"What is wrong with me?" Do you ever ask yourself that question? Do you ever find yourself yelling at your kids or NOT getting the dishes done or having piles of both clean and dirty laundry dotting your house? Or, maybe you even ask it when you feel like you failed yet again to communicate what you really wanted to your spouse, or spent another 3 hours on Netflix
while responsibilities piled up, or ordered takeout. Again. Listen to me. Nothing is wrong with you! You have a brain. In fact, you have a very rich and complex brain. But, the one that is our default, the one that takes over when we are tired, stressed, hungry, bored, unfocused... that part of your brain is just doing its job! We call that, your lizard brain. Your lizard brain has three jobs it has become an expert at throughout the evolution of human experience.
It is a pro at avoiding pain (run away from the sabre tooth tiger!)
It is a champ at seeking out pleasure (how else would we keep populating the world? Or filling our bellies in anticipation of a long winter?)
It excels at finding the most efficient way to do those two things to conserve energy in case you need it to hunt food, or run away from the sabre tooth tiger that might show up after dark.
The lizard brain deserves our thanks and our respect for keeping us alive. But, the lizard brain hasn't yet accepted the news that things are a bit different for us now. Most of us sleep safely behind 4 walls and we don't need to run away from physical danger on a regular basis.
Most of us also have a club card to our local grocery and can keep essentials on hand. Most of us don't need to worry about hunting for dinner tonight. In fact, our lives are SO efficient now that we have machines that wash our clothes and our dishes, electricity for extended hours of productivity and warmth, and apps for swiping left or right for a partner if we aren't already partnered up. But, I promise you, our lizard brain just doesn't know this. So, it makes sense that throughout your day, your lizard brain is still trying to make sure you don't waste any of your energy on anything other than avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. It makes sense that your lizard brain experiences productivity as a waste of energy--and even painful. It doesn't see or know about the long term rewards, it just knows this is uncomfortable and my job is to keep you comfortable so you are ready to run for your life or procreate as the circumstances present themselves. My friend. Nothing is wrong with you. You're just listening to the loudest part of your brain. And that makes sense! The lizard brain is very compelling. Very convincing. And a genius at providing with activities that give us immediate gratification. Whenever we achieve something beyond those things, it is because we are making a conscious decision to be temporarily uncomfortable for the sake of future reward or to honor something we deeply value--even beyond or own comfort. When I talk about "hacking your brain" I mean learning to recognize your lizard brain's tactics and voice in your head. And to learn to soothe it enough, that it will take a nap (or at least curl up in the corner shaking its head at you) while your higher self--the one that has goals, intentions, values, and dreams--takes the driver's seat for a while. It takes practice. But, it is worth it!!! And pretty soon, you develop the kind of relationship with your lizard brain that means you feel warmth and gratitude for all he does for you, but you also listen to him about as seriously as your Aunt Thelma preaching her latest home-remedy for your baby's cradle cap. So stop asking, "what's wrong with me?" and start asking "was that my lizard brain doing a good job again? Well, okay then. I wonder what I can do to settle him down a little next time!" You've got this, my friend! With Hope and Love and a Sprinkling of Pixie Dust, Leslie McCaddon Mendoza CEO and Certified Life Coach
The Happiest Mom Coach
P.S. If you'd like to hop on a call with me and see how coaching can help you tame your lizard brain, just click the link below. I will give you some free coaching and then we can talk about if continuing to work with me is a good fit for you!