Untie the knots of change
Unveil the emotions and words that sustain the inertia in your life.
After a storm or a rainy morning, we often see a rainbow in the landscape that inspires mystery and amazement. From an early age, we draw these stripes whose colors associate with a diversity of meanings.
The significant thing about this image is that the rainbow has no colors. An outstanding lecture by Dutch astrophysicist Walter Lewin can give you more details about what you think you see, hardly anything.
We draw boundaries to represent a continuum of light that has no borders or stripes of any kind. The boundaries of the colors are an illusion of the brain. In this sense, if the limits of the rainbow are not real, how many other everyday limits do we assume? How many stripes do we accept because we believe they are natural boundaries?
Limit to survive
The brain needs to create boundaries to anticipate its biological responses to events. Despite our ego’s aspirations, the purpose of the brain is only to survive. This is a common rule for all living beings.
However, there is something that particularly distinguishes our species. The survival mandate for all other animals has a genetic script. For us, survival is a definition. What are our survival conditions? The answer is a landscape deployed through language.
Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett states that “your brain isn’t built for thinking; it’s made to predict your reality, and you have more power over that perception than you might think.” We create fringes and boundaries in everyday life to make the path to survival easier. The brain acts as a manager that sets predictions, anticipating what might happen to prepare the body’s needs.
That is the source of the limits. We decide based on what we believe; we decide based on predictions arising from previous experiences. The brain models the future from the past; it uses what we have experienced to create the future and prepare us for the present.
The past creates the future
Our boundaries and edges are held in an emotional framework deployed in words. Inertia is a state in which the past takes over our decisions. Inertia is the validation of limits; it is the submission to the emotional boundaries that tie the future to the past.
Inertia does not mean the absence of movements, but it is the repetition compulsion. It does not imply a lack of new things, but it is the impossibility of renewal.
The brain will always look for a horizon to reorganize its resources. Inertia is a consequence of the absence of renewal of the horizon. It is not the absence of the horizon; it is the absence of transforming novelties.
Faced with the oppression of the horizon, the brain begins to spin emotionally in its own immobility. The impact of this imbalance is so disproportionate that it leaves our bodies very vulnerable. We do not suffer because of the past, we suffer because of the absence of a future.
Unleash the past to transform your horizon
To transform the inertia of the present, we must untie the knots of the horizon. We must not look for limits in the past. Science has provided evidence of the importance of an inspiring horizon (framed in a purpose) and the quality of emotional recovery .
The personal horizon is tied to emotions and words. In this sense, we must create new perspectives that take us out of immobility or compulsive repetition.
To transform your present, you can explore subtle elements where the horizon is tied and develop alternatives to give new perspectives to the brain.
Disengage recurring emotions
One dimension of exploration is the emotions that are in the background of our scenes. Recurring emotions can be exacerbated reactions, underlying feelings, bodily sensations. They cover like a blank the habitual states of everyday scenes.
Disarm packaged feelings to place emotions in the right scenes. Emotional packages are a set of unbridled feelings that hijack the experiences. Ask yourself: Who or what generated this emotion? Do not extend an emotional blanket to inappropriate relationships or scenes. When emotions become autonomous, they oppress the horizon.
Create alternative responses of emotional expression. Think like a painter’s palette; so, expand the colors. Broad the range of your emotional responses. Ask yourself: What other forms of expression can I deploy in this situation? Sometimes we deal with emotional extremes; we paint our scenes with just two colors.
Return the emotions to the body. Focus on the heartbeat, breathing, areas of pain or contracture. Leave the physical sensation in the body and release the body from arguments. Move to renew chemistry.
All these aspects do not try to hide, attenuate or disguise the emotion. On the contrary, they are ways of recognizing emotions without being trapped by their reactions or extending their effects to other relationships or experiences. Otherwise, we create packages that we move from scene to scene, from relationship to relationship.
Untie frequent words
Another dimension of exploration is the words we use. We are the scriptwriters of the circumstances we face. “The power of words over your biology can span great distances.” Our carelessness in the use of language, our lack of awareness give power to words to limit our horizon.
You can recognize the language knots in unnecessary adverbs, harmful adjectives, ambiguous nouns, oversized verbs, and generalizations. They are habitual marks of our scenes.
Use more words to avoid getting trapped in inappropriate definitions. We become indifferent to the social impositions of some terms and the limited uses of language in social media. This restricts our inner landscape to poor descriptions and shallow definitions.
Create alternatives to gloomy words. Sometimes we say, “this is hell.” And that word hell is so general that it swamps the accurate expression. Ask yourself: What is the word that this situation really needs (it is not the same: sadness, listlessness, fear, anguish, worry, despair).
Relativize the power of discouraging statements. Many times we say, “there are no alternatives.” And this sentence is so hopeless that we assume that there are no alternatives. Ask yourself: How can I open this sentence? (there are no visible, expected, motivating, creative alternatives). Assume that you are the protagonism of the phrase: (I don’t see, I don’t believe, I don’t dare, I can’t stand the alternatives).
Try other adjectives. Many times we judge, “I am…” you are…” “this is…”. The labels we place there can be so damaging that there is no way to cope with that label. We take on that label, affect relationships, or lose possibilities. Ask yourself: Is there another way to express this qualification? Very “heavy” tags may have more appropriate and enabling alternatives.
Don’t look for the horizon in the past
You cannot get out of inertia by looking into the past. You can explain the past, accept it, heal it, forgive facts and people. That gives you a base of support for the next steps. But to transform the horizon, you have to venture to the creation.
You need to change the horizon to bring the new in your present. Otherwise, resignation takes over your future.
Unleashing the subtleties is not an exercise in changing words or a magical renovation that suddenly renews body chemistry. It is an art that involves three words.
Integrity to incorporate the new. Discover the subtle knots is one thing. Another thing is what you do with what you find. Integrity allows you to accept these limitations and assume your responsibility to take the following steps without victimization.
Perseverance to sustain the changes. Because everything tends to return to the previous state. Your whole environment is built around old words and emotions. Perseverance allows you to support what you are achieving without giving up.
Commitment to taking care of the transformation. The decision to change leads you to negotiate with a reality that will pull from the previous knots. Change does not mean replacing what does not work or what is uncomfortable. Change implies renewal, the transformation of living conditions, and the hidden and subtle framework that sustains our life project.
Whatever your present is, the future is not closed. We must go out into the game so that the new is possible in our lives.
Psychologist, Ph.D. in Communication and Master in Neuroscience. Author and postgraduate professor. Emotion researcher www.marcelomanucci.com