Updated: Nov 17
There are three things to keep in mind when trying to mange a human brain. The first is that we believe a lot of things to be factual, that are not. Second, we are not our thoughts, we are the observer of them. Third, our brain is a trouble maker and needs to be supervised. For these reasons, it is essential to increase our self-awareness regarding what is going on in our brain. Unfortunately, the majority of us are not paying attention to how our brain works at all.
Let's begin our journey to self-awareness by deciphering the fact from fiction in our brains. The average brain can have up to 60,000 thoughts per day and the majority of those are likely to be BS. What do I mean by BS? It may mean the thoughts are not true, it could mean they are not useful, or it could mean they are self-destructive and causing us major problems.
For instance, half the country hates our president, and half our country loves him. How can that be? President Trump is what we call a circumstance, which means he is neutral until you attach a thought to him. Some people have super negative thoughts about him, some have positive ones. Most believe their thoughts to be factual and the truth. Over time, the thoughts become so repetitive they become beliefs and we get even more attached to them. No matter how many times we have the thoughts or believe them to be true, they will never be the truth for everybody so they are not factual...just opposing thoughts from different brains. It is important to recognize that every human brain has a distinctive filter that is different from everybody else's. Meaning, we all have our own unique BS, which explains why everybody is so sure they are right and the other person is wrong.
Once we identify our brain BS, we have to understand that we are not our thoughts. We are just the observer of what pops up in our brain. Often times, what pops up is not very nice. In fact, sometimes it is downright disturbing or crazy! For instance, a couple years ago when I was going through a stressful time, my anxiety was off the charts. I remember being on our second floor deck one evening and sitting with my pups, and I had the thought "What would happen if I threw them over the balcony?" I actually experienced an urge to do it but never would have followed through with it. Just having that experience completely freaked me out and made me think there was something horribly wrong with me. That is, until I googled it and learned it happens to many other people as well. This was my first experience of actively acknowledging that a thought can come up in my brain that could not possibly be coming from the real me. I am a major dog lover and prefer my pups to most people. This leads me to my next point of why we need to supervise our brains.
Our brains are major drama queens (or kings) and love to cause us trouble! They have good intentions and think they are keeping us safe, but they are often times very misguided. Brooke Castillo refers to this part of our brain as the primitive brain. Eckhart Tolle refers to it as the ego. I use both terms interchangeably and can easily recognize when I am not operating from my best self.
How do I know? I know because of what I am thinking and how it is making me feel. Whenever I am anxious or dwelling in confusion, I know my primitive brain is at work. Whenever I am rushing or in a hurry, I know the ego is trying to rob me of the present moment. Whenever I do something impulsively for the short term pleasure instead of holding out for the long term, I know my primitive brain is back at it. Whenever I do not feel like I am doing enough or I should have done something differently, I know the ego is again taking me to the past or the future.
I share all of these examples so we can better understand the need for supervising our brains. When I say supervising, I mean we need to examine our thoughts, decipher how the thoughts make us feel, note what actions we take because of those feelings, and identify the results that are created. Even though our brains means well, they really don't have a clue about what is best for us the majority of the time so we need to be the guide.
In conclusion, we must separate the fact from fiction, recognize we are not our thoughts, and learn how to supervise our brain. Given all of the thoughts we experience on a daily basis, it is no wonder so many people are suffering from their own brain BS. Once we acknowledge the BS, then we can learn how to manage it.