“If you want to clean a house, you have to see the dirt.”Louise Hay
Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to see the dirt in other people’s houses (or establishments) than it is your own?
In fact, when I’m super busy –like lately– I don’t even look around me much to notice the clutter, the dirt, and the dog hair. Well, I sorta do. But I can ignore it for awhile. Until I’m expecting company. Then I ask myself how in the world the house got INTO this shape to begin with and begin the mega cleaning process.
Our critical inner voice is a little like this … only we aren’t usually expecting company inside our heads. So it’s a little more like if what happened inside our head was the junk drawer … or that one closet that nobody EVER looks into. Our negative self talk is allowed to build up and build up and build up.
Around Valentine’s Day, I shared the story of my 4th grade crush, and its sad Valentine’s Day ending. Well, partially sad. Sherry, my best friend at the time, was amazing.
But have you ever heard of the negativity bias?
Essentially, it is a phenomenon whereby we humans are wired to not only NOTICE negative stimuli more frequently, but also to fixate on it. Fun, right?
What that means is we tend to:
- Remember traumatic experiences more than good ones
- Recall insults significantly more than praise
- Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones (and let them run through our brains over and over and over again)
- Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones
I have thousands of examples of how Sherry was a good friend to me. But that boy was only in our school for a year or two. Why do I even remember him?
What negativity bias ALSO means is that these seemingly uneventful events –like not getting a valentine’s day card from your boy crush– get stored away in our brains. But not just as “some little thing that happened in the 4th grade.” Instead, we make MEANING out of these events …. And the meaning we make of something as a nine year old is NOT the same meaning we might make as an adult. At least logically.
The meanings we make are going to be different depending on our own life experiences. But some possible meanings a nine year old could make of that event are:
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not lovable
- I don’t matter
- I’m not wanted
- I’m worthless
- I’m not important
- And more … you get the idea.
Now I’m just using this experience as an example. To be honest, when I penned the piece, I wrote details into the story that I don’t actually remember. I DO remember feeling crappy though. And I’ve NEVER liked valentine’s day. More on that in a bit.
We ALL have stories like my 4th grade valentine’s day in our lives. Some of them seem like they could be trivial … as grown ups, we logically know that it’s not the end of the world to not get that valentine, or to be chosen last for the spelling bee or the sports team, or whatever. But as kids, we assign them meaning … AND THEN THAT MEANING INFLUENCES EVERY OTHER EVENT IN OUR LIVES.
What happens next is that the negativity bias can lead to the confirmation bias. This is “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or strengthens one’s prior personal beliefs or hypotheses.*” (*Wikipedia)
So let’s take this same example again. From that day forward, some small part of me expected to be hurt on valentine’s day again. So what did I do the following year? I bet I didn’t risk giving a boy a super special valentine again. And even if I did, I probably put some defense mechanisms on so that I wouldn’t be AS hurt or disappointed. Do you see how this works?
One question I often get asked when I’m presenting at our local college is: “why do I have these random weird phobias … like public speaking for example.” My answer: it’s probably not random and weird at all. If you trace it back, you can probably find the source from your childhood. (And don’t even get me started about the fears we inherit!)
Over time, the meanings we made of something become beliefs. And then we start living our lives as if these beliefs were true. And then we get them confirmed, because we show up in a certain way, and etc. AND, more and more research shows that your BODY holds onto this stuff, not just your mind (which is why it’s so hard to get rid of these things.)
No wonder we need to go in and detox our self-judgments every once in awhile!!
Are you in?
This Four-Step Self-Judgment Detox challenge will:
- Help you identify the most common messages you receive from your critical voice
- Teach you four + practices to honor and release old wounds from your emotions, mind and body
- Provide guided meditations and creative exercises to heal old stories
- Guide you in a practice of surrender and self forgiveness
- Teach the six principles of self-compassion
- Reconnect you with your Spirit Self (or what I call your Wild and Wise Heart)
- Bi-weekly emails for four weeks, (approximate value, $50 / week)
- Made for you matrixes and journal prompts to help you track your journey and ask yourself deep reflective questions; (value, $97)
- Inspiration, Knowledge and Motivational check-ins; (value, $900)
- Optional Bonus: Individual answers and encouragement from me via email or text; value $75 / week)
- Deep life transformation and tools you can use forever, priceless
All this can be yours for $27, for a limited time.
Or visit my site at The Dream Hatchery.