This week in the Brain BS™ Blog and Podcast we are going to explore the concept of brain filters and how they impact the way we view the world. We will first discuss how we acquire them at an early age and why we don’t have much say in the process. Then we will examine some scenarios of how we may get filters early in life and how they can possibly contribute to suffering later in life. Lastly, I will share some of the brain filters that I discovered through the power of coaching and how I let them go to get into alignment with my higher self.
Okay, so first off, you might be wondering what a brain filter is. A brain filter goes by various names, but I usually call it Brain BS.™ Basically it is how we are conditioned to respond to the world around us when we are growing up. Pretty much every experience we have prior to the age of 7 contributes to how we see the world and view those around us. For example, say I am #9 out of 10 children (and I am!) and my mom has my younger brother less than a year after giving birth to me. She of course loved me, but most likely handed me off to one of the older siblings because she had her hands full with a newborn. Even though the reason she did not pick me up was not because she did not love me, that could be the message I received with my untended little human brain. I use that as one example, but we acquire multiple filters from the people around us over the years that can go unchallenged indefinitely, sometimes forever.
So given that we accumulate these filters from birth to 7 years of age, it stands to reason that our parents are largely responsible for how we initially view the world. Our parents’ parents were largely responsible for how they viewed the world. And so on and so on. Filters are passed from generation to generation and the only way to put a stop to a filter is through cultivating self-awareness. Once we become more self-aware, we can start to decondition and choose brain filters that work for us and not against us.
Alright, let’s talk about some filters that may be shared by many of us and how they may play out during our lives. Let’s say you were little and learning how to ride a bike. You progressed from the tricycle to a two wheeled bike and were ready to get rid of the training wheels. You were outside with your mom, and you rode for the first time on your own and you were really excited. Your mom on the other hand was busy talking with your neighbor and did not even pay attention to you. That possibly led to you think that you were not seen or acknowledged. It could have perhaps led to you believing that you were not good enough to warrant her attention and that maybe you had done something wrong. Even if none of those thoughts were true, you believed them, so it changed the way you viewed the world. The truth could have been that your neighbor had just told your mom disturbing or upsetting news and she was distracted by that. It could have been that the way she reacted to you had nothing to do with you but that did not matter to your brain.
Now let’s flash forward a couple decades and you are now 27 and starting a new job. You are nervous and worried that you won’t get the job and looking for support from your mom to reassure you and make you feel better. You go to her house, and she is busy working on tax forms that are due the following weekend and there are papers everywhere on the table. Because of that filter from twenty years ago, you don’t note how stressed she is and preoccupied with taxes and a deadline, you just feel unseen or like you have not been fully acknowledged. When you try to talk to her to get her attention, she snaps at you, which makes you think that you must have done something wrong, or you are just not good enough in some way. Your brain filters are again reading a situation incorrectly, but your brain not only thinks it is right, it believes what it is thinking is factual. In addition, when your brain is focused on a particular filter, it only sees evidence to support your “factual” thoughts. Even if mom tried to respond in a positive and supportive way, your brain would not see it through your Brain BS. See how this works? These filters are super important to learn about!
Let’s take a look at another scenario now. Say you were naturally an exuberant and enthusiastic child and tended to have a lot of energy, but your father was more reserved and introverted. As a result of being a different personality type than you, he tried to make you act more like him and discouraged you from being yourself. When you tried to engage with other people, he would tell you to stop being a nuisance and to leave people alone. When you were really energized by enthusiasm and a little hyper-verbal, he would tell you to tone it down and be quiet. Even though the way your dad was responding to you had nothing to do with you, you thought it did. The message you may have received was that you were a nuisance when you were being yourself and that you were just “too much” in general.
Let’s flash forward again but this time let’s go further out to four or five decades to explore the long-term impacts of brain filters. You are starting an online business and marketing to get clients. You are making posts on social media and creating lots of content, but you are worried that people are going to think you are too much. Every time you come across a comment that can be construed as negative by your brain, you do just that and it reinforces the belief that it is not okay to be authentic. You get so caught up in your head that you overlook all the people who prefer your authentic self, because you are so focused on the ones you believe think you are too much. Never mind the fact that your dad was only trying to change you to make himself more comfortable, you will go through life believing the brain filter he created for you. Any time you come across any challenges or resistance, it triggers the same Brain BS™ that perpetuates the belief that what other people think of you is more important than what you think of yourself. Pleasing them is more important than being authentic until it is not.
We are going to explore one more scenario so you can better understand the significant impact that lack of awareness of your current brain filters (Brain BS™) has on the reality you are experiencing in your day-to-day life. This time we will make it a little girl who every time she walked into the room dressed for an occasion when she was little; her dad would tell her she looked pretty. She noticed that her dad thought appearances were very important and noted that he appeared to pay a great deal of attention to how much people weighed. Whenever they were out and they came across somebody who was overweight, she noted that her dad was disapproving and would always make a comment about it. At other times she noticed that he made fun of people’s outfits and made jokes if they were not attractive. As a result of her father’s behavior and preoccupation with appearances, she started to believe that the way she looked was super important and looked for external validation wherever she could. She also did not realize at that time that whenever you tear somebody else down, it is because of your own fears and insecurities.
Flash forward to her 40s and that girl is now a woman, and her body is changing. She has gained about ten pounds, her skin is starting to sag and she is noticing cellulite. She is married to a man that does not typically comment on her appearance and her father is long gone. Every time she looks in the mirror, she feels disgust and self-loathing because she no longer feels attractive, and she wishes she was invisible. Because she was raised to believe that looks and keeping your weight down are so important, she now feels inadequate and unworthy as she ages. She does not realize that the way she feels about herself is optional and that she can change it by changing her brain filters and getting rid of the Brain BS™ that is not serving her. This is why it is so necessary to get a coach to help you identify your own Brain BS and figure out how to manage it.
Beginning a few years ago, I started to uncover a few significant filters in my own Brain BS™. The first most prevalent filter was that I was always believing I had done something wrong whenever anybody else was unhappy or not behaving the way I wanted them to behave. It didn’t matter if I racked my brain and could not come up with anything that I might have gone, I still thought I must have messed up. Another one was that I was not doing enough or just enough in general. No matter how many degrees I got or how many cute clothes I acquired, nothing felt like it was enough. Even if I got A’s at school, I thought it should be easier or take me less time to do that. Discovering the most recent filter of believing that I had been wronged in some way, changed my life in a profound way. I really believed that people had not treated me fairly throughout my life and was not even aware that it was a pattern and BS. I also did not realize that it impacted my daily interactions with my husband, and I was perceiving his behavior in a way that was not working for me and kept me in victimhood. I did not realize I was totally listening to my ego and being led through life by it.
So what is the solution you ask? The first step is to recognize Brain BS™ when you see it and become more self-aware when it shows up. The next step is to learn how to do thought work, so you understand how you are creating the current results you have in your life by the way you are thinking. The next step and this can happen concurrently with step two, is to process your feeling and release them so you can set yourself up for reprogramming your subconscious. The final step is to choose your thoughts on purpose and stay in alignment so you can manifest the results you want.
In conclusion, we inherit brain filters from previous generations that skew our perspective in life and not usually in a good way. We forget to separate fact from fiction in our minds and believe our Brain BS™. If we take the time to become more self-aware, we can uncover these filters and change the way we interact with our environment and those around us. Learning how to do thought work and releasing feelings and processing them is essential if we want to replace our current filter with clean ones. Learning how to manage our minds and choose our thoughts on purpose is how we get back into alignment and manifest whatever it is we want in life. Join me in The Brain BS™ Podcast to discuss this further.