Do you have a roommate that just seems really negative? Do you ever feel like, no matter how hard you try… that sometimes you end up being that negative person that you don’t want to be?
Well, I’ve got news for you. All of this is completely normal. And here is why:
You have a human brain. And your human brain’s basic job is to KEEP YOU ALIVE. It is constantly on high alert to any perceived danger.
Your Caveman (Human) Brain
Ever been on a hike, been scared by what you thought was a snake, only to find out it was a smooth stick stuck in the brush?
Ever been at home by yourself, late at night, heard some creepy noises, convinced yourself that someone was trying to get into your apartment, only to find that there was a blustery storm outside that was rattling the windows?
This is your Caveman Brain at work. It’s trying to protect you.
You might not know this, but we ALL have software downloaded onto our Caveman Brain that is entitled: “There’s something wrong with me. There is something wrong with my life. Everything has gone wrong.” Our brains are constantly scanning, scanning, scanning for what has gone wrong, or in other words, potential danger – both physical and emotional.
Obviously, we don’t live in the Caveman days anymore. Our brains have evolved. We now also have a higher brain that isn’t as reactive and can effectively reason. But, that Caveman Brain is still there. And so, though most of our everyday dangers now aren’t physical, our lower brains really can’t decipher the difference. To our Caveman brain, even emotional danger can feel like life or death.
As an example:
My daughter got invited to a birthday party this week. A birthday party… with friends, balloons, cake, ice cream, time away from home. Sounds like an amazing afternoon for an 8-year-old girl, right?
Well… enter: Caveman Brain.
I asked her: “Aren’t you so excited for the Birthday Party on Saturday??”
To which she replied: “I found out that we are ONLY playing games. We aren’t going swimming, or to a movie, or bowling, or anything. And so I’m not even excited to go. It’s probably gonna be boring.”
See how her brain was scanning, scanning, scanning for everything that was WRONG about the birthday party, instead of what was RIGHT?
And so, lucky for me, I knew that this type of response didn’t mean that my daughter is destined for a life of doom, gloom and negativity. I know that this response means that my daughter’s Caveman Brain is working…
EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD.
It was just trying to protect her from feeling bored.
But, listen… you don’t ever have to believe your Caveman Brain. In fact, most times it tends to overreact. It usually likes to tell us, not that something is going a little bit wrong, but that something is going TERRIBLY wrong.
Slipping Into Negativity?
So, if I find myself slipping into negativity… I offer myself 3 things:
- Understanding – “It makes sense that my brain thinks this is dangerous.”
- Gratitude – “Thanks for the warning, brain.”
- The opportunity to tap into my higher brain and think something different. – “But, nothing’s actually gone wrong here.”
Your roommate’s drama and negativity, kind of makes sense, right? And yours does, too.
Rest assured that your negativity, and hers doesn’t mean that anything’s actually gone wrong.
So, don’t slip into the trap of being negative about your occasional negativity.
Your brain is working exactly as it should.