Let’s look back at DAY #240, on walking peaceably with yourself. What does that look like?

It looks like you walking next to yourself, not mentioning shortcomings, not even giving suggestions, just walking and looking on and loving yourself through whatever it is you’re walking through at the time. It looks like acceptance, rather than resistance. It looks like peace.

“Human beings have a hard time tolerating their own imperfections. I think the people that are the happiest and the most at peace are really able to be at peace with what it is to be human and find self-respect in that.”

It means we listen to what our lower brains are really telling us, kindly and without judgement. And then using our upper brains to determine what to do with what our lower brains are communicating to us. We will get better results if we are curious than if we are harsh or resistant toward our lower brains.

Think of a toddler. When a toddler is trying to communicate to us by throwing a temper tantrum, if we whip her off the floor and chastise the child harshly, she will respond to us negatively in return, and the results are likely not going to be what we’d originally hoped. But if we were to take the time to be curious about what she is really trying to communicate to us, we can act instead of react, we can consider how else to meet her needs, and we are more likely to get the result that we wanted.

Does that make sense?

Can we offer that same kindness to our own lower brains, to produce the ultimate result that we want in our lives?

Let’s look at an example, using the model:

  • CIRCUMSTANCE. John is viewing pornography.
  • LESS-EFFECTIVE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS LOWER-BRAIN CHOICE TO VIEW PORNOGRAPHY. I am the worst person. I should be better than this. I promised yourself you wouldn’t do this anymore. I promised your wife you wouldn’t do this anymore. I am worthless.
  • FEELINGS. Shame. Embarrassment. Frustration.

There is another way.

  • CIRCUMSTANCE. John is viewing pornography.
  • NON-JUDGMENTAL THOUGHT ABOUT THIS LOWER-BRAIN CHOICE TO VIEW PORNOGRAPHY. I understand that my lower-brain thinks I need this right now. I wonder why. I know that my lower brain’s purpose is to protect me and lead me to be efficient and lead me to procreate, and, without my pre-frontal cortex to intervene, maybe it feels like pornography can meet those needs. But is it really leading me to where I ultimately want to be? Is there a better way – can I offer my lower brain a better way?
  • FEELINGS. Curiosity. Gentleness. Love.

Can you see that, when I look at the message from my lower brain from a place of love, I am more likely to find a solution and create a new neural pathway, than if I shame myself and judge myself and beat on myself.

“It takes strength to tolerate being human and fallible. It takes courage to be able to do that.”

Shame say, “My humaness makes me fundamentally flawed.” But I love what Dr Finlayson-Fife says on this:

“It’s okay to be human and be in development.”

I am “in development”, my friends. And, guess what. That is exactly where I am supposed to be. Exactly. Nothing has gone wrong here. I am learning from experience.

I didn’t show up in the world the way I wanted to today. What happened? What thoughts and feelings lead me to act that way? What was my lower brain’s responsibility? What was my higher brain’s responsibility? How would I have liked to have done that differently? Can I practice mentally doing that differently? Would it serve me well to even create a new neural pathway? That’s really what repentance is, right? And that is what we have been talking about and studying and working on applying this past week.

I didn’t show up in the world the way I wanted to today. That’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong. But let me learn from this experience, and let others have a chance to learn mercy and gentleness.

“You don’t have to prove that you are okay, because you are okay, the way you are.”


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