Is flexibility: the greatest ‘flex’ of all?
Starting a blog with some current urban slang runs the risk of it becoming out of date before it is even published, but here goes. What if being flexible in your approach to life and love is the biggest ‘flex’ of all? Rappers refer to ‘flexing’ as showing off your physique, wealth or some other thing or attribute that makes you feel proud.
Embarking upon a contemplative journey to discover ways to “love yourself and your life more wondrously” can also be seen as a flex. This important phrase is central to my soon to be released course offering and series of life-affirming blogs. Grant Soosalu, the leading authority behind the acclaimed mBraining theory and mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) methodology, turned his attention to focusing on helping people to explore what it means to live and love in his book, Loving your Life.
The book is divided into a series of explorations and meditations to challenge and inspire us to examine different aspects of our life and our personality. Or, in the words of the book, “to bring [your] human spirit alive.” Each exploration can be read as a stand-alone resource, or combined with others to create a combination to speak to you powerfully as an individual and person worthy of receiving love – especially from yourself.
So, back to flexibility, then. Learning how to love yourself begins by having the ability and desire to explore what is right and wrong with your life as you see it and being willing to make changes to see what could happen for the better. In other words, being flexible enough to allow room to embrace different approaches to life.
Go with the flow
One of the explorations looks at letting go of the desire to always be ‘right’ about things, rather than relaxing from time to time and going with the flow. Having rigid expectations of ourselves and other people often leads to frustration and disappointment, yet haven’t we all experienced periods in life when we were judged against very specific criteria? School exams, workplace performance reviews, trying to choose exactly the right birthday gift for a picky friend. All of these have the potential for you to either deliver… or come up short.
Loving should be about acceptance, compassion and support. If our cherished friend or family member came to us, upset about receiving a lower grade than expected, or getting a telling off at work, we would want to reassure and sympathise with them, while encouraging them to see what they can do to improve their situation. This is what we should be doing for ourselves too. Allowing ourselves time to lick our wounds, but also making plans to maximise our chances of doing better next time. There is an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) strategy for mapping out a plan like this:
- Clearly know your outcome: what you want and how to make it positive, achievable and believable.
- Take positive action: don’t just dream. Do! Take actual, realistic steps to put your plan into place.
- Learn from feedback: make adjustments along the way to keep yourself on track and be honest about how things are going.
- Flexibility: see? It’s that word again! Be ready to change and alter your behaviour to help you move closer to your outcome.
Relax into it and recognise that you don’t have to be right all the time. The more relaxed you are about the possibility of making a mistake, the better equipped you will be to be flexible enough to try another idea if things do go out of alignment from time to time.
Knowledge is power
Hot on the heels of examining how to relax into not being right all the time comes an exploration into the power of learning. This exploration is emphatic in its assertion that knowledge is not only power, but that ignorance is most certainly not bliss. Learning is at the heart of everything we do and experience in life. Without it, we cannot grow, evolve or create anything.
Learning makes us more flexible – even from a scientific, physiological point of view. Research shows that learning stimulates the growth and development of our neurons, dendrites and synapses (all part of our neurological system. See here for more information). Learning also taps into the same networks in the brain that are associated with pleasure and satisfaction, giving us a physical and psychological ‘high’. Greater knowledge can also give us increased opportunities in our working and personal lives to help us enjoy greater control and sense of achievement.
How and what you learn can be entirely up to you. Yet more flexibility creeping in! You may need to learn certain skills to pass exams and advance in your career. Or, you could have emotional areas within your personal relationships that require greater understanding to help that connection to thrive. Or, you might simply feel like now is the perfect time to look up something that you didn’t know that has been bothering you for ages. The most recent lockdown in the UK has seen many of us take up new challenges to keep our brains active and our hands busy. Things like baking, sewing, 3D printing or bookbinding – whatever captures the imagination can make the perfect next thing to learn.
Let it go
Anyone who has a small child or pre-teen in their lives won’t have missed the life-affirming (if slightly irritating when played on loop during a massive car journey) message contained in Queen Elsa’s iconic, Disney Frozen ballad, Let it go! In it, our chilly heroine sings of letting go of her repressed childhood and learned patterns of behaviour and embraces her potential as a fully-fledged adult with the power to create an ice kingdom everywhere she goes.
While it could, quite literally, be rather cool to be able to shoot shards of ice from our fingertips, it isn’t the most practical of abilities in the real world, so for us to emulate the lovely Elsa, we need to look elsewhere for ways of letting go in our own lives. Welcome to and exploration on letting go of old patterns of behaviour to make room for new ones. Neuroscience teaches us that, as we begin to develop patterns of behaviour, so our neurons wire together and turn these patterns into fully established habits. These can be positive or negative and it is our job to sustain the good ones and try to overturn those that are more destructive.
In mBraining, we learn that our head, heart and gut ‘brains’ are all intrinsically linked, each providing their own distinct input into how we act and respond. The heart and the gut ‘brains’ tend to be where our instinctive behaviour comes from, which is often counteracted and processed out by the conscious awareness in our head brain. This can lead to behaviour patterns that are not in alignment with our values and that can be bad news for ourselves and other people when we don’t react in the way that they have come to expect from us. By working to keep all three brains in balance, we can offer a far more considered approach to life and enjoy greater stability for ourselves.
Flexibility for the win!
If we can let go of the desire to always be right, develop a hunger to learn and embrace our inner Elsa, we can be pretty confident that our journey towards loving our life more wondrously can get off to a very good start. Next time, I will talk about the importance of flourishing within and believing more fully in our own self-worth. Until then, enjoy flexing your new skills!
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, p1
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, p15
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, p33
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, p141
 Source: http://www.mbraining.com/home/mbraining-info. Accessed 28 February 2021