As I was walking into the yoga studio today, the teacher behind the desk was explaining to another student that her ex-boyfriend hated anytime she wore the color turquoise. I chimed in saying, “And now it’s your favorite color” as I pointed at her turquoise tank top, which coincidentally matched my turquoise towel. She showed off her turquoise nails and we all shared a laugh.
Then, she referred to the experience as “the takeaway problem”.
If something is taken away from us, we want it more… So much so that our past experiences can literally shape our future. Our brain integrates the lessons we learn from mistakes we’ve made or even experiences which have happened to us seemingly outside of our control by setting rules to protect us from pain and enable good fortune moving forward.
The stories that set these rules are based on what we choose to tell ourselves. They are often emotional and not always logical.
For example, if a person’s parents never let them play video games growing up, and now he/she is an adult and that’s all they do, then maybe it’s time to ask if they’re playing every day because they love video games or if they are doing it as an act of defiance even a decade after they moved out of their parents’ house?
In the case of turquoise, it may not matter much… For the yoga teacher, maybe at the deepest level, turquoise represents her newfound freedom and independence. However, sometimes the takeaway problem can actually be controlling our destiny.
Children will always touch a hot stove once because they’re not supposed to… In relationships, we often gravitate toward what we believe we can’t have. And in business, we always view the grass as greener on the other side. Knowing our brains work this way can support us to not fall for these fallacies and establish sound judgement in their place.
For example, your brain may tell you if you’ve been hurt in a relationship, you should never enter one again… But is that true?
Maybe a client left because they no longer believed in you and the takeaway problem is creating an inner drive to achieve beyond your wildest dreams. A little motivation can be healthy… But when it comes to major life decisions, the layers of stories need to be removed to ensure you’re moving forward for the right reasons… Because you still love the game.
If you’re doing something solely because it was taken away from you, then you’ll always operate from a place of lack… Attempting to file a hole… But real success comes from feeling whole in the first place.
Wherever you are at on this journey, you are whole and complete just the way you are.
I am whole and complete just the way I am.