A quick recap of where we are on The Life Experience Chain: the RULES AND MESSAGES received as a child are all stored in the mind; these get developed into BELIEFS about yourself, your abilities, other people, and life. This belief system then directs the kind of THOUGHTS regarding those particular areas.
In the previous blog, I talked about the brain being a storage spot of information but without the ability to put a value on that information. (See March 2017). This month will look at how values are put on the information ~ PERCEPTION.
The job of the subconscious mind is not only to collect and store information but also to respond to the information received, acting out the picture you give it. Thus, your thoughts are your internal mental reaction (perception) to what is going on around you and how it relates to your rules/messages and beliefs.
Events happen in life on an ongoing basis. How those events are experienced will vary from person to person depending on how it is subconsciously processed with the mind and given meaning. How does this occur? The mind will refer to the information stored there and then attach it to the event. In other words, it sorts through the beliefs made from the rules and messages stored there and then attaches one of those beliefs to the event. Your highly functioning computer brain runs so smoothly and quickly, you’re not even aware of the process.
Below is an example of an event with some options of how you respond according to your perception. See how the perception came from the rule/message/belief and then formed the thinking about that event.
THE EVENT ~You are standing in the grocery store lineup when the back of your foot is rammed hard with a grocery cart. Your brain immediately responds to the event.
Rule/message: People are mean (to folk like us).”
Belief: “You have to watch your back.”
Perception: “it was done on purpose”
Thought: “Some idiot’s getting his jollies today”
Rule/message: “You can’t trust anyone”
Belief: “People just don’t care.”
Perception: “it was carelessness”
Thought: “Pay attention to what you’re doing, (fool!)”
Rule/message: “Anyone can make a mistake”
Belief: “Accidents happen.”
Perception: “it was an accident”
Thought: “Somebody will probably apologize now.”
Now let’s see what happens if the outcome is different from your perception.
THE EVENT ~You are standing in the grocery store lineup when the back of your foot is rammed hard with a grocery cart. You turn to say something based on perception 1 or 2. The person has a squirming baby in one arm and a small toddler pulling on the other arm. What is different? Do you still think the same? Why not? What changed? Did the event sudden not happen? No. Did the pain feel less? Your foot is probably still throbbing. Did your perception change? Quite likely. Your understanding of the event was suddenly different. You may still have the belief system of perception 1 and 2 but most likely they will be no longer be relevant for this situation.
Children can have misunderstandings or misperceptions in the things heard, seen, and experienced. Children make great recorders but lousy interpreters. That means that the computer mind records everything but for various reasons the meaning gets misunderstood and the misinterpretation gets filed in the brain’s computer bank as truth.
Communication can be complex. There are so many things that contribute to its complexity. What is said is often different from what is meant; likewise what is “heard” can be different from what was said or what was meant.
Example: A single woman with a child is considering the options of a marriage.
What was said/heard: “whoever marries me has to take Joey too.”
What was interpreted by the child: “Whoever marries my mom is obligated to take me”; “I won’t be loved, just accepted”
What was meant by the mother: “Joey is very important to me. He must be just as important to the person I marry.”
As an adult, it is important to make sure you “check things out” so misperceptions don’t occur or get corrected. Can you think of anything that you misinterpreted or misunderstood as child or even as an adult?
Remember, perceptions drive how we think about things. Have you been looking at “housecleaning” (January blog) some of your childhood rules and messages and the resulting beliefs about yourself, your abilities, other people, and life?
As a child, you were not responsible for knowing whether they were illogical and self-defeating thoughts. There was no choice about those thoughts formed at that time. You do have a choice as an adult about what thoughts you continue to have. You have the right to change them to logical and self-enhancing thoughts that validate and empower.
By changing your beliefs, you can change the patterns of thinking that you use.
illogical, self-defeating THOUGHTS logical, self-enhancing
irrational, damaging BELIEFS rational, healing
unhealthy, dishonouring ⇑ healthy, trustworthy
given to me as a CHILD RULES AND MESSAGES created by me as an ADULT
Judith S. Carscadden