Your brain is a meaning making machine. The greatest meaning making machine we know.
It works through patterns. Once learned, those patterns repeat, time and again. Once meaning is learned, it is adhered to relentlessly.
Most of this is out of consciousness. Some estimates suggest that the unconscious mind is as much as 95% of brain activity. Trigger … response, carried out automatically without what you might consider as ‘thinking’.
The challenge is that most of these patterns are shaped in childhood. Experiences early in our lives create emotions and child-like cause and effect reasoning; meaning making which creates our sense of self, our rules of the world, our beliefs about our place in the world and how to belong in it, all at a time when we are very unworldly. A necessary process for the very survival of our ancestors – the ability to learn quickly and create strategies, crucial.
This process continues today though, and patterns and strategies learned in childhood repeat, over and over, as we progress into adulthood. Often the patterns no longer have relevance in an adult world, or the meaning has changed, or maybe was simply misinterpreted originally by the seven year old?
Running on automatic with patterns, strategies and meaning which disable rather than empower, limit rather than enable, constrain rather than offer choice, is at the heart of our struggle to reach our potential. These are limiting beliefs.
So, unlearning patterns of thinking, patterns of feeling, patterns of doing could be the most important learning you will ever do.
The first step is to become conscious of the pattern. Then explore its origins – where did it start, what’s your earliest memory of believing that? Is that belief or strategy relevant now? Does it serve you? What are you distorting in that memory? What has been deleted? Where is today’s evidence and what gets generalised in your thinking?
Start now, be curious, what needs to be unlearned?