Recently I sat down in front of my fireplace and read through a journal I’d kept 12 years ago. Holy shit was I cruel to myself. My self-commentary was blistering. Scathing. Overflowing with contempt and disgust…all at myself.
It was difficult to read. It was painful to re-experience my old me’s “mean brain” beating myself up for things like not crushing a sales call, not landing a new trick on my snowboard, not being pretty enough.
Furthermore, the experience in front of my fireplace was somewhat surreal because those types of thoughts no longer overwhelm me nor bubble up into my consciousness throughout my days.
This means I can only vaguely remember living a life in which I had a constant onslaught of cruel commentary running like a non-stop soundtrack in the background of my mind, 24/7.
I vaguely remember it was tortuous, and I’m deeply grateful it’s not my reality anymore — as I DO remember the continual attempts to argue against the belittling commentary were wildly exhausting.
AND, what made last night’s experience all the more fascinating is what I’ve learned in the past year about criticism.
Here’s the 10-second overview:
When we receive criticism or are attacked by others, our bodies’ threat-defense systems are activated. Translation: we experience distinct physiological responses when we’re attacked.
More specifically, when we’re attacked (yes, even when it’s “just” verbally), our bodies release cortisol + adrenaline as they prepare for flight/flight/freeze. This is where it gets interesting.
What Paul Gilbert (creator of Compassion-Focused Therapy) discovered a while back though, is that WHEN WE CRITICIZE OURSELVES, we trigger the exact same threat-defense system, the same rush of adrenaline and cortisol, the same physiological response in our body.
In other words, those cruel thoughts I couldn’t seem to stop no matter what I tried, were part of a constant attack against my mind AND my body.
No wonder I ended up battling 3 straight years of chronic pain no doctor could explain.
“Mean brain” is a real thing.
It’s so relentless, most people try to drown it out with alcohol, drugs, sex, food, physical activity, work, etc. Understandably so.
This is why I so deeply desire to show you how, instead of masking it, you can ACTUALLY quiet it down and oftentimes make it go away completely.
Last night in front of the fire I found myself marveling at how I FORGOT I used to beat myself up every day.
It’s my desire for you that “mean brain” will become a distant memory in your past, as well.
How I’ll make it happen I’ve officially begun mapping out my book/program to help people discover how to do this. It may be a while before it’s done, but it’s officially begun. First step forward. That’s exciting.
The working title?
THE MANUAL: Why You Are The Way You Are and How To Change What’s Not Working
I have work to do. It’s too important to not to share with the world.
We DON’T need to beat ourselves up, make ourselves sick, or create unnecessary pain.
So here’s to a future for you that gets to experience life free of cruel, relentless, unnecessary self-criticism.
When you're sick and tired of getting in your own way, and you know you're capable of SO much more, it's time to talk to us.