It’s that time of the year again here in North America. A time of gathering around our favorite foods, drinks, people, presents, ornaments, and games. But it’s also a brand new kind of that time of year. A time for figuring out how to celebrate differently and safely.
Yet, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, we aren’t all in agreement on how this should be done.
This post will not try to tell you how to celebrate safely. However, it will try to help you and your tribe be prepared to figure that out, even though it will mean changing your mind. I’m confident that we all have areas where we’ll need to change our minds in order to evolve into a new style of gathering that considers the safety of our physical and emotional health.
But how do we open ourselves up to a new point of view?
Generally changing one’s point of view is done by first admiring the person sharing the different viewpoint. So the first avenue for change comes when speaking to an admired person with some new ideas. For example, a person of a particular religion might be more open to new information from their minister or priest than from their annoying neighbor. This is why positions of authority come with extra pressure to be an example of learning and changing in the first place.
One of the most impactful leadership styles for change is to teach a love of change, love of learning, love of growth. That sets the groundwork in place. Leaders who teach suspicion and fear impede growth.
Additionally, change is done a piece of information at a time. The more comfortable you are with the information the more willing you are to engage in shifting your perspective on parts of the information. Thus, connecting on the sameness of beliefs before attempting to share required or requested growth areas is important. This is why all good teachers/trainers point out the positives first. (Another reason is to ensure you keep the good stuff while shifting problem areas. This is called shaping.)
Eventually, with enough additional understanding and new points to embrace, a paradigm shift happens and entire change is (mostly) embraced.
Of course, there are awkward and uncomfortable feelings that nag at us when we worry about being “wrong” so think differently.
For a person who embraces the concept of growth as a lifestyle, being “wrong” is just part of growth and easier to embrace. For those who have been trained to find safety and security in being right, it will be painful. So change the core belief by looking for examples of being wrong and feeling better for realizing it. Also, seek examples of the ways in which instincts were right all along to feel capable of handling the new understanding. Otherwise, the humiliation is overpowering and leads to rejection of the new idea.
For example, a man who marries a woman with materialistic neediness likely knew at the start and chose to ignore his instincts. Help him see that. Help him see that, in fact, his instincts are very attuned and if he trusts his instincts he can sidestep the issue.
An overall growth mindset can take time but you can practice the skills necessary immediately. Cultivating a growth mindset helps us know when to stand strong with a belief or idea and when to change our mind.
The big issue: positive change takes more time and effort than negative change. The brain is set up to shoot hormones whenever a person feels threatened. Meanwhile, it bathes the brain when a person feels open-minded and full of self-trust. Once an individual spends enough time in this state they discover that it is better to bathe than to explode. But in the beginning they need to withdraw from the addiction to shooting adrenaline and cortisol.
To do that there needs to be a real motivator. Ironically, sometimes this is achieved through a little bit of fear or shame. Like saying, “You’re being used and will lose everything if you keep going this way.” Then adding the steps for change. Alcoholics Anonymous does something like this for their people. Steps that fill time while reaching out for a state of calm are best. Meditation with a purpose. Nature walks with a purpose. Sleep with a dream intention. Cardio and weights. Healthy food and home cooking.
The answers are already known. It’s our resistance to letting go of an addiction to fear we struggle with.
For this reason, I suggest music a lot. A person can literally shape their mood by moving from angry music to uplifting fun music; one emotional sing/dance along moment at a time. It is easy to see and feel and control the pace of change with music, which helps to understand how to embrace that same process with food and activities, etc.
It also empowers the person to be in control of their rate of growth.
It’s awesome when a group of like-minded mind-changers can be found. But they can be a road block too, as you change differently than them. Hence, they are not so important in the long run.
It’s better to make the change and find your people than find your people and make the change.
Otherwise you end up becoming them rather than you.
Being able and adept at changing your mind is, ironically, one of the more important skills for remaining consistently an individual. Consistently you.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Become the change you wish to see.
Dr. Lynette Louise (aka The Brain Broad) is an International Brain Change and Behavior expert. She is a speaker, award-winning author and filmmaker, performer, recognized humanitarian, neurofeedback & autism expert, and creator/host/therapist for the international docu-series series FIX IT IN FIVE with LYNETTE LOUISE aka THE BRAIN BROAD, airing on The Autism Channel. Her one-woman show, Crazy to Sane, about mental health and abuse, invites laughter, learning, and toe-tapping fun globally FREE every year in April (Autism Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month). She is also the single mother of eight now grown children; Six were adopted and four were on the autism spectrum. Only one of her sons retains his label and remains dependent.
Contact Lynette Louise, D.Sc.,Ph.D. ABD, previously Doubly Board Certified in Neurofeedback, http://www.lynettelouise.com / www.brainbody.net / 713-213-7682 / firstname.lastname@example.org