Chameleon Brain

Two weeks ago, I was at the She Recovers conference in Beverly Hills, surrounded by 500 women that have identified the thing that is holding them back in life, looked it in the face and said, “No more, I am much to special to settle.” was the most important thing I have done in a long time. It was like church camp but without the guilt and more cussing. (P.S. She Recovers is not just about alcohol, it is a common theme because alcohol is always along for the ride, but She Recovers is for everyone!)

My first night, I cried alone in my hotel room because I was excited and scared and overwhelmed.Β And sometimes even good things are really hard. And you guys, I woke up, I went for a run and accidentally ran past Cher’s fountain from Clueless and I knew the universe had my back. (I know, you can’t see the actual fountain thing. I’m trying to get better at selfies. I just have a hard time caring.)

 

fountainpic
My first night, I cried alone in my hotel room because I was excited and scared and overwhelmed.Β And sometimes even good things are really hard. And you guys, I woke up, I went for a run and accidentally ran past Cher’s fountain from Clueless and I knew the universe had my back. (I know, you can’t see the actual fountain thing. I’m trying to get better at selfies. I just have a hard time caring.)

One of She Recovers guiding philosophies, is: When we are ready, we recover out loud.Β All the high fives and fists in the air for this.

It made me think of something I learned in one of my earlier recovery coaching classes about the Orbitofrontal Cortex (yeah, I said orbitofrontal cortex, I am basically a brain surgeon at this point). This is our brains identity center. Its job is to ask:

  • Who am I?
  • How do I react when this happens?
  • Who are my people?
  • How will I handle this in a way that is consistent with my identity?

When you change colors to blend into your environment your orbitofrontal cortex freaks out and can’t help you make decisions that are consistent with your identity because you are sending it mixed messages about who you are.

I think this happens when we are in hiding. When you confuse the orbitofrontal cortex and decide to be a chameleon, your decision-making skills go rogue. When you are one person at school pick up and another when the kids go to bed your brain starts focusing on developing two different people not on giving you the power to get the life you want to live. When you put on the smile and go to dinner with friends and come home and puke it all up, drink it numb, or Ambien out your brain is breaking down. When you are addicted to porn and hiding it from your partner, you’re creating a life you can’t sustain.

Basically, your brain was not made for you to live as two different people.

I saw a post from Holly Whitaker that said, “Know what you can’t f*ck with.” We all have some things (or lots of things) that keep our vibe low and our hearts clenched and our brows furrowed.

My lots-of-things are alcohol, weighing myself, social media during the holidays, people that only want to compete and compare, cigarettes, photoshopped women, not running, making my husband’s career my life. There’s more, but you get it. These are the things that don’t work for me, that get me caught in an ugly cycle, these are the things I have to set down and walk away from. If I don’t my outside stops matching my inside and that’s just not worth it. My insides are my best feature (I also have pretty good hair too).

If there is a part of your life that you are working at keeping hidden, think about what you are sacrificing. If there is a place in your heart that is screaming to be set free, chase that. And then when you are ready, recover out loud. Give someone else the chance to feel safe, loved and supported. Sharing your story is another step to freedom. It doesn’t have to be on the internet (however, the internet is a fantastic place to find your tribe), it can be small and slow and safe.

To my religious people:

If you don’t think your religion or church or church “friends” can handle your lots-of-things, it might not be your religion or church or your friends and that’s okay. It’s sad, but it’s okay. Find your people, as you heal you might be making adjustments to your belief system as well. I have 5,000 more words on this subject so I am stopping. Just know, you are absolutely not alone, you might just be the only brave one.

But also, give them a chance. Your story might be the one that changes some perspectives.

I was saving this quote to do an entire post so just pretend you haven’t seen it yet if I do, but I love this quote from Rob Bell, “Religion is for everybody that doesn’t want to go to hell. Spirituality is for everybody that has already been there.”

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