Episode 24 – Brain Basics

Unlike our phones and laptops, our brains aren’t set up to automatically scan for updates, so they keep running on factory settings that haven’t been customized to match our present day reality.

Listen in this week to see where your “brain right out of the box” thinking might be getting in your way and learn some strategies to help yourself into defaults that help rather than hurt your marriage.  

Mentioned in this Episode

  • Mark you calendar for “Lucky in Love”
    • a virtual coach-a-thon coming to you March 13-17, 2023
  • Save the Date for Defying Gravity Revolution: The Gathering
    • an in-person experience hosted in Utah April 28-29, 2023

Bonus Resources

    • Check out the Defying Gravity Revolution – a Candice-led community of Bees committed to stop wondering if they married the wrong guy so they can enJOY the marriage they imagined when they said “I do.”
    • Grab your free e-copy of “Wife on Purpose” and the companion workbook HERE
    • If you’re a coach who wants to up the trauma-informed factor in your sessions and your business, join the Trauma-Informed coaching interest list HERE.
    • Follow Candice on Instagram and Facebook

Episode Transcript

‘s Up, Bees?!

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to change your mind – even when changing your mind would probably make your life a whole lot easier?

Like if you could change your mind about how much you dread your early morning workout?

Or if you could decide that decluttering is actually fun?

If you could stop yourself from thinking it’s your job to fix your husband’s bad mood?

Or even if you could change your mind to let his expressions of love land instead of doubting his sincerity?

It really does seem like all those changes would make your life better. More fun. More free.

And still, I wouldn’t be surprised if your brain is like:

NOPE. No. Way.

We hate waking up early and we always will.

Decluttering sucks and it’s a waste of time anyway because the stuff just keeps coming.

Of course you have to fix your husband’s feelings. Everyone’s weekend will suffer if you

I know he said he loves you, but he probably wants something or is just trying to be nice.

None of those stories are terribly helpful in getting you the life and relationship you really want.

None of them give you much wiggle room for change or deeper connection.

So why in the world would your brain want to keep feeding you those lines?

The simple reason is: brains love to be efficient.

They like to do things the way they’ve always done them because practiced repetition is an energy saver.

Your brain wants to conserve your energy – just in case you are randomly attacked by a passing bear and you need to fight.

Just in case the neighboring volcano explodes and you need to flee.

Now – I purposely used examples that seem highly unlikely and maybe even a little silly in modern day AND I want to emphasize that dangers like bears and volcanoes are EXACTLY the type of dangers your brain is preparing you to defend against.

Because in ancient times, humans REALLY did have to fight off bears and flee from volcanoes and our primitive brain function has not yet been updated to understand that those sorts of dangers aren’t as prevalent now as they once were.

Unlike our phones and laptops, our brains aren’t set up to automatically scan for updates, so they keep running on factory settings that haven’t been customized to match our present day reality.

The present day reality is – you probably aren’t in actual danger as much as your brain thinks you are.

Your actual life is probably very rarely, if ever, on the line.

Still, unless you are making a concentrated effort to pay attention to what you are thinking and purposefully decide if those stories serve you, you’re running your brain right out of the box.

No personalization. No custom settings.

Don’t worry if that sounds true for you – it’s true for most humans.

Most people are walking around operating from a brain on factory settings – which make us take action on three default things:

1. Seeking pleasure – because that feels rewarding
2. Avoiding pain – because pain could mean death
3. Saving energy – because, again, you might need that energy to fight off a predator or flee the scene if it seems unlikely that you’ll win the fight.

It takes A LOT of energy to notice and question your practiced thinking.

It’s often painful to consider that the stories you’ve been living your life by might not actually be true.

So the brain resists doing either of those things.

It’d much rather keep thinking the things it’s always thought – even if those practiced thoughts don’t end up in the life you really want to be living.

Your brain is less concerned with you achieving your goals and more concerned with you staying safe and alive.

Much like your grandmother’s good china – which only gets pulled out on special occasions – your brain would LOVE IT if you kept yourself safely stowed in a curio cabinet most of the time.

Cuz that would mean you were alive – even if you it means you aren’t really living.

Now – don’t get me wrong. Sometimes automatic thinking is a really helpful thing.

Like when you don’t have to think about how to drive home, how to brush your teeth or how to whip up a familiar recipe.

Automatic thinking isn’t always a problem.

And sometimes it is.

Like when you’re certain that your husband is selfish and unreliable and all you can see is examples of how that’s true.

Or if you’re convinced that there’s no way you could ever communicate effectively about money – and then you stop trying.

When all you can see is something you DON’T want and all that you’re doing is something you’d rather not keep… that’s when you’ve inadvertently automated a continuous gut punch.

