Meet Your Inner Lizard
Say hello to my little friend.
Her name is FiFi. She’s my “Inner Lizard” — a term coined by Martha Beck to describe your reptilian brain, or if you’re a smarty pants, your amygdala, a cluster of nerves and what nots at the base of your brain.
Fifi’s entire job in life is to broadcast thoughts of fear of lack, and fear of attack, 24/7, which was super helpful to humans when faced with famine (Think: Lack= “Girrrrl, you’d better start hoarding some nuts and berries!”) and hungry bears (Think: Attack=”Dude, you better run!”)
Except for that right at this moment, if you are reading this, you are not actually under attack or experiencing lack.
Like, life threatening lack or attack.
However, in three seconds it took you to read the last sentence, your brain subconsciously scanned your environment for safety fifteen times.
Yes, that’s five times per second. Your inner lizard is BUSY, lemme tell ya.
Fifi is pitching a royal fit right now.
My son, Cristian, is on his way to a concert about an hour from home.
It’s dark, it’s storming and the roads are bad.
He is taking an Uber with some guys from work.
Fifi says, “Maybe the driver is a drunk maniac or a serial killer! You don’t know who Cristian is with, you need to be scared, very scared.”
My fears are lack of certainty, control and comfort and of attack (something bad better not happen to my baby!)
My inner lizard starts throwing out some freaked out signals and my way of gaining control over the situation is to bake three dozen oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies.
Brilliant, don’t you think?
Steps to take when your inner lizard is freaking-the-hell-out:
- Recognize that this is the work of your inner lizard. Name him or her to help you separate from your fear.
- Determine the cause of the freak out. What is your subconscious telling you is lacking? Some of these thoughts could be the culprit…”I don’t have enough time, money, knowledge, courage, or support to deal with this!” What attack might you suffer? “If I do this thing I really want to do, people will attack me by talking behind my back, criticizing me, undermining me, colluding against me, firing me or abandoning me.”
- Ask yourself if any of those fears are verifiably true, beyond a shadow of a doubt. (Most likely, your fears are completely fabricated by your inner lizard in a noble attempt to protect you from perceived harm, but actually keep you stuck in an emotional bunker for the rest of your days.)
- Thank your inner lizard for doing such a great job protecting you from harm. Say, “Hey Fifi, thanks so much for keeping me safe. But I’m good. You can rest now.”
- Consciously turn down the volume on the squawking after you’ve looked for actual danger, and carry on.