Written by: Guest Writer Elaine Lindsay
People are always so ready: Always so eager to dive deeper into the onion that is a human being…
Searching for truth. Empathy. Compassion. For others.
And yet, at the same time you are all too eager to annihilate the supposed “bad bits” of you. All too eager to stomp out the pieces within yourself that you don’t like. The pieces that if you are honest, you sometimes fear. The pieces we often loathe.
I’m here to say STOP. You have it all wrong. You know when you poke a bear she/he only gets angrier. Adding to the negativity is not productive.
When you are working on your personal development, your self-healing journey often starts with changing, or eradicating the pieces that are not so palatable.
I want to give you a very different option. I want to suggest, strongly, that you not try to hack out the bad bits. I want you instead, to embrace those bits and love them into your complete being. With empathy and compassion, I want you to embrace the weaknesses and comparisons they show you, while you turn them around to embrace the strengths you know or can learn that you possess.
The itty bitty shitty committee, the infernal and internal self-abuse machine, has been by your side, actually inside you, for ages. Whispering and hissing in your mind: You are Not enough. You are too tall, too short, too fat, too thin.. From how you look, to how you speak, and even to how you think. The IBS committee has an opinion. And to be sure it is NEVER a positive opinion.
I did not coin the phrase Itty Bitty Shitty Committee. I first heard about it a couple of decades ago and am not certain of the attribution.
My take on WHY we have an Itty Bitty Shitty Committee (IBSC)
From what I’ve read and learned over time, I believe the IBSC develops in childhood, as we become more comparative... Human beings are comparative by nature... You cannot be fast unless someone is slow. You cannot be good at math unless someone is not good at math, or science, or writing. You get the picture. Excelling at something, comes with a reward. Rewards, feel good. In order for you to go on, when you're not the winner, when you are not in the top spots, your IBS committee begins to show you all the reasons you’re NOT the winner; Not suited to lead; Not at the head of the pack. It lulls you into a victim state, and pacifies you as you lick your wounds. You and the rest of the average people in the tribe, commiserate with each other.. You’ve heard the old saying “Misery loves company” and studies have shown that people gravitate to the lowest common denominator, because there is safety in numbers.
When you are a really little kid, you believe you can be and do anything you want. The self-doubt, fear and negativity come along gradually. In order to fit into the tribe, you had to find your place in the hierarchy. Back in the olden days, your station in life was part of that placement. Very few people, over time, bucked the system and won. In the history of the human race, those standouts, those contrarians were few and far between.
All of this relates to the limbic system. Many call it the lizard brain, the main parts of the limbic brain are the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. It's the part of the brain that's responsible for behavioral and emotional responses. This is the part of your brain that really has not developed with the changes in the human race. Keeping you in the tribe and not being left on your own shoved out on an ice flow or left to bake in the sun on the desert floor.
The limbic system has one overriding function-above all else: survival. What is the biggest motivator when it comes to doing what is expected of you? It’s being ridiculed, being laughed at, being shunned, and ultimately being ousted from the tribe, left to die.
What was the easiest way to survive back in caveman days? This outdated part of your brain wants you to keep your head down. Stay in the middle of the pack. Don’t charge into possible danger. There are saber-tooth tigers!!
You laugh. Sadly for all of us, our lizard brain has not developed beyond that fear.
Our lives, scenarios and reactions no longer fit that scenario. The limbic reaction is all out of proportion to what and how we live today.
Being laughed at can have you feeling like you are dying inside. Not fitting in, not wearing the right clothes, current fashion, preferred size: all of these expectations and ideals are rolled into the limbic system’s concept of keeping you safe. [In times of high stress and mental health issues, this can lead to self-harm and worse] Yes the limbic system believes its keeping you safe, however, not safe in the true sense or even in the adult sense of the meaning of the word safe.
I believe the limbic system functions at about a six year old level. And furthermore it is still functioning as though it were caveman days for all intents and purposes.
This means it's juvenile and petulant and immature. Six years old is also about the age the IBSC begins to take hold. To impact your inner world. To create, doubt, fear, shame and more…
What’s a person to do?
Maya Angelou said “when we know better, we do better.”
Now that you know that your IBSC is nothing more than a child stuck in a loop of overreaction to all stimuli… You can choose. Choose how and if you are going to react. You can choose to shower yourself with love and understanding. To make your insides match your outsides in a positive manner. Figuratively taking that six-year-old, your limbic system, by the virtual hand. Showing him/her/them all the bounty that awaits when you gently step out of your comfort zone, lovingly, incorporating your inner survival instincts, into your mindful practices, your mindset and your #gratitudeattitude.
I believe we all need to be gentle with ourselves. I believe we are all capable of great good. I believe we can make a difference in the world. That difference must begin with you. For you. To you, and through you.
Let’s love the IBSC into becoming a positive part of each of us. It's your choice.
For more information, please visit my website!
Elaine Lindsay, Guest Writer Brainz Magazine
At age 16,Elaine lost her close friend to suicide. After being crushed between three cars at age 20, Elaine made an important choice: either be a victim of pain and adversity or she could choose to overcome it. Elaine chooses joy and life every day, Elaine encourages you to do the same. Now 65, Elaine aims to improve 1% daily, to learn something new, and to make every effort to live a #GratitudeAttitude.