Let the Power of 'Maybe' Transform Your Life
‘No’ used to be one of my favorite words. It spewed from my mouth like dragon’s fire ready to scorch the fresh and budding earth. New opportunities, concepts, or even a new idea that entered my life and I felt strongly about it, aka scared the crap out of me, I’d say no. But, really what I was doing was trying to maintain control when I didn’t feel I had any.
Think about it. The word ‘no’ is a very strong and powerful concept. It’s a word and complete sentence all in one. Anyone who has parents or is a parent, understands how that simple word ‘no’, sets limits and teaches boundaries pretty dang quick. Especially, if there is force and emotion behind it.
The Science Behind Change
Scientists talk of neural networks, basically neural grooves that are well traveled and deep in our minds. Most noteworthy, it is well documented in the Neuroscience of Behavior Change that neural pathways, comprised of neurons connected by dendrites, are created in the brain based on our habits and behaviors. The number of dendrites increases with the frequency a behavior is performed. Connection between them strengthens and “the messages that travel the same pathway in the brain over and over begin to transmit faster and faster.”
With enough repetition, these behaviors become automatic. Seems like brain cells literally can’t see the forest through the trees, or rather the dendrites through the neuron.
Imagine a conversation with your brain cells:
“Geez, you say No a lot.”
“No I don’t.”
“You really don’t see that you say No a lot?”
“No, I don’t see that I say NO a lot. No, No NO!!!”
How do we handle it when negativity has a way of gripping our lives like a toddler gripping their favorite toy after eating a handful of peanut butter crackers? Sticky, messy, and completely unrelenting….
Repeat After Me: “Maybe”
It is estimated that it takes 10,000 repetitions to master a skill and develop the associated neural pathway. As a clinician of body and spirit, I know from research that it is estimated that it takes 3–6 months for a new behavior to become a habit, with a standard deviation based on the variety of personal free will. As someone who has created change in my own life, I encourage others that, with time, their repetition will pay off when their behavior becomes natural.
One way I suggest to start is to implement the word ‘Maybe’ into your word treasure chest. In the family of choices, ‘Maybe’ is the easy going middle sister who will invite you in for a cup of tea and soothe you with her much more agreeable and easy going nature. Let maybe ease your tension and fear of moving straight from no to absolutely yes.
Find the Middle Ground
Consider a current situation that’s causing you stress and one where you used to say no. I challenge you to write down how you feel about it. Do you really know how things will turn out? If you aren’t positive, can you acknowledge other possibilities?
Then challenge your statement by using “maybe.”
“Maybe my beliefs about the situation are not true.”
“Maybe what is happening is good.”
“Maybe what’s happening can get better.”
Think of maybe as all the white space between the negative words you used to say. It’s the fresh in-breath as you begin to take new steps of self advocacy.
When you adopt the philosophy of Maybe, you are now able to see the different paths and possibilities available to you for creating a fulfilling life. These small action steps encourage positive emotions that lead to success.
If you need any help or inspiration, make sure to follow me on Instagram @jennmaronek and leave a comment below.