Right Brain’s Way: Chapter 5: The Left-Brain, the self-critic and shutting off the Right-Brain from optimal work

The Right-Brain can have what may be perceived as a close relationship with its next-door neighbor, the Left-Brain. This other half of the brain is supposed to be a partner and many times a fine cooperation does take place when both sides share their different skills and knowledge towards handling situations and challenges.

This relationship should be realized fully because it greatly influences the formation of problems and their continuity. Conversely, it can be altered and manipulated to favor human cures and growth.

The Left-Brain is the more analytical side, the part that organizes, makes plans and relies on what is regarded as "reason" or "logic." The Left-Brain is responsible for most of the systems of learning, science, media and hi-technology. The Left-Brain led the human race into a grand industrial and technical revolution over the past several centuries. We could even address the Left-Brain as the "boss."

In contrast, the Right-Brain is less prominent, lives in the shadows and mainly operates from the backstage. The Right-Brain might never be the one to make the final call, but it is definitely the one that often knows what the best course of action is – thanks to its intuitive and creative abilities.

For our purposes of ending our problems, we should focus our attention now on this relationship since it strongly influences the work we have ahead of us. To start, let me simply say that the intimate connection between the two halves of the brain is far from being harmonious. The two rarely accept each other and it seems like a constant battle exists; most of the time the Left-Brain prevails.

To duke it out in these duels, the Left-Brain has armed his loyal soldier, the self-critic. We usually believe whatever the self-critic tells us and are even grateful for this reliable tool that helps us make the right judgment calls and avoid making mistakes. The more we blindly follow its advice, the greater authority we invest in it and in the Left-Brain ― an action which, by default, excludes the Right-Brain.

All the authoritative bellowing from the self-critic drowns out the soft voice and gentle prodding of the Right-Brain, to the point that eventually our ear grows unaccustomed to the sound of our inner intuition. We may no longer tune into our inner wisdom and experience, even when it is most badly needed.

As a result, we can now clearly see how many people find it hard to trust their intuition, follow their imagination or express themselves creatively.

The deeper and more profound sequel of this condition comes later in what are perceived as "problems." The constant disequilibrium between the two halves of the brain leads to dysfunctional ways of coping with life's challenges; emotions are left unprocessed and unexpressed, stress and burn-out increase and the path leading up to problems is clearly shortened.

The Right-Brain is not entirely submissive and passive. You could say that the Right-Brain also "strikes back" when it is not allowed to function; it just does so silently and gradually, behind the scenes (like always). When we are astonished by a new problem or crisis that forces us to pay a lot of attention and energy to it, we must be aware that this is the Right-Brain's way of making us remember what we have long-neglected, mainly dealing with emotional issues.

So the "secret" formula of this system is based on one central theme: as long as Right-Brain and Left-Brain co-function poorly, especially in the form of Left-Brain dominance, problems will not only arise but stay and become worse. This could very well be the reason for so many constant conflicts and maladies in our world. A little bickering inside each of our brains over who's in charge can escalate to full-blown global contamination, epidemics and wars.

As for our project, focused on ending an addiction to problems, we may simply want to readjust the current status quo between the two parties, shifting it towards a new, and more fruitful and rewarding state for the benefit of all. You know, as long as your Right-Brain and your Left-Brain fight each other, the only one who will wind up losing is you.

When we are faced with a chronic problem that seems to have a power of its own, we usually feel helpless and frustrated, as if we cannot even determine what will happen to us. All we can do is to try to minimize the damage, struggle with the consequences of the problems as well as we can, and do our best not to get too angry about it all. No matter what happens, as long as the problem persists, we will remain alert, uncertain and even afraid of its next impact. We behave as if the problem is in control of us.

Isn't it about time you take back control of your own life?

Ending problems begins in the place where you decide to take control over these two fighters and begin to teach both of them how to work as a team for you. Your problems are really a human resources issue. The person who is supposed to be the manager of his own life, who coordinates all its personnel, as every manager should, is absent. So one of the staff members, the Left-Brain, is forced to step up and take on the "job," though it is not the right fit. This is not what he was made to do.

Being a leader is a complex task that requires the use of both reason and emotion, particularly compassion and deep understanding. Your Left-Brain may excel in reasoning, but it sorely lacks in the rest of these qualities. What it can not relate to, it relegates to the basement. Your secret creative passions (coming from your Right-Brain) are usually blocked by the mandates of the current governor (the Left-Brain). This situation will go on as long as you let an engineer and its crew of construction workers (Left-Brain) rule as the CEO. This is a grave mistake.

You should be the one to rule the roost, at least in your own life. So step up to the plate. Your first duty in your "new office" is to take inventory of the situation. Start by examining your problems and viewing them as a result of the repression of your Right-Brain qualities, which contain some of your most precious knowledge and special abilities. The next step is to find new ways to reduce your self-critic's impact on you. Once you manage to become the "manager" of your brain (and it is easier than it may sound) and routinely give your Right-Brain permission to do its optimal work, you will go through a long series of personal changes, revelations and revolutions that will shift your life to a new place.

As long as you keep on reading this book, even when you do not fully understand or accept the material (there is a lot of new stuff and it may be overwhelming at first), you are actually training yourself in this direction. For now, it is important for you to just open your mind to the possibility that your chronic and nagging problems are nothing but the result of your Right-Brain's recurrent losses in its conflicts with the Left-Brain.

As the new manager, you may want some additional inside info on the personality clashes between the two key team members. The Left-Brain is a bit nosy, always monitoring the Right-Brain's creative work. He often decides to reject most of his suggestions. The Right-Brain, on the other hand, has no such interest in his colleague's whereabouts, focused instead on finding outlets for its creative expression.

One side is busy blocking the other, which doesn’t immediately defend itself. It is quite predictable who will dominate in this situation. At least that was the scenario before you took over as head honcho.

What you are about to learn here is how to not wait so long. You will learn how to intervene so that the Left-Brain doesn’t have a chance to abort the Right-Brain's interesting action plans. You will teach both of them how to change their attitude and to embrace a policy that is focused on ending problems. Your Left-Brain will have to learn to step aside, and your Right-Brain will have to learn how to step onto the stage more often. Both goals are obtainable, and this is why we are going through this transition process.

Your self-critic will advise you not to ask questions too many times. Do not listen to it. Keep asking the three questions!

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