Why Your Brain is Like a Radio
“The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.”
-Florence Scovel Shinn
“You can’t please everyone. You’re not a jackass whisperer.”
Maybe you’ve seen this particular meme making its way around the Internet. It’s good advice. Stop caring too much. (For the tenderhearted souls, that is not the same as not caring at all). Detachment, as Buddhists will tell you, ends all suffering.
But what if that jackass is your boss, a colleague or someone else whose opinion matter somewhat? Then what? Is your only recourse just to suck it up?
Yes. Some people will choose to not like you. Some people are plain toxic. No matter how respectful, professional or warm you may be toward them. Whether or not they like you is their business. As my more enlighten contemporaries would tell you, remember your wholeness. If you are whole, nothing can detract from that wholeness. Including thoughtless people and their words and actions. You would not take anything personally. Because you are enlighten.
But if you are this enlighten, chances are you wouldn’t be reading my blog.
For the rest of us who are still working on becoming a better version of ourselves, we can’t help it – our feelings get hurt. Criticism stings. We feel frustrated and we have a tough time hiding our frustration. We might cry. We might lash out. We might help ourselves to another donut from the break room to soothe our hurt feelings.
Why do we click with some people and not with others? Is it simply failure to communicate or is there some neurological truth to being on the same wavelength? This inquiring mind wants to know.
As it turned out, your brain is a lot like a radio frequency. A group of researchers investigated how gamma waves were involved in communication across cell groups in the area of the brain called the hippocampus. What they found was as a radio-like system inside the brain.
“Just like radio stations play songs and news on different frequencies, the brain uses different frequencies of waves to send different kinds of information,”says one researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
“When brain cells want to connect with each other, they synchronize their activity. The cells literally tune into each other’s wavelength.”
Wow. That gives new meaning to great minds think alike.
Okay, but that still doesn’t solve the issue of how we should deal with people who are not on our wavelength.
One pragmatic approach is to limit your contact. Keep your distance or keep it short. Here are four more ways to deal with difficult people:
1. In a work setting when it is necessary to have contact with the individual, switch to a different mode of communication, such as communicating via email or phone rather than face-to-face. Maintain your sanity by creating physical distance from their toxicity.
2.Tend to the people who add enjoyment to your life. Their positivity keeps things in perspective and balances out the negativity in your life.
3. Take the high road. (We’re working on our enlightenment remember?) Don’t resort to their level. Adhere to the golden rule of treating people the same way you would like to be treated. Keep walking your talk.
4. Give them the special treatment, not the silent treatment. To this day, I still remember a very wise pastor categorizing those particularly difficult people in our lives, EGNs – extra grace needed. EGNs require more patience, more understanding, more kindness, more compassion than anyone else, but their presence in our lives teaches us to develop these very virtues.
To put it another way, difficult people are like manure. They make us grow.