Use your experiences for the future.

past present futureOne of the earliest principles to emerge when teaching what was to become The BrainStyles System® was how to “reframe” criticisms by focusing on natural brain-based strengths. This came to mean re-looking at the labels you use to name what you do and who you are with the brainstyles definitions of strengths.  Further work led to observations about the source of criticisms, along with the distinction between a brainstyle strength from a non-strength.

Taking these one at a time, let’s examine a typical self-criticism I’ve heard again and again from people in one of the brainstyle groups:  “I’m too emotional.”  The gift of the right-brained is to access the part of the brain that processes emotions first. Doing so allows experience, whole and visual, to influence decisions, interactions and families with a holistic emotional connection, a bonding, if you will.  Allowing emotions into the equation means an immediate sensitivity and awareness that the more left-brained do not realize until later. Read more after the jump.

As soon as you hear or become aware of a criticism like the one above, you’ll know there’s a comparison being made.  There are right and wrong judgments being made about the way to be you.

One of the mandates I was given by my behavioral science background was “strengths taken to an extreme are weaknesses.”  If this is so, then Einstein should have been taken out of physics classes and given courses in literature to be more “well-rounded.”  I disagree with the notion that tells us to rein in our strengths. I do so because the old conclusions were based on observance of outward behavior. The new paradigm looks behind the behavior to the hardware that creates it.  BrainStyles teaches you how.

Observing the emotive folks among us, I believe that the real meaning of “too emotional” is being reactive, easily swept away by feelings that overpower common sense or logic.  In fact, this is easily explained by brainstyle timing.  A brainstyle describes how fast access to one area of the brain automatically means a delay in getting to another, different gift—the logic of the left brain, a non-strength in this example. When logic is prized over intuition, the offering of emotional experience or reaction interferes with another’s timing. They criticize. The right-brainer personalizes. Mars and Venus are at war.

Learning about one’s right-brained gift and the timing it requires leads to acceptance. The internal struggle eases, the focus shifts from How could I do that? Why am I so dumb? to Ah, I really feel that. I need a minute to think.  Or I can share my reactions to help others understand the impact of this on people.  Acceptance of natural strengths brings authentic contribution to the group, the partnership, and the family.

When others criticize, you automatically know they are expecting you to act and think like they do, with their own brainstyle strength.  Not going to happen. Expectations, it’s been said, are premeditated resentments.  Try to act like he expects you to and loss of self respect starts you down the slippery slope of people-pleasing, co-dependence, resentment and loss of the relationship.

Expectations are the source of upsets and conflicts: Why can’t you be more like your brother? Why can’t you understand what I mean when I say it the first time?

As you learn to focus on your natural abilities, you become less apt to defend, become reactive, or apologize for not being good enough.  You will be more apt to offer what you can and cannot deliver in such a way that you develop respect.  You re-frame the criticism/comparison into an authentic statement of what you have to offer. The more accepting you are the more neutral you’ll sound.  You know, I can’t put things together as quickly and in order as you do, but I can give you a gut reaction that can tell us how to sell this to others. Or:  My first take on this is negative, but I need time to think it over before I give you a final answer.

I’d like to share a personal example.

As a young girl, my stepdad had me clean up after our dogs. I had to go in the back yard and clean up their poop before there were pooper scoopers.  I hated the job. I thought it was unfair and nasty and horrible.  Fast forward to my twenties and thirties. In the lingo of the time, I came to label that childhood assignment as a form of “abuse.”  Fast forward  to BrainStyles writing and teaching.  I am cleaning the litter box for my first kittycat.  I recall the time in the backyard of my youth and how put upon I felt.  I am touched by a  feeling of gratitude. I can clean up my cat’s messes, no matter how gross, and have no problem with them.  I saw the past trauma as a label I gave a job that today serves me well.*

Are you interested in taking another look at experiences in your life and reframe them? Visit our website to learn more about how you can get started with BrainStyles today.

*I do not intend to sugar coat some very real cruelty foisted on children by immature adults. I offer this option to “re-frame” old judgments and hurts with the wisdom and perspective of adulthood; to ask what the gift might be behind the behavior.