When it’s Time for a Change

lizard brain

If you keep telling yourself that you want something (better job, more money, new boyfriend, better relationship, best selling book, a nicer home, yada yada yada) and you don’t have it yet…you could blame it on your brain.

Well, actually, a little tiny part of your brain (really, the size of a lima bean!) affectionately referred to as the “lizard brain.”

The lizard brain is the most primal part of our brain, and it is very concerned that we get fed, have sex, and stay safe. And it is powerful. And it Does. Not. Like. Change. At all.

Famed family therapist Virginia Satir once said that “Most people think the will to survive is the strongest instinct in human beings, but it isn’t. The strongest instinct is to keep things familiar.”

That instinct to keep things familiar is primarily how lizard brain manages our survival. We may want to ask “Why on earth would we want to keep things familiar if familiar means we never have quite enough money, we are tolerating a crappy (maybe even abusive) relationship, or we are experiencing less than optimal health, or any other ‘familiar thing‘ that is basically keeping us miserable??

Why do we say we want something and then sabotage the fulfillment of it?

Because we are familiar with the status quo and we know we can survive it.

Our lizard brain knows that even though our current situation sucks, it hasn’t killed us. So we are willing to do it again, and again and again, instead of trying something new. Because that new thing? It’s not familiar, it might not be safe, and it might kill us.

Silly? Probably, but hey, it’s how we’re made.

So if you’re feeling it is time for a change, if you keep saying you want something and yet find yourself staying in that same familiar place, here are a few ideas to get that old lizard brain to quiet down a bit.

Drive home a different route, wear a different color of lipstick, make a new friend, eat some exotic food you’ve never tried, take the stairs…DO something different.  If you want to do something very, very gentle you could blow bubbles.

In the process you will be teaching that lizard brain that you CAN survive change. It will get easier, and you will get closer to creating what it is you really want.

Love & Magic

Cindie

 

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9 Responses to When it’s Time for a Change

  1. Pingback: When it’s Time for a Change | Patricia MacKinnon

  2. Cindie, so true! I can relate this to my writing blocks and all the resistance we have around sitting down and doing the work. The action of working requires that you change stuff . . . beliefs, habits, priorities, even big life decisions. It’s extremely challenging but so important to recognize that we’re hard-wired to resist the process of change. When we acknowledge this, we can be more compassionate with ourselves.

    • Cindie says:

      Hi Cynthia, So glad you popped in, and I appreciate your comments – so glad you mentioned compassion, it is a necessary ingredient for moving forward! xo 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    Cindie:

    I love it when I can blame something on my brain! : )

    So much of our behaviour can be better explained when looked at through this filter. Of course we will tend to play it safe when our lizard brain is in full gear. As Satir said, familiarity is a powerful motivator.

    Great article!

    Sarah

    • Cindie says:

      Hi Sarah, I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and I LOL at your “I love it when I can blame something on my brain!” 🙂 xo

  4. Hey Cindie! I love this “We may want to ask “Why on earth would we want to keep things familiar if familiar means we never have quite enough money, we are tolerating a crappy (maybe even abusive) relationship, or we are experiencing less than optimal health, or any other ‘familiar thing‘ that is basically keeping us miserable??” haha…
    We human all know, just don’t do enough…
    Thanks for introducing me the “lizard brain” concept, it’s good to have a name to refer to going forward.
    Simple yet great (and doable) tips on those baby steps!
    Thank you!
    Love & blessings,
    Yiye

  5. Marci says:

    Thank You Cindie. I will Strive
    to do Something different every day.

    • Cindie says:

      Marci, I think you’ll find that even the simpliest actions create such a big difference! Best wishes! Oh, and no striving!! ~ Let it be easy! 🙂 xo

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