I love wearing blue jeans -- just not new jeans. There is something very comforting about an old, well-worn pair of jeans that fit you just right. Recently, I had to go shopping for a new pair of jeans – I had forgotten how stiff and tight they feel when I first put them on. I had to remind myself that my old jeans felt the same way when I tried them on for the first time. I had to wear them for several months before they became my favorites!
Our brain operates a lot like a new pair of jeans when we are trying to learn new habits, new ways of coping with the changes in our lives. Our brain has a powerful way of changing and transforming as we work to improve ourselves, but man is it uncomfortable! It feels weird, awkward even, to work on how we talk to ourselves and to understand our own feelings -- and then to learn to communicate differently with those around us. It really is like breaking in a new pair of jeans.
The good news: our brain is designed for change! The neurons in our brain continually form new connections as we learn new ways of functioning, thinking and coping. We are actually rewiring our brain to be healthier. To work on this rewiring, we have to be aware of old habits that feel so comfortable that we slip back into them without thinking. It’s just like slipping into those old jeans. It takes time and awareness as we seek to change and become healthier.
If you are working to make changes in your life, be sure you are giving yourself enough time. Change doesn’t happen overnight. We have to” wear” healthier ways of functioning to break them in, just like a new pair of jeans.