Our brains can teach us an amazing life lesson.
When we sleep, the brain makes a sort of blank slate. To learn, new connections, or synapses, must be established between neurons. These connections allow neurons to send signals to each other quickly and efficiently. In these networks is where we store new memories and the skills we learn.
However, some neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that synapses grow "exuberantly" during the day, and are "pruned" at night. Our brain automatically makes a selection of the information it needs to store and discards the rest.
The curious fact is that by eliminating all unnecessary information, memories that are worthwhile are better memorized. Johns Hopkins University psychologists saw that when this process doesn't happen, our memories become more confused. Furthermore, selective forgetfulness is essential to remove emotional impact from events that occurred during the day.
This naturally occurring process offers us a great lesson: holding on to old grudges, feeding frustrations, reliving drama, and placing undue importance on things that don't deserve it, just creates chaos and dissatisfaction. The wisest thing to do is to learn to ignore all that is not worthwhile and that can affect our inner peace.
Five things you can choose to ignore to make you happier
A Buddhist phrase states that "only what we care about can harm us." It is not the situations, but the meaning we give them and how we react, what determines their impact on us. So, if we want to protect our emotional balance, we need to learn to ignore some things.
Ignoring does not mean adopting a passive attitude or even stopping to face certain situations, it means learning to give importance to the things that really deserve and minimize the impact of those things that shouldn't have such an important presence in our life.
Ignoring, in this case, is not synonymous with lack of knowledge, but involves a conscious act, it means removing from our conscience those insignificant things that only hurt us. It doesn't mean ignoring or hiding problems, but clearing your mind of everything that is unnecessarily taking up space to make room for what really matters.
1. Offenses and destructive criticisms. Remember that unhealthy criticism says more about the person who criticizes than about the one who is criticized. Don't let criticism and contempt affect your self-esteem. Remember that when you spend too much time worrying about how others think you are, or what they want you to be, you forget who you really are.
2. People who want to unload their emotional misery on you. There are people who act like real garbage trucks, who want to unload their fears, frustrations, anger or anxiety on you. Don't let them. Learn to spot them and create a protective shield.
3. The little frustrations of everyday life. A bad day is just a bad day. It comes and goes. There is no reason to get stuck in little frustrations. If you learn to ignore those setbacks immediately, you will realize that you can get back to your routine with more serenity. If you accumulate them you will end up carrying a very heavy burden. It's all about putting them into perspective and realizing that it's not worth ruining your day for these setbacks.
4. Your negative internal dialogue. Often your mind becomes your worst enemy. Therefore, in many cases, you have to learn to silence the noise inside, the obsessive thoughts of failure, fears and anxiety. In most cases this inner dialogue comes from the expectations that others have placed on you. In fact, you will likely find yourself repeating phrases that your parents, teachers, or partner have told you. If those phrases do not allow you to move forward and do not make you feel good, ignore them, as time goes by they will slowly disappear.
5. Situations you cannot control. Taoism encourages us to flow, not to force situations. This does not mean being passive, but learning to identify opportunities for action and knowing when something is counterproductive. There are many things that are beyond your means, trying to control them creates unnecessary tension. Therefore, there are times when you need to forget everything that could go wrong and start trusting the flow of life.
An exercise in learning to ignore what hurts you
It is not easy to ignore certain things, certain people, certain situations… we don't always perceive what can hurt us and we end up clinging to it. Other times, it means breaking ties, changing our way of thinking and our attitudes, something not easy that requires a huge dose of courage.
In any case, I encourage you to do this simple exercise:
Take a pencil or any small object that cannot be broken. Hold it in your hand and squeeze it tightly. Imagine that this object is one of the emotions, feelings, or people that are bothering you and your hand represents your mind or consciousness.
At first, everything will seem a little strange to you, but gradually you will feel less uncomfortable and the object will seem more familiar to you. But if you keep squeezing, the object will eventually hurt you.
Now, open your hand and let the object fall to the ground. Realize that you were the one holding onto the object, it wasn't attached to your hand. The same goes for your emotions, feelings, and people who can harm you.
The problem is that we hold onto these situations so much that we forget to let them go when we should. In fact, when we feel anger or sadness we say "I am sad" or "I am angry", which represents an identification with these states and implies grasping for them. Instead, we should say "I feel sad" or "I feel angry" and learn to let go.
How to apply the idea of ignoring everything that hurts
- Don't take things to a personal level. Many of the things that happen to us are not personal. Bringing them to this level will mean that you are giving them too much importance and allowing them to affect your emotional balance. Therefore, it is essential to protect that space and allow only the things that are truly meaningful to you to enter.
- Don't lose perspective. Immersed in the little problems of everyday life, it's easy to get overwhelmed by these little dissatisfactions and setbacks, so you end up losing your bearings. Always remember to keep the perspective, focus on what defines you, your goals and what really excites you. Don't let platitudes take away your chance to be happy today.
- Take a step back. When you feel emotions take over, take a step back. Stop, take a couple of minutes and regain control. Think about why this situation is generating these emotions. You are probably exaggerating or giving it more importance than it does. Breathe and let yourself go.
- Anchored in the present. If you feel bad it is probably because of something that has already happened, which belongs to the past. Therefore, there is little point in continuing to harbor these feelings. To let them go, just hold on to the present. Focus on all the positive things you have right now. The key is to learn how to get out of the past.