According to Hebb’s rule, “neurons that fire together, wire together”. Our whole learning process is based around this; making associations between things, linking point A with point B via this connection or that. The neurons in our brains send signals out to one another when we build associations between subjects/objects. These synapses create bridges between the neurons which become larger and stronger with each reception. I think these connections in our thoughts are as unique to each individual as a fingerprint; our life paths dictating the connections being made. Each interaction has the opportunity to either guide us towards a new belief or to confirm an existing condition. It is in the confirmation of previous connections that creates the belief, as a belief is just a thought you keep thinking. The more confirmation we receive of a connection, the stronger the belief/condition becomes.
So what happens when you find yourself in your mid-thirties still juggling many of the same associations you stumbled into fifteen plus years ago? It’s one thing to comprehend where your connections are outdated. It’s entirely another to address those connections and figure out how to disconnect and redirect them.
This is where I find myself today. I’m at a point in my life where my subconscious thought proceedings are outdated and unrelated to all that has happened since their creation. I wonder how many of us are just moseying along through life on this deep, internal level of auto-pilot; relying on relatively prehistoric associations that were created when we were still just a bunch of kids just trying to grasp the many layers of information hurling at us while our hormones boiled up inside of us. These old conditions are now juxtaposed against all the truths I’ve learned in the meantime and the process of unlearning those old ways is proving a challenge.
One of my biggest hurdles in the matter is in tuning out of “evaluation station” that I’m most often stuck on. Evaluating constantly the people around me and calculating how the current proceedings might play out in relevance to varying conditions. I’m always trying to predict how others will react to my behavior (and sometimes my company’s behavior) and figuring out how to make sure that reaction is favorable. As if I had an real control over such things. I wish I weren’t so concerned with what people say when I’m not around. The things that really say more about the speaker than the subject, anyway. The things I know shouldn’t matter to me this much, especially not to the degree where my actions are dependent upon what I think someone might say or think.
I’ve been around a good deal of shit-talkers and nitpickers in my life and those who weren’t outright assholes tended to be reserved and easily offended, yet perhaps even more judgemental. I was around most of them during an age where those mindsets really shaped an undesirable notion of how people view each other and how I view myself. I developed judgements and reservations that I’d never had before, and I grew fearful of being evaluated, especially of being shamed. So I tuned myself into the aforementioned evaluation mode, trying to always be on top of my game, working some mythical code of approval that somehow masters every level of the room and those within it. Ironically, not even in an attempt to be seen, but rather, I suppose NOT to be seen.
…and here it makes sense why I so often feel unseen! 💡 My magic code has been at least partially successful.
I have asked myself a few times what it is about the perceived “fall from grace” that scares me so. Am I really so scared of someone’s small-minded, passive comments about me that I will choose to spend another day evaluating my own actions against them? Comments which, by the way, haven’t even happened to my knowledge in the first place?! Comments that mostly exist in my own thoughts, labeled with my own judgements, at that!
“Neurosis, in other words, consists of stupid behavior by a non-stupid person” (Ellis, 1958).
Pardon me, while I dance in my neurosis. 🙃
I feel that this has opened up some guidance in how I can begin tuning out of that evaluation. When I find myself running from judgement, I will remember the judgement is my own. There is no running from myself! I can only accept that which I cannot change. Whatever judgements do come from others are nothing I can foresee or prevent; nor should I care to. Their judgements are based more on their personal life experiences than they are on me.
Today I will remember that the watching eyes are my own. To accept my individualities (in all their many shades) is to ease the focus of those eyes, to lay off the tension. To be free of the judgement and the fear it feeds upon.
Lather, rinse, repeat. 😉