We share an intimate and unhealthy relationship with our dysfunction or discomfort that manifests in many ways.
- The tolerant relationship. We recognize our condition is detrimental to a healthy and productive lifestyle, but we are too lazy or apathetic to address it.
- The resigned relationship. We devalue our character strengths and virtues, convincing ourselves any attempt at recovery is futile. We have given up.
- The self-pitying relationship. We wallow in our misery because it comforts us and confirms our victimization.
- The assimilate relationship. We acclimate to our condition, adapting and incorporating it into our system. This is the odd relationship where we become our dysfunction.
- The denial relationship. We refuse to acknowledge the problem, denying its existence, our dismissal so pervasive it subconsciously metastasizes, like unchecked cancer.
Every physiological dysfunction and discomfort generate a correlated deficiency of self-esteem due to the condition itself, and the corresponding disruption in natural human development. The overwhelming majority of dysfunctional onset happens during adolescence due to a toxic childhood environment caused by physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. This disturbance manifests in perceptions of abandonment, exploitation, and detachment, engendering a disruption in natural human development which negatively impacts our self-esteem
Self-esteem is mindfulness (recognition and acceptance) of our value to our self, society, and the world. Self-esteem can be further understood as a complex interrelationship between how we think about ourselves, how we think others perceive us, and how we process or present that information.
Self-esteem deficits are the consequence of disapproval, criticism, and apathy of influential others—family, colleagues, ministers, teachers. Any number of factors impact self-esteem including our environment, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and education.
- Our negative self-image is generated by our deficit of self-esteem.
- Self-esteem administers and is determined by our self-properties. Positive self-properties include self -reliant, -compassionate, -confidant, -worth, etc. Negative self-properties are self -destructive, -loathing, -denigrating, etc.
- Our positive self-properties tell us we are of value, consequential, and desirable.
- Our intrinsic self-esteem is never fully depleted or lost; underutilized self-properties can be dormant like the unexercised muscle in our arm or leg.
- Self-esteem impacts our mind, body, spirit, and emotions separately and in concert. Mindfulness of this complementarity is important to emotional and behavioral control as we learn to utilize each component.
- We rediscover and reinvigorate our self-esteem through exercises designed to help us become mindful of our inherent strengths, virtues, and attributes.
Neural restructuring. The primary objective or consequence of recovery is the restructuring of our neural network. When neural pathways reshape, there is a correlated change in behavior and perspective. Our brain is not a moral adjudicator, but an organic reciprocator, adapting and correlating to stimuli.
Every stimulus we input causes a receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message from neuron to neuron until it generates a reaction. Neural restructuring is the deliberate input of positive stimuli to compensate for years of dysfunctional negative input. Deliberate repetitious stimuli compel neurons to fire repeatedly causing them to wire together. The more repetitions the quicker and stronger the new connection.
Neural restructuring is deliberate plasticity—functionally modifying our neural network through repetitive activation. Plasticity is our brain’s capacity to change with learning—to relearn. Studies in brain plasticity evidence the brain’s ability to change at any age. Behavioral Plasticity is the capacity and degree to which human behavior can be altered by environmental factors such as learning and social experience. In theory, a higher degree of plasticity makes an organism more flexible to change, whereas a lower degree of plasticity result in an inflexible behavior pattern. Behavioral plasticity enables an organism to change its behavior through learning.
Mindfulness is the state of active, open recognition and acceptance of present realities. It is the act of embracing our flaws as well as our inherent character strengths, virtues, and attributes. Mindfulness is the key to re-engaging our positive self-properties that constitute healthy self-esteem
True mindfulness of our dysfunction is more than recognition and acceptance; it is embracement. By embracing our flaws as well as our character strengths, virtues, and attributes, we embrace ourselves. Love is linked to positive mental and physical health outcomes. Love motivates recovery. Embracing our dysfunction or discomfort is an act of love.
Our condition is a natural component of human development. It is evidence of our humanness. Think of it as an emotional virus. We are not our dysfunction any more than we are an accidental broken limb. We are individuals with a dysfunction. Embracing it does not mean we don’t want to transform into a healthy and more productive individual; it encourages transformation.
Embracing is not acquiescence, resignation, or condoning. Acquiescence is accepting our condition and doing nothing to change it. Condoning is accepting it and allowing it to fester. Resignation is defeatism. Embracing is logically accepting ourselves for who we are—human dysfunctional beings abounding in ability and potential. It is embracing our character strengths, virtues, and attributes that facilitate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover. It is embracing our totality. Healthy self-love is a fundamental component of self-esteem; we can never strive towards our potential until we truly learn to embrace ourselves. The value of mindfulness in recovery is immeasurable.
Why is your support essential? ReChanneling is dedicated to research and development of methods to alleviate symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort. Our vision is to reshape the current pathographic emphasis on diagnoses over individual, which fosters a deficit, disease model of human behavior. Treatment programs must disavow ineffective, one-size-fits-all approaches and target the individual personality through communication, empathy, collaboration, and an integration of historically and clinically practical methods. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.