We are creatures of habit. The more we have thought, felt and acted a certain way, the more we are likely to again.
When we think of or visualize someone we know, we can think of how they “are”: how they tend to talk, think, or rub their nose.
That is because neurons that fire together wire together, creating a tendency to fire together again, thus forming a habit.
We also know that presented with anything new, a person automatically tries to make sense of it based on what they already “know”, with the left brain quickly coming up with explanations or “stories” to make things fit with prior experience, whether these are true or not.
The research that has been done around this phenomenon is fascinating: For a transient period of time after an electrical impulse has been transmitted along the axon of a neuron, the electrical charge along the axon is altered such that another electrical impulse is more likely to take that same route. In the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know”, pictures taken through an electron microscope, which has huge magnification, showed how the way that neurons were organized in relation to each other actually changed as a person changed their way of thinking.
Other research looked at a PET scan, which looks at brain activity and blood flow, prior to then just following a therapy session where a trauma was cleared. The PET scan was very different comparing the before and after scans.
This is because, fortunately, we have something called neuroplasticity. In other words, we and our brains are capable of change. Whereas, our brains are most plastic in infancy and become less plastic the older we get, we are still capable of significant change at an advanced age. I recently said good-bye to a lady in her eighties who reported to me that never in her life had she ever experienced less worry, less guilt, and more self-worth as she was enjoying, and that she was looking forward to having more enjoyment in the rest of her life than she ever had before!
Here is a helpful metaphor: If someone has a strong habit of judging himself and experiencing guilt, that habit can be thought of as an 8 lane highway. The first time he experiences understanding and compassion towards himself, trusting that he is a good person and is doing his best, that very unfamiliar feeling can be thought of someone having walked along a new way through the trees and bushes. As he keeps experiencing this new way of being, there gradually becomes a distinct path through the trees, which gradually becomes wider and wider, til eventually there is an 8 lane highway there, and where the old highway of guilt was there is now a narrow path through the trees. By inviting himself to experience self-compassion again and again, he is literally transforming himself, or “reprogramming the computer”, so that he gradually experiences guilt less and less readily, and when it does come up, it is easy to replace it quickly with compassion.
I have had many people tell me: “That’s just the way I am” or “I will always be that way”. Because a habit can be so strong, sometimes people cannot imagine being any other way, and mistake it for their identity. It is NOT their identity. It is just a very strong familiar habit. These people have been happy to discover that they were wrong, and it was possible for them to feel loveable etc.
This is why it is so important to invite yourself to experience positive feelings and truths in your BODY, where transformation happens, over and over. The negative harmful habits did not appear overnight, so unlearning them and replacing them with preferable ones is a process.
It only goes so far to say positive things without believing them. Two effective and powerful ways of INSTALLING truths in your body are outlined in:
-CREATING A POWERFUL INNER RESOURCE, and
-EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE
A list of important truths to install is found in:
-IMPORTANT TRUTHS TO INSTALL
All of these articles can be found on this blog.