Which probably isn’t what you were going for.

When you identify a story that’s hurting you or your marriage, that’s the time to have a little heart to heart with yourself.

Tell yourself that what you’re thinking MIGHT be true, but it also might not be and remind your brain that you are actually WILLING to spend the energy to dig up your automatic thinking and examine it on purpose so that you can possibly run a more useful automatic program instead.

Expect your brain to protest.

Plan to tell it you that understand it’s concern and that you’re going to dig around anyway.

Then plan for digging up old automation to be challenging because

It takes energy
It’s kinda painful
It’s not so fun

Your brain has experienced you staying alive while running the old automation and your brain isn’t convinced that the new programming will also keep you alive.

So it puts up a fight. Makes a case for the old automation. Which will probably sound like:

Why are we doing all the work while he’s doing nothing?
This isn’t going to make any difference anyway.
We’ve tried that before.
I just have so much evidence.
I’m tired.

Your brain tosses out all those arguments because it wants you to reserve energy, not get used up.

That’s it’s job.

But which life do you want?

The life of a pristine china platter? Or the life of an everyday use plate that gets to see ALL of the flavors life has to offer?

Do you wanna be a rigid, display doll in a glass case or a plush, squishy doll who gets dragged through the mud, tossed in the washer and snuggled at night?

Either choice is valid.

And the choice is yours to make. Again and again.

I usually wanna be a plush, squishy doll and a messy everyday use plate – even with the dings and the dirt that come with those experiences.

Here’s what that’s looked like for me lately.

I know I have an automatic program running in my brain that sounds like this:

“I can’t count on him.”

I’ve spent a lot of time believing that he’ll forget or say no or won’t be around for me to even ask if I need something.

Believing all that led me to just stop asking him for anything.

Which only made it seem EVEN MORE TRUE that I can’t count on him. Cuz I wasn’t getting any of the help I wanted.

I wasn’t asking.

He wasn’t offering.

I was fuming and disappointed.

He was oblivious.

My brain believed I couldn’t count on him. His brain believed (I’m guessing) that things were going fine.

I realized toward the end of last year, that it might not be fair for me to silently resent him without testing the theory I’d come to believe was TRUE.

Cuz what if it wasn’t?

That’d be fun.

So I challenged myself to consciously ask him for something at least once a week all year this year and then study his response.

My brain came along with my plan because I framed it as an experiment. An exploration.

I didn’t shame myself for believing I couldn’t count on him.

I didn’t pretend that hadn’t been true at times.

I also wasn’t willing to keep pretending it was ALWAYS true – at least not anymore.

And you know what I’ve noticed a little over five weeks into the process?

He usually does what I ask him to do.

Looks like I can count on him after all.

But not only that – I’ve started to notice how he does other things to help me.

Things I didn’t ask for and hadn’t been noticing because I was so focused on the idea that I couldn’t count on him at all.

Does he still miss some things I ask him to do? Yes.

And it’s also true that he follows through most of the time – especially if I decide to be on his team and remind him. Especially if I decide to appreciate his efforts out loud once everything’s worked out.

I know you might be thinking it’s exhausting to remind him and praise him.

He’s not a child for goodness sake – at least, that’s what I used to think.

But you know what?

It’s actually NOT exhausting.

Because I decided it could be fun to figure out how to be an excellent teammate.

I decided that everyone is a little kid inside and everyone could stand to receive a little more praise. A bit more gratitude.

That belief makes it fun to give those things.

And I prefer the experience that comes with believing I can count on my husband.

Everyone wins.

I want it to be true that I can count on him – so I help it be true whenever I can.

And I consciously look for examples of how it’s true already.

If you’d like a research partner as you crack open your long-held beliefs – mark your calendar for two upcoming events:

1. Lucky in Love – a virtual coach-a-thon coming to you March 13-17
2. Defying Gravity Revolution: The Gathering – an LIVE experience coming to you in person in Utah April 28-29

I’m looking forward to meeting you, either way.

Choose courage, Bee and keep on flying!

Are you ready to have the marriage you imagined when you said “I do”?

Click below to get the FREE course: How to have the marriage you imagined when you said “I do”. You’re worth it and you’re welcome.

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I’m Candice.

I believe that every wife ought to feel cherished and valued. Appreciated and adored. I know we can make that happen. Even if it seems impossible to you. I’m a Master Certified Life Coach and I spend my days coaching women who are afraid in their marriages. You and I can work together to find a way for you to trust in your own decisions instead of constantly reacting to his. Now’s your time, Bee. How much longer are you willing to wonder and wait?