Who are you? A Whole-Brain And Holistic Approach to Understanding Yourself

Have you ever wondered what makes people ‘tick’ and why they behave as they do?

I’ve been curious about this myself for many years now; and it was the confusing or cruel and hurtful behaviours of others towards me that got me interested in psychology, child development, counselling and psychotherapy about 25 years ago.

We all turned up on ‘day one of life’ as pure and innocent beings –  already ‘hard-wired’ to learn and to love; as well as to have certain physical and emotional characteristics. It’s what happens after that which decides our future and the effects we’ll have upon others.

The family we were born into, and what they passed down to us, has shaped how we think and feel about ourselves and what we deserve; how high we will climb to reach our dreams (assuming we even have any); and how happy we will allow ourselves to become (before some of us then ruin it and slide back down the snake to a lower – and more ‘familiar’ position on the board-game of life).

If you experienced physical or emotional hardships, or your needs were overlooked and you were neglected (which is inevitable to some extent), these will have left a trace upon your psyche and affected how you live your life today. Your experience of ‘life’ will have determined how ‘tightly-wrapped’ you are, and how emotionally robust and courageous you are too.

You will have developed a unique ‘self’ – different from your siblings even if they also experienced similar circumstances to you. You will have made decisions – out of your awareness – that have shaped your life every day since.

You will have your own share of ANTS – or Automatic Negative Thoughts – fears, and expectations.

You will have a certain way of relating to, and taking care of, yourself based upon your beliefs and your ability to cope under stress (if you grew up in a stressful or chaotic household your brain will have adapted to be in a state of high arousal, leaving you prone to mood swings and even personality disorders).

Other indicators of the effects of your passage through childhood will be seen in the quality of your relationships and how closely you can emotionally and physically attach to people; how clear and realistic your personal boundaries are; how real you are or whether you live your life wearing masks and carrying out roles that are expected of you.

A ‘whole-brain and holistic’ approach to your well-being takes all of these factors into account. It focuses upon helping you to fill in the gaps, and living a more rewarding life. It balances your emotions as well as the ways in which you nourish and soothe yourself.

It considers both the hemispheres, or sides, of your brain, as well as the three developmental levels too. Your left-brain has a need for facts and detail; the structure of your life; understanding and putting newly learnt material into practice, and upon having clear and effective language.  Your right-brain naturally favours visualisation and imagery, intuition, seeing the bigger picture, your bodily posture, your movement and your senses.

There are also your higher values to include into the mix – which you may not be accessing if you are struggling with your day to day existence and trying to get your basic physical needs met. These higher values – which some would call spiritual values – include appreciating natural beauty, wisdom, gratitude, compassion, love and the personal feel-good rewards of doing good deeds for others (the ‘helpers high’)

 

So, what makes you tick?

It is the intricate workings of your mind superbly crafted by a higher intelligence, and tinkered with – or even warped by – your past experiences, and the meanings and decisions you then made for yourself about these.

What is your purpose here?

Perhaps it is to find this out, and to clean up the muck that has accumulated in your life which has been preventing you from ‘ticking’ better; and to make sure that you can run your life smoothly in the time you have left – so that your very presence improves the life of someone else too.

What better reward could there be for making all that effort to be born into this life in the first place!

(There is an eight week/16 hours group course called ‘Understanding Yourself’ available from ‘The Ripple Effect’ Process which will help you to better know and value yourself, and your potential)

 

By Maxine Harley (Msc Integrative Psychotherapy) www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk     www.maxineharley.com    www.qpp.uk.com