Christmas is a cracker time to be jolted back into old stories and revert to childhood behaviour – even for those of us who come from “happy families” and feel very grown up!
Do you become the 10 year old you around your parents, cousins or siblings?
Do those old feelings and thoughts you had as a child resurface with a vengeance when you step into those family gatherings, like stepping back in time? (“She always gets favoured… I’m never appreciated… No one here really understands me… OMG she drives me crrrrrrrazy… He’s always been better than me… I’m always left to clean up while they’re having fun…I don’t matter… blah blah blah…”)
Sometimes we can see it happening and it’s even quite comical – sort of! But being aware of it and changing it are two very different kettles of fish!
IT’S THE ENVIRONMENT!
You know why Christmas is a cracker time to regress to our childhood beliefs and attitudes? Well, it’s because our environment is such a huge factor in influencing our gene expression and shaping our brains.
It was our environment when we were 0 to about 7 years old which formed us and made us who we (think we) are. So it’s no wonder that, when we’re placed back in that environment, with the same people, language, relationships, places, habits, attitudes, activities etc., we switch back to the patterns of those times! It’s like a default switch in our brain which then signals those cells so that we feel a certain way, and think certain things aligned with those feelings, and the cycle continues.
We’re effectively using those people, places, relationships etc., to stay addicted to those old thoughts and feelings in our brain and body. You might think of it as being attached to old stories…
… unless we stop it!
FIRSTLY, WHAT DO YOU WANT INSTEAD?
So if we know how we don’t want to feel and think and behave, the next big question is: what do you want instead?
How do you want to feel and behave in those situations?
How do you want to respond when your mother (or mother-in-law!) says those things?
How do you want to feel when you’re faced with that relative who always made you feel inferior?
What thoughts do you want to hear in your head?
We tend to believe that what the voice in our head says is true; we tend to believe that we play certain roles in the world and have a certain personality and that’s just how it is. But it’s all malleable! It can change! It was our change-ability which allowed for the formation of our “personality” (personal reality) to begin with!
GET CLEAR – take time. It’s worth it.
So, take a couple of minutes now or perhaps before you go to bed tonight to get clear on how you want to feel, think and behave in that family gathering, with those certain individuals, in those places, doing those things.
Be very clear. Then…
MENTALLY REHEARSE IT
What does mental rehearsal do? It gives your body, brain and mind (brain in action) the experience you want. You’re not just showing yourself what you want and hoping for the best. No. You’re experiencing it, when you mentally rehearse and richly imagine it. Your brain responds and changes electrically in the same ways as if what you rehearsed had really happened. You can change your brain and body by thought alone.
This is big stuff. Don’t just gloss over this.
It’s all about imagining…
Imagine that old annoying behaviour of that person, and imagine it not affecting you!
Imagine just laughing internally when they do that, instead of fuming.
Imagine feeling relaxed and accepting around your mother-in-law, instead of irritated.
Imagine calmly saying what you think, and standing up for yourself, instead of bottling it up.
Imagine how you want to feel around that person who used to make you feel inferior, and the new thoughts you want to think.
Imagine it. Experience it.
You can even imagine noticing those old, unwanted thoughts and feelings start to raise their ugly heads, and you STOP them before they’ve taken hold.
Every time you rehearse what you want, you’re changing your brain. Every time you richly imagine experiencing what you want to experience, you’re changing your neurochemistry. You’re taking control of your state and your experience of life. You’re being greater than your environment, and you’re consciously choosing.
That’s power for you. And we all have it in us.
A good time to do focused mental rehearsal is just before bed or just as you’re waking up. Why? Because that’s when we’re still in a slower brainwave state, and when our brain waves are slower, we can make changes more quickly. There’s less resistance from the conscious mind. We’re not as distracted.
Having said that, rehearse being that person who responds in the ways you want, behaves in the ways you want, thinks and feels how you want, all through the day! You can’t make profound, lasting change by taking 5 minutes to experience what you want, then going and thinking vitriolic thoughts about your mother-in-law straight afterwards, just for example. That’s just taking 2 steps forward and then 2 steps backwards again.
Practise being the You you want to be, all the time! Just keep bringing yourself back to her or him or them. Keep asking yourself, how would they feel and behave in this situation? How would they walk, talk, drive, pour that cuppa, interact with clients and colleagues and family? Every time you bring yourself back to the person you want to experience, you’re becoming that person that little bit more.
It’s fun! Enjoy it!
So, know how you want to experience this Christmas, get really clear on it, rehearse it, and create that experience for yourself! Have FUN!
I congratulate you in advance, and I wish you a Happy Christmas and holiday season!