Don’t Listen to Your Brain, It’s Stupid

“What’s wrong honey?”

“A lot of things, mostly that I am ugly and I can never do anything right.”

“That is not true you are beautiful and you have done so many great things.”

“But that’s not what my brain says.”

“Well, don’t listen to your brain. Your brain is stupid.”

The best piece of advice I have ever received and continue to receive regularly, in person, comes from my girlfriend.

She reminds me that my brain is stupid.

It may sound a bit harsh; my girlfriend is the kind of person who says things bluntly. She can sound mean or angry when her intention is only to be honest. She wants me to see myself from her perspective, but she knows that is impossible. The best she can do is remind me that there is more than one perspective and mine may (read: probably is) wrong.

So, she reminds me that sometimes my brain doesn’t know what the hell it is talking about, nd I should not believe everything it tells me. She reminds me that brains are not perfect organs. They do not experience the world objectively, nor do the process and recall information without clouding it first with emotion and previous experience. Brains are made up of a whole lot of things other people (and their imperfect brains) put there.

She does this whenever I get down on myself and to me, it feels so much more real or true than just telling me I’m wrong. When you think you look bad or when you think you have done bad, having someone say you are wrong doesn’t help. Hearing that only frustrates you and deepens your feeling of loneliness. She isn’t invalidating what I am feeling, she is only pointing out that I don’t have to believe what I am feeling. Plus, the way she says it is kinda funny which brightens my mood a little.

I still get down on myself from time to time but I remember what she says and the moment passes quickly.

It’s a comfort knowing that my bad feelings about myself aren’t unreal or unjustified, they are just wrong. It helps shift my focus from believing my bouts of low self-esteem are fact-based into realizing that my feelings are the sum total of the genetics I inherited, the childhood I had, and what society says about people who look and live like me.

It isn’t true that I am ugly, or dumb, or incapable of accomplishing my goals. What is true is that my brain is imperfect, it functions with only the tools it has been given over my lifetime, and sometimes it is even stupid.

Sometimes I just shouldn’t listen to it.

***

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Written in response to The Daily Post’s Discover Challenge: A Piece of Advice

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Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

12 thoughts on “Don’t Listen to Your Brain, It’s Stupid”

  1. Whenever I start berating or otherwise abusing myself, I remember this:

    If I treated someone else the way I treat myself, only then would I be the monster I accuse myself of being.

    It doesn’t always stop what I’m doing, but it does remind me that I’m being rough with myself, as is my learned childhood habit.

    Like

    1. I have the same childhood habit. I’m also not very good at trusting my own feelings, another childhood habit. I like your advice too. I’ll add it to the list of things I say too myself when I need cheering. Thank you *hugs*

      Like

  2. “But that’s not what my brain says”

    You captured perfectly the feeling of confusion and hopelessness at the same time. If you can’t trust your brain, who can you trust ?
    Deep. Very deep.

    Like

    1. Exactly! Our minds hold the only perspective we will ever know, and it’s hard to believe anything outside of it is truer than what is inside of it. Thanks for reading :)

      Like

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