Premature Cognitive Commitment…
Did I lose you already? Stay with me….it gets better….spoiler alert: this post is about knowing yourself, taking responsibility for all of your life, and then like a magician, molding your reality…but I need you to understand the above behavior as it helps illuminate my point…thank you in advance for your patience…
So, as I was saying…..Premature Cognitive Commitment is a common cognitive pattern whereby, we, particularly as children, accept many belief systems as fact, based upon the influence of parents, teachers, coaches and friends, before we were emotionally mature enough to decide for ourselves if this was actually true for us, or even knew that we had the option to consider and choose this opinion for ourselves. And, we then proceed to hold onto these beliefs as facts into adulthood, and conduct our lives, relationships and problem-solving from these opinions that we never considered and were never ours in the first place.
In plain English, Premature Cognitive Commitment, or PCC, is the way that many of us experience the world based on old, outdated ideas, which truly limit us, and is the foundation for the phrase and universal need to “know thyself”. PCC is the result of accepting others’ ideas and belief systems from a young age as fact, before we process them and decide for ourselves if they are indeed true for us. Because our belief systems form and mold our entire reality, and if we are operating without being aware of what they are, or actually knowing these ideas to be our truth, we are severely limited in our perspective and the scope of our options on a relational level and in our ability to move beyond challenges.
Once again, beliefs are not facts. They are just thoughts that you keep thinking.
Okay so this is the part where I lend credence to and give credit for this insightful observation of human behavior….
PCC is a cognitive understanding coined by Ellen J. Langer, Harvard Professor of Psychology, Researcher and Author of two books, “Mindfulness” and “Counter Clockwise, Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility”. In her words, from her website EllenLanger.com, “…mindless following of routine and other automatic behaviors lead to much pain and a predetermined course of life….Langer explains that the mindless – as opposed to the mindful – develop mindsets of categories, associations, habits of thought born in childhood and throughout schooling. To be mindful, she notes, stressing process over outcome, allows free reign to intuition and creativity, and opens us up to new information and perspective”.* Langer also points to the negative implications of PCC particularly in the areas of business and relationships, and adds extra emphasis to older generations, “who often suffer from learned helplessness and and lack of options.”*
And now on to the nitty gritty or nuts and bolts of the post…
I just recently stumbled upon this term, PCC, and find it to be very supportive of the process that I have been going through of self-responsibility, self-awareness, and self-love. Essentially, Premature Cognitive Commitment explains, from a scientific and cognitive perspective, the energetic process that I have used and continue to utilize on a daily basis to transform my life and move through challenges with relationships and otherwise with far less effort than I previously experienced.
When we truly understand that we literally create our reality through the energetic vibrations emanating from our heart, which is our soul, and filtered by our beliefs, it makes perfect sense that self-awareness is an essential foundation for molding our life to our highest joy. The insight you receive through the emotions of your heart are only filtered by your experiences and ideas about life; what you believe to be true about yourself and your world. If you don’t know your beliefs or if you are not willing to consider, soften or relax them to be open to new perspective, you are subject to a thick filter of hearing and understanding the wisdom of your highest guidance, the whispers of your soul.
It goes back to the often quoted definition of insanity, compliments of Albert Einstein. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different results.”
How many times are you going to run into the brick wall before you decide to do it differently? Before you decide to consider other options and new perspectives?
The next step in reality creation or simply put, “getting your life to be what you truly desire”, is taking responsibility for ALL OF IT. Yep, ALL OF IT. Honestly, I was a bit taken aback when I first realized that I was responsible for my ENTIRE reality! What the what! My first thoughts were…”but he did this and still does this..” and “she does this”…. And yet, I knew that I did create my reality. Still, it didn’t seem fair.
But then, my mentor and teacher, Steffany Barton, said to me, “Well, Jennifer, IT IS the most empowered perspective that you can have. You CANNOT change anyone but yourself from within. And, if you don’t take responsibility for your ENTIRE life, you lose the ability to respond. You forgo your own power to change what is, to what you actually want.”
So, I spent some time thinking about this. Reflecting. Pondering. Considering. I did not want to forfeit my power. I love the way empowerment allows me to FEEL. I love that I don’t have to coerce, manipulate or cajole anyone to do or be something to create the life that I desire. I revel in the freedom of choice. Yet, with choices, comes responsibility.
You know, the whole Spider-Man quote…”With great power, comes great responsibility”…cue the music…Lotta truth in that….but seriously, you can’t have it both ways…I mean, you can try….but, both energetically and in reality, from my experience, it doesn’t work…
And so, after much reflection, and because I trust Steffany implicitly, as she has never steered me wrong, I gave it a try.
And, let me tell you that I am not disappointed.
That said, there were occasions whereby I really had to pause, find my center, and move through my first thought or reaction, which would have been to tell my husband or my children or whomever, what they had done wrong, what they should be doing differently or how they could or should act, say, or do to make me and my life better. There were times that I was seething with anger or felt put upon because it FELT like someone else was doing something TO me which prevented my ultimate happiness.
I spent and continue to take time to know my inherent beliefs. I become the observer of myself and consider my actions and reactions, noting what must be true for me and my ideas about life, especially when I am facing a challenge of any kind. I have relinquished many beliefs because they no longer reflected the person that I am now. And, I know that this system of consideration, vetting of old ideas and replacement of new ones will be a lifelong process. The only thing that is constant is change. If I am not always open to new perspectives, I know that I will stay right where I am. My evolution as a human being and soul is paramount to my present and ongoing desire to receive the richness that life has to offer and that we all so rightly deserve.
I continue to remind myself on a daily basis that I create my reality, and as such am responsible for all that I experience. Now, with the higher perspective of hindsight and the wisdom of my soul, I recognize that responsibility is a gift, rather than a burden, that I wouldn’t deny anyone the joy of embracing.
The foundation of self-responsibility is knowing yourself through the daily process of learning your beliefs, deciding if they are still true for you, and if not, releasing them for new ideas that are more representative of the present-moment “you”. Once you have have a decent handle on your fundamental beliefs, if something in your life comes up that you don’t prefer, or that you can’t understand why you are experiencing, ask yourself this question, “What would I have to believe to be true for me to be experiencing this in my reality?” And the answer to that question will lead you to a belief that is so ingrained in you that you didn’t know that you even had it. It happened to me quite often actually. So, instead of getting angry or dropping into self-loathing when you experience a challenge, look at it as an opportunity to explore your beliefs on a deeper level. And, as with all self-reflection, remember that judgement of yourself or anyone else is a dead end. Let it go. Drop the backpack of boulders and move on. All experience of ourselves and others is moving us closer to our highest potential. It just is. Nothing more and nothing less.
When I envision the process of relinquishing old beliefs that no longer serve me…..and the power I derive, through self-awarenes, self-responsibility, and self-love, to weather any storm and create the life of my dreams with peace and joy in my heart, I think of the Bob Dylan song, “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
Life happens…sometimes it feels like a hurricane and other moments remind us of a gentle, ocean breeze. It moves us. It blows us to and fro. But if we embody the ease, grace and resilience of the branches of the willow tree – softening, adjusting and adapting our beliefs and understandings- we almost effortlessly move through whatever headwinds we face. And at the same time, if we stay aligned with the truth of love, of who we are as human beings and a souls – our essence – like the roots of the willow tree, we will be firmly anchored in an unshakeable peace and unending joy. So, the answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind….the answer is blowin’ in the wind.