That Inner Child Of Mine…And Yours!
So, the other day, I had a client book a first call with me. She then proceeded to disappear. I sent her a follow up email letting her know what to do next, which she didn’t respond to. I also sent her a reminder an hour before the session was supposed to start, with no response. I can’t even be mad at her for bailing; I know exactly what happened. Her lizard brain (we all have one!) (and I use this expression interchangeably with gremlins, inner child, the Judge and many more terms for our inner voice) took over and told her to stop trying to change her life, that things weren’t so bad, that living with her fear, stress, anxiety and low self esteem/self confidence were all totally normal and acceptable, and that if she just stopped fighting against her lizard brain, everything would be a-ok. Except, here’s the thing….silly little lizard brain LIED!!!
Our lizard brain is the part of us that tells us change is bad, that the status quo, no matter how terrible and awful it may be, is just fine, because we are still alive, aren’t we? It is the part that prevents us from walking out in front of moving cars, stepping off that cliff edge, and doing all manner of incredibly stupid and dangerous things. It’s also the part of our brain that, when we get stuck in the cycle of stress and anxiety, can really cause us some grief. It won’t allow us to shift our thinking towards a positive cycle, so we end up circling back around again and again and again, stuck and afraid and horrified at what our lives have become, and feeling powerless to change anything.
It’s so easy to become bogged down in the day to day struggle with our lizard brain. While we want to slow our minds and open our hearts to other ways of doing things, fear and inertia can be powerful influencers and can reduce our best intentions to ashes. So, how do we fight back, and win, against our lovely, self-protecting, self-loving lizard brain? How do we trick it into relaxing into the things we want to change? Because make no mistake, lizard brain is ALL about the status quo, and will fight us tooth and nail if we don’t approach change the right way.
There are several things we can do. They are all valid, and all work in their own special ways.
One is to be so excited about the change, lizard brain has no choice but to go along for the ride, and maybe even get a little excited too. This is what happens when, for example, we meet our dream partner, find our dream job, or buy that amazing new car/house/dress/bag. When those endorphins kick in, pretty little lizard brain goes right to sleep and lets you do whatever you want.
Another good option is to tell our lizard brain that we are doing it anyways, and ignore the panic and anxiety it causes, for the greater good. This one is a bit harder to achieve, but is still do-able. We do this, for example, when we have no choice and have to get the bloodwork done (I freaking hate needles), or deal with a crisis of some sort, or are out of toilet paper or food and are terrified of the grocery store, or the car. We screw up our courage, and force our way through. It feels awful while we are in the middle of it, but afterward, we get to bask in the glow of accomplishment, knowing we fought that damned lizard brain tooth and nail and we WON!
Yet another option is to reason with lizard brain. This one works way less well. We like to believe we can just talk ourselves into doing the things that terrify us, but deep down, we know the lizard brain will win this argument…it always has! Every once in a while, we get to sneak one through by doing this, so we keep trying even knowing it’s a losing battle.
One thing we rarely try, that does actually work a surprising number of times, is to sit quietly with lizard brain, and let it huff and puff until it gets tired, and then simply say “I have this. I know how to keep us safe. I won’t let anything bad happen to us. I love you, I love me, and I won’t risk our safety, but I need to do this, and I promise we will come through this with our head high and a smile on our face”. At this point, take lizard brain for ice cream, or colouring books, or a swing on a swing set, and let her be a child again. And any time lizard brain wants to run your life, you can just say to her again “I have this. I know how to keep us safe. I won’t let anything bad happen to us. I love you, I love me, and I won’t risk our safety, but I need to do this, and I promise we will come through this with our head high and a smile on our face”, and redirect her to something she loves (see: ice cream, colouring books, playground equipment, cookies).
Lizard brain is stubborn, and if we have let her run our life for a very long time, making this shift will not be a quick, easy process. With that being said, it is not only possible but completely probable that we can convince ole lizard brain that we are not only not going to kill us, but that we are responsible adults capable of running our lives, so she will back off and let you do what needs to be done. It will just take time and effort. But, if you are crippled by lizard brain, what do you have to lose by trying?
If you want more great content like this, discover the FIVE best in-the-moment strategies for managing stress and calming emotions when life overwhelms you.
These are the exact methods that my private clients use to reduce their stress and anxiety — so they can have less drama and more success and happiness in their daily lives (plus, a few more ideas I spill the beans on!)
Learn more here https://tranquilitysoulspa.com/keys/