When I was struggling the most, in an environment filled to the brim with “friends” who made me feel that I needed to change, I felt like the most unlikable person on the planet. I was put in a position to genuinely believe that if I didn’t change soon, I would eventually become stuck as someone who felt completely helpless, and unhappy with who I was.
I was terrified because I was nearing the age of 18 where I was always told that the majority of things were set in stone, and all the people around me were telling me that in the space of three years, I hadn’t changed at all, and I was “just as bad” as I always was.
I genuinely felt that my life was a ticking time bomb, and I only had a few years before I was completely trapped, being the arguably unlovable person I was taught I was.
When I came across the information that I can change, regardless of age, and develop healthy coping mechanisms, I was incredibly relieved. So, I figured that it would be helpful to share my knowledge in the hopes that someone out there would read this, and feel a little less trapped.
Our brains are constantly changing, regardless of age.
Our brains are different going into adulthood, the tectonic shifts of our identity and personality have ended, and the brain appears to be fully developed. This is where the belief of being stuck with who you are going into adulthood comes from.
This couldn’t be more wrong. Our brains can be shaped, and stay in the same shape in which we have left it, holding it’s position. This is what is meant when referring to brain plasticity, or neuroplasticity
Neurons that fire together, wire together.
Whenever we use our brains to do pretty much anything, neurons (the cells our brains are made up of) light up, also known as firing. When we follow a routine, such as getting up and then making our beds, we are firing two neurons together. After doing this just once, we create a pathway between the neuron that stores the action “waking up”, and the neuron that stores making the bed. Every single time we go on to fire these two neurons one after the other, we are strengthening the bonds, and making the neurons themselves stronger.
This is why habits are so difficult to break.
If we were to suddenly break this routine, and replace what we do when we wake up with something else, eventually our brains would break down the neural pathway between waking up and making the bed, and weaken the neuron that we cut out. This is ideal because this means our brains do not store the information that is not necessarily needed.
In other words, no matter if we’re thinking, feeling, or doing something over and over and over again, there is always the potential to stop. I know this from personal experience, because once I stopped sitting and thinking “No one will read my blog because I am unlikable”, and replaced it with “I want to make a blog, therefore I will.” , I eventually, after an embarrassing amount of procrastination, made this blog.
If neuroplasticity didn’t exist, you would not be able to read this post right now, and I would probably be laying in my bed feeling absolutely miserable.
If I can change my way of thinking and rewire my brain, why can’t you?