the surest way to keep your Lamborghini on the road.
A teenager, plagued by internal voices that say he isn't good enough, is learning to address those voices head on, find out what they are trying to protect him from, tell them that he no longer needs their protection, and that he is ready to take risks.
A twenty-something whose negative thoughts lead him into depression, withdrawal, and anger is starting to build the 'angel' muscle by engaging in credit-taking, which is like learning to drive in a parking lot before going out on the road.
A young professional in her thirties who's been working with the characters at her round table for more than a year is able to transform the negative reactive voices by changing her dialogues. Now an angel character appreciates the value of these negative characters; the nay-sayer, chicken little, the evaluator, and more. She brings in loving kindness, and then, finally, a different perspective that uses reason and logic.
Even though the negative voices do so much damage, remember that they are not 'bad' but really fallen angels who are trying to protect you. If you appreciate them for that, it goes a long way.
The practice this week focuses on language you can use to transform negative self-talk.