Have you ever received those “memories” posts from Facebook where they show you what you posted last year or 5 years ago today?
I get them all the time and last week I got one that hit a little different.
They sent me a video of my 8 year old daughter Juliette who was a year old in the video.
She was no more than 1.5 years old and she was helping my oldest daughter, Alyssa, empty out the dryer and put clean clothes in a laundry basket. She loved it more than a person should.
She was happy every time she touched a warm and soft piece of clothing.
Then she saw one of Alyssa’s bras and said “Oh coochie coos!”
Alyssa could not stop laughing. Neither could Juliette.
Juliette said it over and over again. “Your coochie coos. Your coochie coos!”
She waved the bra around and they both laughed hysterically.
Now…the video was so cute but it reminded me that a 1 year old already knew about mental concepts, predictions and emotions.
What the what?
Allow me to explain.
As her mama, I embarrassingly referred to boobs as “coochie coos.”
I’m the kind of mom that changes in front of my kids at home, walks around naked in my bedroom and bathroom or in my bra and underwear. All the things.
Sorry if that’s TMI but you ladies know it’s a total vibe.
Anyway…..what fascinated me about Juliette was that at 1 year of age, when she saw a bra in the laundry basket…she knew that a bra covered coochie coos and called a bra by the same name.
The mind is so freaking efficient.
What it reminded me of was how the brain makes correlations quick and naturally. Especially if its exposed to something a few times.
Let’s be clear, I don’t walk around with my shirt off or talk about boobs to my then baby.
Heck, I didn’t even breastfeed her.
So she didn’t see boobs and bras all the time.
So all it took was a few experiences with me wearing a bra or seeing me change my clothes and her mind understood that they go together.
Bras and boobs.
Here’s where I get a little nerdier so hold tight.
Juliette saw a bra in a laundry basket and still understood it was for boobs. (that sentence is so weird and I can’t believe I’m writing to you about breasts but I swear I have a point.)
The mind/brain uses concepts and categories its learned about and makes thoughts, behaviors and predictions based on them.
Philosophers and scientists define a category as: a collection of objects, events or actions that are grouped together as equivalent for some purpose.
They define a concept as: a mental representation of a category.
Traditionally, categories are supposed to exist in the world
while concepts exist in your head.
For example, you have a concept of the color red.
When you apply this concept to wavelengths of light to perceive a red rose in a park, that red color is an instance of the category red.
Your brain downplays the differences between the members of a category such as the different shades of red roses in a botanical garden to consider those members as red too.
Your brain also magnifies differences between members and non-members….say red versus pink roses, so that you perceive firm boundaries between them.
Imagine you’re walking down a street in your city or town with a brain full of mental concepts.
You see many objects all at once. Flowers, trees, houses, dogs, birds, bees.
You see people walking, moving their bodies and faces.
You hear sounds and smell different scents.
Your brain puts this information together to perceive concepts like…
Children playing in a park…
A person gardening.
An old couple holding hands on a bench.
You create your experience of these objects, actions and events by categorizing using concepts.
Your ever predicting brain uses sensory input asking, “Which of my concepts is this like?”
Kids running, laughing and playing on equipment in a field of grass creates the concept “children playing in a park.”
There are variations of categories but your brain puts firm boundaries around what is or isn’t part of that concept.
If there was a big building with lots of classrooms near the grass, then the concept you might use is “kids at recess.”
Totally different concept, right?
You see…. go through life making inferences about things based on subconscious concepts and categories.
Ok so back to Juliette…
There were lots of shirts, jeans and sweaters in that same laundry basket but she never said “coochie coo” when she saw them.
Her concept of coochie coo didn’t involve shirts or sweaters even though they touch boobs and lay above them just as a bra does.
Shirts and sweaters are in a category all their own. Maybe around “clothes”.
And to think that at not more than 18 months in this world, her little brain and mind already made inferences about items, body parts and how she felt about them.
She knew a bra held and covered this unique physical feature that mom had and she clearly associated it with laughter and intrigue.
She could’ve just as easily felt scared when she saw the bra, cried and ran away.
But she didn’t based on her concepts of that object and category.
Whenever she saw my bras, me wearing a bra or me without a shirt, she always laughed and asked what boobs were. We would always laugh and so now she associated them with laughter, mom, fun.
You see….things happen in your life, you gain information from it and you take it with you.
You access those concepts automatically when you see the something that properly fits the category.
When you see the thing again, your mind will tell you what to do since it already has stored information, concepts, predictions and so on.
You may think you’re just walking through life but you’re actually using your stored past knowledge, memories, feelings and thoughts to:
- Make predictions about what will happen here
- What to do
- How that thing will benefit (or negatively cost you)
You do this when you meet someone, buy something, make a decision, feel a feeling, are offered something new and so on.
Your past informs and heavily influences how you feel about something today and in the future.
Your deep subconscious mental concepts tell you
- how to feel
- what to think
- how to react and
- what meaning to give something
If you don’t like how you’re thinking, feeling, behaving and making assumptions and meanings of things and people…..
if you feel as if you don’t have control over changing these 4 important behaviors…
You have foundational beliefs (concepts and categories) that need adjusting, aligning….changing to fit the person you are today.
If you’re reacting to things defensively, ambivalently or with fear, anger, anxiety and you consciously know that they don’t merit that kind of a response, then you have deep mental concepts that are affecting you today.
They are limiting your ability to show up in the world the way YOU want to be.
“I know better but I never do it.”
“I have the strategy, why don’t I take action?”
“He’s so not good for me. Why do I stay?”
Those are the things I hear most often from women every time we chat in a Clarity Call or in the DMs.
They’re frustrated, embarrassed, guilty and shameful.
You have deep subconscious mental concepts that are guiding your reactions to the people and world around you.
And unless you know what’s down there, understand why it got there and finally remove it…. you’ll never be able to have the life you want.
You’ll always be driven by the mental concepts you learned way back when and are now causing you to stay stuck or move towards all the wrong things.
There’s nothing worse than not living up to your own full potential.
Watching everyone else live.
Watching them win while you’re sitting on the sidelines.
It’s time you chose something different.
Cuz guess what?
People are safe.
The world is kind and supportive.
Some things feel tough at first, but it gets really easy and beautiful.
Don’t let your old concepts ruin your chance for a great summer ‘23.
You deserve it.